content marketing vs social media marketing

Content is king. But which is the best marketing strategy for your business to use: content marketing or social media marketing? Is there a difference between these two marketing strategies?

There are some overlapping characteristics, but these are two distinct marketing strategies with fundamentally different focal points, goals, and types of content.

To settle the discourse of ‘content marketing vs social media marketing’ for businesses and decide on the best strategy forward, let’s take a look at the major differences between the two marketing strategies.

The Differences Between Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

Nowadays, it’s expected of most businesses to try and build relationships with their target audience and turn them into leads. The way this is achieved is by building consumer trust over time.

Content marketing and social media marketing serve this purpose, but the former does it through knowledge sharing, while the latter builds it through interaction. The extent to which these strategies is employed are dependent on the business angle and the online avenues the company wishes to explore.

Focal Point

The first major difference between content marketing and social media marketing is the focal point. In other words, the online space where your business reaches out to its target audience.

With social media marketing, the focal point is the social media platforms themselves. You’re going to the internet’s ‘town centers’ where people hang out to interact directly with them, tailoring your content for each platform. Depending on its ‘culture’, you may have to adapt to changes as the platform evolves.

With content marketing, the focal point is your business website. Unlike social media platforms, it’s your piece of internet ‘real estate’. With full control over the site, it serves as a hub for all your content and the main place you want to drive prospective customers to.

Goals of Content Marketing

Content marketing is all about the creation and distribution of valuable, relevant, and consistent content to establish credibility, trust, and loyalty among customers. A content marketing strategy aims to generate leads for your business through search and content distribution tactics, which also include social media.

Aimed at a clearly defined audience, content marketing is a method for companies to educate, inform, and sometimes entertain existing and potential customers. By sharing useful, high-quality information, it drives a behavioral change among customers and shapes their perception of a product or service.

To nurture the leads and build trust over time, marketers can create content that targets the different stages of the buyer journey. By tailoring content to synergize with your sales processes, you can move leads through your pipeline and convert them to customers.

Hence, the 3 main objectives of content marketing are:

  • Generating leads
  • Nurturing leads and building trust
  • Converting leads to customers

Typically, companies will publish such content on their websites. They can also integrate content marketing with social media marketing.

Goals of Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is a kind of direct and indirect marketing that promotes a particular business on social media platforms. A company’s social media strategy aims to increase awareness of the brand through sharing posts and encouraging participation and interaction amongst followers.

By generating discussion around brands on social media, companies can build communities over time. Through these communities, companies can reach new customers directly to answer their questions and deal with issues.

Increasing brand engagement through coordinated organic and targeted campaigns helps the company push toward its ultimate goal of converting community members to leads.

Hence, the main objectives of social media marketing are:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Building a community
  • Communicating with current/prospective customers
  • Increasing customer retention
  • Converting community members to leads

When appropriate, a company should fully utilize social media to increase customer retention and customer satisfaction. In other words, social media marketing is a way of marketing that extends the reach of content marketing through multiple social media platforms.

Type/Style of Content

The type and style of content are one of the biggest differences between content marketing and social media marketing.

For social media, short-form content that has a mix of text and rich media is the name of the game. Since social media is great for listening and gathering insights for your business, as well as finding and engaging with prospects and customers, it works best when integrated with other marketing tactics.

To maximize brand engagement and meet your business objectives, your content will need to capitalize on the unique features of each platform. For example, Twitter focuses on text-led content of about 240 characters long, whereas Instagram is an image and video-sharing platform.

Content marketing generally focuses on long-form content, like blog posts, web pages, and videos. It is a way of marketing that helps companies to educate and entertain their target audiences by creating and distributing valuable content.

Since you have control over your website, you have the freedom to create in-depth content that fully answers any problems, challenges, or solutions relevant to your business.

Useful tip: Any long piece of content on your website can also be broken down and repurposed into other formats to suit different channels, including social media.

Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Which is More Effective?

To summarize, content marketing is useful and valuable content you present to potential customers, while social media is where you interact with customers directly.

Ultimately, it’s highly recommended that your business employs both marketing strategies. Both are strong strategies on their own, but you should use one or the other for varying degrees depending on your business goals. Combine both strategies into one and observe the results.

You need a good social media strategy to deliver your content to your audience directly and build engagement. If you are a B2B company especially, your social media strategy will also need to be backed up by long-form content that influences people into buying from you.

If your company wants to build a base of loyal customers, strongly consider the strengths of both marketing strategies. Don’t know where to start? Then get in touch with our experts at elfo. We’re here for all your digital marketing needs!