5 key differences between social media marketing and digital marketing

In today’s era, the hullabaloo of social media is so excessive that businesses are investing heavily in social media marketing thinking it as the other name of digital marketing. But the firm reality is that, social media marketing is just a part of the huge concept of digital marketing. Normally, people believe that by getting involved in social networks or social media, they are doing digital marketing for their business. But this is not the half of what digital marketing is for.

Digital marketing is a long preceded invention of social media. Even in the age of TVs and Radios also, there was digital marketing. So for those people who imply digital as a fresh or new, digital marketing has existed for almost a century now. So when the basic difference is obvious, let’s head to the detailed differences between the two.

Digital Marketing Vs. Social Media Marketing


Most probably, the quickest way to dismiss any argument is by distinguishing the terms by their definition. We can define digital marketing as a method of creating awareness and promoting a brand by making use of all available digital channels including offline marketing through TVs, radios and newspapers also. It’s main components are:

  • Search engine marketing ( SEO + PPC)
  • Email Marketing
  • Mobile Marketing( Google Play Store, Apple Store etc.)
  • Content Marketing
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Digital Marketing channels without internet like TV, Radio, Newspapers,

So It’s understandable by the definition that social media is an important part of Digital Marketing. However, the word social media is most talked about in the world of digital marketing just because it has revolutionized the way people interact, communicate and exchange information. The term social media marketing is all about promoting, advertising and creating awareness of a service and product using different social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Tumblr, Stumbleupon and many more.


As said before, any digital channel that is capable of promoting and advertising a product or service are viable candidates for digital marketing. On the contrary, Social media marketing is restricted to make use of social networks only.


Since a large number of people are on social media, everyone is on social media- this is the worst assumption a digital marketer can make. Though I agree a huge percentage of people hang on social media, there is a substantial number of people who don’t because of their own reasons. But for a business, it is imperative to reach out to those people as well. Hence when they are not on any social media network, they are most likely to be using another digital platform. And that’s the essence of digital marketing that it doesn’t isolate this group of non-social media users.


When it comes to user engagement, social media beats all the other means of digital marketing. Through likes and comments on your products and offerings, it is possible to gauge visitors response directly on social media. It allows direct interaction with the customers in exchange of information. While other forms of digital marketing entertain only one-way communication. These channels ask for customer feedbacks which are mostly based upon rough estimation and assumptions.


Unlike all other digital marketing channels, through social media, a business is always connected with its audience. Communicating a message to their customer base is only a matter of a click on social media. Whereas the marketing process on other digital marketing platforms especially on no-internet channels is a bit tricky and not at all suitable for instant promotion.

All in all, it’s important to know various digital marketing theories to perfectly craft your business strategy. Digital Marketing is chief of all marketing strategies and doing it right can really make a difference to your business success. And without social media, your digital marketing strategy is wounded, they both should go hand in hand.

Karan Gulati is a self-motivated entrepreneur who founded Digital Heptagon in the year 2015. He is also a content strategist passionate about writing stuff for startups. His main areas of focus are digital business marketing, technology and strategic decision making.