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Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Which One is Better?

Published 15 November 2023
Last updated 25 April 2024
Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: Which One is Better?

Try to picture your business as a toolbox filled with various tools. Choosing between digital marketing vs social media marketing is similar to selecting the right tool for a specific job. It’s like deciding whether to use a versatile multi-tool for all kinds of tasks or picking a specialized tool for a specific job.

Just as you wouldn’t use a hammer to tighten a screw, you need to pick the right marketing strategy for your business goals. In this article, we’ll explore the differences between digital marketing and social media marketing so that you can choose the best tool to help your business thrive in the digital world.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing encompasses all the strategies and tactics a business uses to promote its products, services, or brand through various online channels. It’s like the compass that guides your business in the vast digital landscape, helping you reach your target audience effectively. Similar to marketing automation, digital marketing plays a big role on today’s business weapon to stay competitive.

Key components of digital marketing:

There is some key components that can be factor for digital marketing success, such as:

  1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimizing your website to appear higher in search engine results pages (like Google) to increase organic (non-paid) traffic.
  2. Content Marketing: Creating and sharing valuable content (like blog posts, videos, and infographics) to attract and engage your audience.
  3. Email Marketing: Sending targeted emails to nurture leads and convert them into customers.
  4. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Placing ads on search engines or websites and paying only when users click on them.
  5. Social Media Advertising: Running paid ads on social media platforms to reach a specific audience.
  6. Affiliate Marketing: Collaborating with partners who promote your products or services in exchange for a commission.

Now, let’s illustrate digital marketing with an example below.

The real-case example for digital marketing implementation

Imagine you own an online clothing store called “Fashion Forward.” To boost your online presence and sales, you employ various digital marketing strategies. You optimize your website (SEO) to ensure it ranks high when someone searches for “trendy fashion online.” You also create engaging blog posts and videos showcasing the latest fashion trends (content marketing) to attract and retain visitors that can affect the customer engagement.

Also read: 10 Customer Engagement Strategies to Boost Your Business.

Moreover, you send personalized emails (email marketing) to your subscribers with exclusive discounts and fashion tips. To reach a broader audience, you run Google Ads (PPC advertising) targeting keywords like “buy fashionable clothes online.” Additionally, you collaborate with fashion influencers (affiliate marketing) to promote your products on their social media channels.

These digital marketing strategies work in synergy to increase your online visibility, attract potential customers, and ultimately drive sales for “Fashion Forward.” Now, let’s explore how social media marketing fits into this landscape and its unique advantages.

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is a distinctive branch of digital marketing that centers around leveraging social media platforms (Instagram, FaceBook, X, etc) to engage with your audience and achieve business objectives.

It’s like the microphone at a live event that allows you to connect with your audience in real-time and create a community around your brand.

Key elements of social media marketing:

To help the success of social media marketing, here are some key elements to take a look:

  1. Content Creation: Crafting visually appealing and engaging content, such as images, videos, and posts, tailored to each social media platform.
  2. Community Building: Fostering a loyal and interactive community of followers by responding to comments, messages, and building relationships.
  3. Targeted Advertising: Running paid ads on social media platforms to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviors.
  4. Influencer Collaboration: Partnering with influencers in your niche to promote your products or services to their followers.
  5. Social Listening: Monitoring social media platforms to understand what your audience is saying about your brand and industry.
  6. Analytics and Insights: Tracking performance metrics like likes, shares, comments, and follower growth to measure the effectiveness of your efforts.

After focusing on the key elements, let’s jump into the example for the social media marketing implementation.

The real-case example for social media marketing implementation

Let’s continue with our example of “Fashion Forward.” To complement its digital marketing strategy, the company engages in social media marketing. They create captivating Instagram posts showcasing their latest clothing collections, along with stylish fashion videos on YouTube. These posts not only highlight their products but also offer fashion tips and inspiration.

“Fashion Forward” actively engages with its followers by responding to comments and direct messages, building a sense of community among fashion enthusiasts. They run Facebook and Instagram ads, targeting users based on their interests, location, and age, to reach potential customers interested in their trendy fashion offerings.

Additionally, the company collaborates with fashion influencers who have a significant following on Instagram and TikTok. These influencers create authentic content featuring “Fashion Forward” products, effectively reaching a broader and more engaged audience.

By carefully listening to their audience’s feedback on social media and analyzing performance metrics, “Fashion Forward” fine-tunes its social media marketing strategy. This approach helps them not only increase brand awareness but also drive traffic to their website and convert social media followers into loyal customers.

Also read: How to Build Customer Loyalty in 10 Ways: Best Practices

Social media marketing plays a pivotal role in creating an interactive and engaging online presence, making it a valuable addition to the broader spectrum of digital marketing strategies.

The difference between digital marketing vs social media marketing

Now that we’ve explored what digital marketing and social media marketing entail, let’s draw a clear distinction between these two strategies and understand when each is most effective.

Aspect Digital Marketing Social Media Marketing
Scope Encompasses a wide array of online channels, including websites, search engines, email, and more. Focused on specific social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Key Goals Increasing online visibility, driving traffic, and converting leads into customers. Building an engaged community, fostering relationships, and creating shareable content.
Content Types Variety of content types, including text, images, videos, and interactive posts. Emphasis on visually appealing and interactive content, such as images, videos, and engaging posts.
Audience Targeting Utilizes data and analytics to target specific demographics and user segments. Relies on platform user data and demographics for targeting.
Metrics Metrics like website traffic, conversion rates, ROI, etc. Engagement metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and follower growth.
Examples SEO, content marketing, email marketing, PPC advertising, and more. Posting on Instagram, running Facebook ads, influencer collaborations, and more.
When to Use Ideal for businesses with diverse objectives and a need for a comprehensive online presence. Effective when building a loyal community, showcasing brand personality, and harnessing word-of-mouth recommendations.
Combination Approach Often combines various digital marketing strategies for a holistic approach. Can be integrated into a broader digital marketing strategy to enhance audience engagement.

Remember, the choice between these strategies of digital marketing vs social media marketing depends on your specific business goals and how you intend to connect with your target audience in the digital landscape.


Success hinges on recognizing the strengths of digital marketing and social media marketing. Combining their diverse capabilities can broaden your audience, enhance brand visibility, and foster meaningful connections.

To unlock this potential, explore Mekari Qontak‘s CRM, Omnichannel, and WhatsApp Business API solutions. Your path to digital success may start here!



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