Barring these similarities the two are distinct entities which focus on different needs and goals. Let’s look at the major ways in which they differ:
Focus of Marketing
The main focus of social media marketing is concentrated within the social media platforms. When marketers operate social media campaigns, they operate inside Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. The content is placed inside these networks.
In contrast, the focus of content marketing is to publish content to the business website and then publicize it through various social media platforms. Social media is used extensively to share the links of content published. The content can be blog posts, infographics, videos etc.
Types of Content
Social media content is created for the specific social platform intended to publish the same. Twitter uses short tweets with 140 characters, Facebook uses media like videos and images along with short texts, Instagram uses images and tiny videos etc. Brands model their behaviour based on the users of the social platforms.
In content marketing the context of website allows longer forms of content. Brands can publish blog posts, release a case study, videos, infographics and ebooks. Brands model their behaviour based on the media publishers.
Although the two are different forms of marketing a brand/service both differ in their objectives. Social media is primarily used for brand building, awareness, consumer interaction, feedbacks, promotions and lead generation. Social media is an open house where consumers can start a discussion on the brand and services. Hence, SMM is very important to build customer loyalty.
Content marketing on the other hand focus on demand generation. Quality content brings a prospect to the website. Content marketing focuses to develop on that relationship to convert the leads to purchase. Good content marketing focuses on the entirety of the brand’s site. A company with poor content strategy will struggle to force a positive purchase decision. Brands go online and with such competition purchase decisions are vastly influenced by content.
Online Marketing Scenario
Social media marketing is a relatively old term and is practiced by most of the companies. Content marketing on the other hand is a new practice for many. The importance of content marketing rose after the smart device explosion. A brand with no website (but only with all social media accounts) will find it hard to gain consumer trust. A web domain generates trust in the consumer and strategically formed content strengthens the trust in their mind.
Social media marketing is the first step of the process which involves brand building as it accesses the users directly. As the brand becomes more familiar the natural progression will be to move toward content marketing. Brands can engage deep with their customers through content marketing efforts, and the results are more powerful as it drives consumers to its website as the brand has a greater opportunity to gain leads and move them down the conversion funnel.