Content Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing

Marketers frequently lump content marketing and social media marketing in the same category, yet there’s a significant difference between the two. While some contend the difference is shrinking, it’s important to plan your content and social media marketing with each of their respective functions in mind.

Both content marketing and social media marketing ultimately aim to raise brand awareness, and inspire existing and potential customers to change their behavior. The difference is in how they achieve that, and this is where you need to plan and create content accordingly.

“Content marketing success relies on consumption to inspire action.

Social media marketing success relies on engagement to inspire action.”

Content marketing is a means for companies to educate, inform, entertain, and inspire the action of existing and potential customers through the consumption of content. It allows you to tailor targeted, branded content to promote products and services, raise awareness, shape customer perception, and drive behavioral change, while simultaneously providing useful information for your audience. Today, most content is published online – typically on company or partner websites – but content marketing also incorporates print campaigns.

Social media marketing is a way to extend your content marketing reach through user engagement on multiple social media platforms It’s the space where existing and potential customers communicate directly with each other, and with you. Social media allows your brand to tap into the conversation for marketing purposes. And since participants can become very vocal, very quickly, it allows you to rapidly respond to any negative chatter and reshape perceptions before things get out of hand.

Where content marketing and social media marketing converge. 

When you’re spending time and money creating great content marketing, you also want to spend time and money marketing that great content.

The social media environment allows your content marketing to be leveraged and shared across multiple platforms, which can vastly extend your reach.

In addition, the number of “shares”, “retweets”, and “likes” you have on social media has a big influence on search engine ranking – and that can significantly impact the credibility, discoverability, and sustainability of the content you’ve worked so hard to create.

So back to the original point: Is content marketing different from social media marketing?


And while you should create separate marketing plans for each function, your overall goal should be to develop a fully integrated strategy so that your social media efforts support your content marketing, and your content marketing feeds your social media marketing.