Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference

content marketing

As I meet with brands and agencies, I still bump into those that square measure unfamiliar with the term “content selling.” And as I begin to elucidate it, they usually respond, “Oh, brands business enterprise content? You mean social media selling.”

Indeed, content selling heavily involves social media. And, of course, in social media, marketers use content to urge their messages across. however though there’s lots of overlap between content selling and social media selling, they’re 2 distinct entities, with totally different focal points, goals, and processes. to assist clear the confusion, let’s check up on the key ways within which they differ:

Center of gravity

In social media selling, the middle of gravity — the main target of the selling activity — is found at intervals the social networks themselves. once marketers operate social media campaigns, they’re operational within Facebook, within Twitter, within Google+, etc. As they turn out content, they place it within these networks.

In distinction, the middle of gravity for content selling may be a complete website — whether or not or not it’s a branded computer address like or a microsite Social networks square measure important to the success of content selling efforts, but here, Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ square measure used primarily as a distributor of links back.

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Types of content

In social media selling, content is made to suit the context of the chosen social platform: short messages within the one hundred forty characters vary for Twitter; contests, quizzes, and games for Facebook, etc. Here, brands model their behavior at the moment of the people victimization the social networks.

On the opposite hand, in content selling, the context of internet sites permits for much longer styles of content. Brands will publish diary posts, videos, infographics, and eBooks, simply to call some formats. Here, brands model their behavior at the moment of media publishers.


While each social media selling and content selling are often used for a large number of functions, social media selling typically tends to concentrate on 2 main objectives. First, it’s used for complete awareness—generating activity and discussion around the complete. Secondly, it’s used for client retention/ satisfaction — brands will use social channels as associate degree open forums for direct dialogues with customers, usually around problems or queries that buyers have.

In distinction, content marketing’s website-based center of gravity allows it to focus on additional on-demand generation. As quality content brings prospects to a brand’s website, brands will develop a relationship with the prospects and nurture them towards a lead conversion or purchase.

Evolution of online selling

While I don’t understand the quantitative relation of brands that apply social media selling compared to people who apply content selling, I’d imagine it’s to be somewhere around one thousand to 1. Social media selling is top-of-mind for nearly every selling department, whereas content selling may be a (relatively) new term, and a replacement applies for several.

Yet, I believe of {the 2|the 2} ways less as two isolated choices and additional as interconnected components of marketings in progressive evolution. the net has unleashed a revolutionary ability for each complete to speak directly with its customers — while not the requirement for a media business negotiant.

Social media selling is that the natural beginning during this process: Access to users is direct (users payloads of time on social networks), and content is usually formatted into shorter chunks, which makes the business enterprise method comparatively straightforward.

But as brands become additional conversant in their new role as publishers, the natural progression is to maneuver toward content selling. Yes, the bar here is higher: In content selling, brands should turn out longer-form, higher-quality content and build audiences on their website — they need to become true media publishers. however, the rewards and results square measure, arguably, additional power. Brands will have interaction additional deeply with their customers through content selling efforts. And by driving shoppers to its website, the complete includes a bigger chance to realize leads and move them down the conversion funnel.

As we tend all pioneer this new strategy of content selling, a shared definition of what we tend to do relative to approaches like social media selling is valuable. therefore currently your turn: within the comments, be at liberty to debate your thoughts. is that this a definition you’d use to differentiate the 2 disciplines? What’s missing?