top of page

Social Media Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

Understanding the Distinction: Social Media Marketing vs. Digital Marketing

In the rapidly evolving landscape of online promotion and branding, two terms that frequently crop up are "Social Media Marketing" and "Digital Marketing." While they may seem interchangeable, they represent distinct realms within the broader spectrum of online marketing. In this article, we'll explore the differences between these two concepts, compare their characteristics, and provide a real-world example to illustrate their distinctions.

Defining Social Media Marketing and Digital Marketing

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM) is a specialized subset of digital marketing that revolves around leveraging social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others. The primary focus here is to engage with the target audience on these platforms through content creation, advertising, and interactions to achieve specific marketing objectives.

  • Digital Marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a much wider scope. It refers to the entirety of marketing efforts conducted in the digital realm, which includes not only social media but also email marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, affiliate marketing, and more. Essentially, it encompasses all strategies and tactics aimed at promoting products or services through digital channels.

Comparing the Characteristics of SMM and Digital Marketing

  1. Scope: SMM: Focused solely on social media platforms. Digital Marketing: Encompasses a broader range of online channels.

  2. Channels: SMM: Exclusively utilizes social media platforms. Digital Marketing: Engages various online channels, including websites, search engines, email, mobile apps, and social media.

  3. Goals: SMM: Aims to build a social media presence, boost brand awareness, drive website traffic, and foster customer engagement. Digital Marketing: Has a wider range of goals, including lead generation, sales conversion, customer retention, and overall brand visibility.

  4. Content: SMM: Focuses on content specifically tailored for social media, such as posts, images, videos, and stories. Digital Marketing: Involves content creation for diverse online platforms, including blogs, websites, email newsletters, videos, and social media.

A Real-World Example

Let's consider a real-world example to illustrate the difference between these two marketing approaches.

Company X, an e-commerce fashion retailer, wants to boost its online presence and drive sales. To achieve this, they employ both social media marketing and digital marketing strategies.

  • Social Media Marketing (SMM): A Fashion Company creates engaging posts showcasing its latest fashion collections on Instagram and runs targeted Facebook ads. They encourage user-generated content by launching a hashtag campaign and engage with their followers through comments and messages. The goal here is to increase brand awareness and engage directly with their customer base through these social platforms.

  • Digital Marketing: In addition to their SMM efforts, Company X invests in other digital marketing tactics. They optimize their website for search engines (SEO) to rank higher in Google searches when potential customers look for fashion products. They also send out regular email newsletters featuring new arrivals and exclusive discounts to their subscribers. These tactics focus on reaching a broader online audience and driving traffic not just from social media but also from search engines and email.

In this example, social media marketing is a subset of A Fashion Company's broader digital marketing strategy. While SMM enhances their brand's social presence and engagement, digital marketing extends their reach to other online avenues, thus diversifying their customer acquisition channels.


  • Social Media Marketing (SMM): Social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing that focuses exclusively on leveraging social media platforms. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and more. SMM entails creating and sharing content on these platforms to interact with the audience and achieve specific marketing goals.

  • Digital Marketing: Digital marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a broader spectrum of online marketing activities. It includes all digital channels and tactics, such as websites, search engines, email, mobile apps, and, yes, social media. Digital marketing is an umbrella term that covers various strategies used to connect with customers both online and offline.


  • Social Media Marketing: As the name suggests, social media marketing is confined to social media platforms. Marketers engage with users through posts, advertisements, stories, and interactions within these platforms.

  • Digital Marketing: Digital marketing utilizes a wide range of online channels, extending beyond social media. This includes websites, search engines, email, mobile apps, and other digital platforms. The scope is not limited to social media alone.


  • Social Media Marketing: Social media marketing primarily aims to establish and maintain a strong presence on social media platforms. Goals include building brand awareness, fostering engagement, driving website traffic, and nurturing a community of loyal customers. SMM can also encompass lead generation, customer support, and direct sales through social media channels.

  • Digital Marketing: Digital marketing has a broader set of objectives, tailored to specific business goals. These objectives may include increasing online visibility, generating leads, driving sales, improving customer retention, and enhancing overall brand awareness. Digital marketing strategies vary widely based on the specific goals of the business.


  • Social Media Marketing: Content in social media marketing is created exclusively for social media platforms. This content may include text, images, videos, polls, stories, and other formats designed to engage and interact with users on social media.

  • Digital Marketing: In digital marketing, content creation extends beyond social media. It encompasses a wide variety of formats, including blog articles, website pages, email newsletters, infographics, videos, and more. The content is tailored to the specific platform and audience, with a focus on driving desired actions.


While social media marketing and digital marketing share the common goal of online promotion, they differ significantly in scope, channels, goals, and content. Social media marketing is a subset of digital marketing, concentrating solely on social media platforms for branding and engagement. Digital marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a comprehensive range of online channels and strategies, offering a holistic approach to achieving broader business objectives. Businesses should choose the approach that aligns best with their unique goals and target audience to maximize their online marketing efforts.

Schedule a chat today with Izzy Nalley to discuss the next recommended step to meet your business goals through business development and/or digital marketing.


Izzy Nalley Consulting is a Business Development, Social Media PR and Digital Marketing agency offering comprehensive social media management services, digital marketing funnels and sales training. We consult on lead generation, processes and tactics to build and maintain an audience while positioning business owners as a thought leader, and assessing business goals with a holistic view of marketing, communication & product positioning.

IN Consulting excels on expertise in growth strategy and a focus on driving results through social media and digital marketing, they assist clients in achieving their business goals.

Our background in project management and communications, Izzy Nalley Consulting delivers personalized solutions tailored to each client's needs, helping them increase brand visibility, generate leads, and strengthen customer relationships.

2 views0 comments


bottom of page