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Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: What Makes Them Different

Most digital marketing campaigns today combine multiple tactics to create a cohesive plan.

Arta Mekuli

Content Strategist

Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: What Makes Them Different

Most digital marketing campaigns today combine multiple tactics to create a cohesive plan. However, it can be challenging to tell the difference between content marketing and social media marketing. In fact, social media is an important component of content marketing.  


And, of course, marketers use content to spread their messages on social media. But, while there are some similarities between content marketing and social media marketing, they are two distinct entities with different focuses, goals, and processes. 


Let’s look at the key differences to help clear up any confusion.

Key Differences Between Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing makes use of social platforms where current and potential customers can interact in real-time. Social media marketing is the practice of marketing a brand’s products and services through websites and social networks. Social media marketing is the practice of marketing a brand’s products and services through websites and social networks. To make customer experience even better and smoother, you can include AI chatbot to provide instant responses and personalized interactions.  

Social media marketing is a type of marketing that encourages businesses to reach out to new customers and increase brand engagement with existing customers. In other words, social media marketing is a type of marketing that strengthens the reach of content marketing by utilizing multiple social media platforms. 

Content marketing revolves around the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and consistent content. The goal of content marketing is to attract and retain well-defined audiences as well as profitable customers. 

Content marketing is a vital part of social media marketing. It is a method for businesses to educate, inform, entertain, and inspire existing and potential customers to take action. 

Content marketing helps to promote a product or service. Proper marketing and consumption of content stimulate behavior changes among customers. Content marketing plays an important role in indirectly building the brand and building customer trust. 

The focus

Social media marketing places the focus of marketing activity within the social networks themselves. When marketers run social media campaigns, they are operating inside of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. As they create content, they put it within these networks.


The focus for content marketing, on the other hand, is a brand website — whether it’s a branded URL or a microsite for a brand’s specific product. 


In content marketing, brands primarily use Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as a distributor of links back to their website, making social networks essential for the success of their marketing efforts. 75% of marketers credit social media marketing with increased website traffic, and almost 90% say it has increased brand visibility.

Content types

The type of each strategy dictates the content. Social media marketing is typically short-form, using language sparingly but effectively. 


Consider 280-character tweets, visual-heavy Instagram posts, Facebook contests, quizzes, games, and so on. In this case, brands mimic the behavior of individuals who use social media.


In comparison, content marketing is often long-form and in-depth content that raises questions and addresses customer concerns. Brands can publish blog posts, videos, infographics, and eBooks, to name a few formats. In this case, brands mimic the behavior of media publishers.

Main objectives

Social media marketing strategies are marketing plans that aim to raise brand awareness among potential, targeted, and existing audiences.


Social media marketers play an important role in increasing brand awareness by generating activity and discussion around the brand. Product research is one of the reasons 76%  of internet users use social media.


Social media is also used to improve customer retention and satisfaction. Social channels are open forums for direct dialogue with their clients about questions and issues. 


While social media has been an effective marketing strategy for companies, it’s more than just another forum for sales promotions and special offers. In fact, consumers can discuss the entire customer experience on social media, including:


  • Positive or negative feedback on recent purchases.
  • Compliments or criticisms about the company.
  • Opinions and thoughts on current events.


Customers who have had positive social media interactions with brands recommend the brand to 71% of their social contacts. Because people feel free to express themselves on social media, business chatter can be both positive and negative. As a result, business owners are increasingly utilizing these channels to address controversies, respond to customer requests, and develop a closer relationship with their customer base.


The goal of content marketing, on the other hand, is to generate demand. The quality of the content attracts prospects to the brand’s website and allows the brand to develop healthy relationships with potential customers.


Viewers are constantly looking for how-to guides and other content that answers their most pressing questions on the internet. Potential customers will find your content if it matches these queries —by using the exact keywords that your customers use. Moreover, if they enjoy what they are reading or watching, they will come back. 


70% of internet users prefer to learn about products through content rather than traditional advertisements. With quality, informative creations, content can help bring potential customers to your website, convince them to convert, or even inspire them to spread the word about your company over time.

Which Marketing Strategy Should You Use?

Social and content are both a component of an integrated marketing strategy. You don’t have to choose between them; however, for maximum reach, you should use both simultaneously. 


Social media marketing is a modern distribution network for a time-tested strategy. The story is the content, and social media is how we tell it.  They support each other – understand the tactics separately, but use them together. But once you know their strengths and weaknesses, you can match your efforts and maximize the effectiveness of your marketing.


Without strong content to support them, social media posts won’t have the same weight and trust-building capacity. Also without social media, the content won’t have the same impact and reach.

Final Thoughts

While there are some similarities between social media marketing and content marketing, they are two different strategies with different goals and objectives.  It is essential to use both strategies simultaneously to maximize the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Social media is a distribution network for content, and without strong content, social media won’t have the same effect.

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