Social media is an evolving technology that establishes and nurtures human connections in small, medium, large, and super-sized groups. As digital technology has evolved, social media has advanced exponentially.
At its heart, social media is electronic communication that allows users to create and share information, personal messages, videos, ideas and other content. A 2019 Pew Research Center Report showed that over 70 percent of American adults were using some type of social media. Imagine how much this number has increased since the pandemic began!
Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management
While social media marketing and social media management may seem like similar concepts at first glance, there are actually some key differences between the two. On the one hand, social media marketing involves using social media platforms to promote and advertise products or services, typically with the goal of driving traffic and sales.
In contrast, social media management focuses more on managing social interactions and engaging with customers in real time. This could involve answering questions, responding to messages, or providing other customer support via social channels.
Thus, while both social media marketing and social media management play an important role in today's digital landscape, they require different skillsets and approaches. If you're looking to get started with social media marketing or social media management, it's important to understand the key differences between these two strategies so that you can effectively grow your business online.
With the majority of people in this country using social media, it makes good sense for companies to create and maintain a strong online presence on social platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook.
According to Primitive, these and other websites and applications present opportunities to reach your audiences. To see how many people are using social media these days, Maryville University posted these statistics about adults in the United States:
72% use social media
73% visit YouTube regularly
75% are on Instagram
69% are on Facebook
With such large, captive audiences, not being on social media goes against good business sense. This is not the wave of the future; it is the here and now, and you do not want to miss a spot on this fast-moving ship. The most important first step to take before boarding is to understand the difference between social media marketing and social media management.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing is using a company’s social media accounts to market and grow the business. Owners and staff spend their energies on devising and executing strategies that will generate leads that are initiated through those social platforms. The content they create and publish is designed to catch an audience’s attention, and then to drive them right to the company website.
Facebook started posting ads back in 2006. They were soon followed by Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms, but not all social media marketing is through paid advertising. Today, companies join social networks and tweet or post about new products, join discussion forums, and share content on publishing and blogging networks.
Social media companies have access to rich, trackable user data, and this invaluable information allows companies to target groups of consumers. The networks they create also help companies build relationships with consumers, increase brand awareness and are sources for marketing research.
Read a discussion forum on a site like Reddit, and you can find a gap in the marketplace. For example, there could be long back and forth post about how it is so hard to find a decent pet store in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. If you own a chain of pet stores, you can begin your market research with this in mind.
Read more: A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager
How is Social Media Management Different?
What is social media management, exactly? Social media management is the process of creating, distributing, tracking, and managing a user’s social media platform accounts. It is how companies create and manage their online presence on social media.
So, the difference between social media marketing and social media management is that the marketing is the actual process that takes place, and the management sets the strategy and administers the activities. It's a nuanced difference, but it is important to understand if you plan to hire a social media marketer or a marketing consultant.
Webfx.com posts that while it is free to join the platforms, a solid social media management plan is needed to make them work successfully for a company. To get started, those in charge have to devise social media management strategies. Hootsuite likes using S.M.A.R.T. goals, which focus on measuring return on investment results that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Here is an example:
“Company XYZ will use Facebook for customer inquiries, and will decrease our median response rate to less than 24 hours by the end of 2021.”
How Can Social Media Marketing Help My Business?
As the owner of a small business, you may be wondering how social media marketing can help you grow your business. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter offer a great way to connect with potential and current customers. By sharing interesting content, you can build brand awareness and create a loyal customer base.
In addition, social media platforms can be used to drive traffic to your website or blog. By including links to your site in your posts, you can increase web traffic and potentially generate new leads. Finally, social media platforms can be used to connect with other businesses in your industry. By collaborating with complementary businesses, you can reach a wider audience and grow your business. When used effectively, social media marketing can be a powerful tool for small business owners.
Putting a Social Media Marketing Plan into Action
Setting up profiles on social media platforms is not difficult, but crafting original, informative, and engaging content takes work. The branding that you use across all the networks used should be consistent so that your audience recognizes it. The writing should be clear and concise, and the graphics and video should be of the highest quality.
Entrepreneur.com suggests using a personal touch rather than sending potential and established customers frequent, automated spam messages. There is automated software out there, with plans that can increase efficiency while providing opportunities to engage with users. Companies can attract “happy brand supporters,” who can be more likely to convert into sales.
Consider also: Skills That Social Media Managers Need
Doing the Due Diligence
Data gathering is also essential to social media management because it lets companies know who their audiences are and how to target the messages. Effective social media managers also track their competition and adjust their own marketing accordingly: If Company ABC is selling ice skates at half price, then Company XYZ will need to look at their own pricing in order to be competitive.
It is also essential to audit a social media marketing plan from time to time. Looking at who is engaging with the company on which platforms can show whether or not they are good fits. Some companies will use one platform for certain functions, and other platforms for other things. It is not uncommon to use YouTube for tutorial videos and Twitter for customer service inquiries, for example. Having a separate mission statement for each platform is how successful social media marketing strategies are built.
Do I Need a Social Media Manager?
You may be wondering if you need a social media manager. After all, social media marketing can be time-consuming, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends. However, social media management is more than just posting updates to your Facebook page.
A social media manager can help you develop a strategy for using social media to grow your business. They can also help you create content that is engaging and informative, and they can work with you to develop relationships with customers and other businesses.
In short, a social media manager can be an invaluable asset for any business that wants to use social media to its full potential. So if you're thinking about using social media to grow your business, investing in a social media manager may be the best decision you make.
What Does a Social Media Manager Do, Exactly?
As we've discussed, social media marketing is the process of using online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build relationships and interact with potential and current customers. A social media manager is the person responsible for carrying out this marketing strategy.
A social media manager usually wears many hats. They are often responsible for creating and curating content, managing social media advertising, engaging with influencers, and analyzing metrics. In short, a social media manager is tasked with growing a business through social media.
While the duties of a social media manager can vary from company to company, the one constant is that social media managers must be excellent communicators. They should also be able to think creatively, as social media marketing requires a lot of outside-the-box thinking. If you have good people skills, are creative, and have an understanding of how social media works, then a career as a social media manager may be for you.
Read more: What Does a Social Media Manager Do Daily?
Final Notes on the Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management
The difference between social media marketing and social media management is not hard to understand, and the last piece of advice is worth repeating; measure the results of your campaigns often. To have successful campaigns, the data should be collected and analyzed, and measured against the clear goals set out during strategy development.
Meeting those benchmarks will show you that your social media marketing campaign has been successfully deployed. For professional assistance, a dedicated team of experts can help. Contact Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing today for help with your social media needs.
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