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The Difference Between Digital Marketing and Social Media Marketing

At Roadabode Productions we pride ourselves on living on the cutting-edge of today’s critical digital marketing tools and trends. After all, we’ve been at it for well over a decade. Recently an Aussie friend of mine asked me a very good question: “what’s the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing?” My answer: “a lot!”

When we talk about social media marketing we’re talking about utilizing social media platforms – or tools if you will – including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even YouTube to market our products and services. If you Googled “define social media marketing” you’d learn that it’s widely accepted as “the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.” Certainly an admirable goal for a marketer.

Businesses of all shapes and sizes have taken advantage of social media marketing with good to great results. Social media marketing helps businesses create and maintain relationships with their customers, is a very good platform for crowdsourcing ideas, and is a terrific tool for what we call eWOM – or electronic word of mouth. Social media marketing is an effective marketing tactic and should play a hefty role in your marketing plan but, let’s be clear, it’s only a small part of digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

Today’s savvy marketer knows that social media is important but it’s not everything. There must be a solid plan – a strategy that is developed with a specific target market in mind – perhaps developing customer personas, a wide variety of online tactics to put into play – including but not limited to social media, written goals that can be pursued across the digital landscape and reliably measured, and regular analysis of the program.

Tactics such as the development of a keyword universe, search engine optimization (SEO), e-newsletters or what a recent seminar attendee interestingly called “digital direct mail”, websites, blogs, local marketing including Google’s Local Place Pages, AdWords, banners, and other methods of paid online advertising, and even review sites all fall under the heading of “digital marketing”.

Roadabode’s definition of digital marketing goes even further. A successful digital marketing program absolutely must contain a roadmap – a written plan defining specific goals, how they will be measured, what success for not only individual platforms looks like but the success of the program as a whole. There should be a well thought out content marketing plan, a robust set of analytics reports, campaign tracking, reporting, and the inevitable plan revisions at regular intervals.

In a nutshell

An easy way to think about the difference between social media marketing and digital marketing is the difference between marketing tactics and marketing strategy. Digital marketing is a holistic and all-encompassing approach to online marketing success. Your strategy, if you will.

At Roadabode Productions we don’t offer Facebook management, social media posting, or newsletter writing. Instead, our diagnostic reviews and consulting and mentoring services will provide you with an in-depth look at your digital marketing program and written recommendations on how to grow your business – each designed to foster your success.

And yes, this will most likely include social media marketing.