We live in a world where every person who has touched a computer in the last decade knows what social media is and can typically come to the conclusion of what is means to market on social media. However, we also live in a world where many people — even in our industry —don’t know what content marketing is.

More times than not it is assume that content marketing is a counterpart to social media marketing, but that is not entirely true. Let’s clear the confusion and learn how they truly fit together.

First Things First

I thought it would be beneficial for us all to take a quick look at how each term is defined. If you already have a grasp on what each is, great, move on to the next section.

So•cial Me•di•a Mar•ket•ing [soh-shuh l mee-dee-uh mahr-ki-ting] noun.
social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media sites.

Con•tent Mar•ket•ing [kon-tent mahr-ki-ting] noun.
Any marketing format that involves creating and curating relevant and valuable content in order to acquire customers. This information can be presented in a variety of formats, including news, video, white papers, e-books, infographics, case studies, how-to guides, question and answer articles, photos, etc.

Social Media Marketing Wins the Google Search Battle

In 2007 Social Media took off and as you can see, so did the search term “Social Media Marketing”. Since then the interest in using social media to market for business has climbed, it has only been in the last year that the term “Content Marketing” has really taken off.

Why is the majority interested in social media marketing? Let the numbers speak for themselves. According to StatisticBrain.com, 1.4 billion people worldwide are Facebook users who spend – in total – over 700 billion minutes using Facebook per month sharing over 70 billion pieces of content. What company wouldn’t want a piece of the action? That’s only Facebook, there are other social outlets such as:

  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Google+
  • Others

So Why Content Marketing?

The answer is simple, you need it and you are probably already doing it and don’t even know, which means you can do it better.

First let’s clarify. The focus of social media marketing is social media platforms. When content is created for social media it operated within Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Etc.

The focus of content marketing is your company’s website and there are endless communication channels to distribute this information- Blogs, newsletters, press releases, video, etc. One of those avenues happens to be social media. This is where the two concepts intertwine with one another.

Social Marketing is the third most searched related term to content marketing. This is because content marketers use social media to target their audience in hopes that they will take the content and share it with their friends and followers, making the original post go viral.

Why not just use Social Media for everything?

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs states, “I see content marketing as the larger umbrella under which social media lives.” This means that social media is only one outlet and could be leaving a large percent of your target market in the dark.

Ask yourself, who is your target market? If your answer is adults 40-60 years old than social media probably isn’t where you should be placing all your marketing apples. These types of people are more likely to click on a banner ad they see for your product on a The New York Times website.

The goal is to get potential customers back to your website, browse the content you created and turn them into leads.

The Point

Online marketing is forever evolving and social media happens to be the latest and greatest avenue. Social media marketing can be important to your efforts in getting visitors to your website, assuming that the content is interesting and you create an awesome post that your followers actually want to share it with their friends. This can sometimes be a daunting task.

The point is that you should invest in other opportunities to market your content along with social media. I hope this gives you a better understanding of what content marketing is and how is differs from its offshoot, social media marketing.