Digital Marketing vs Social Media: Why You Need Both to Succeed

digital marketing vs social media

Digital marketing and a social media platform are two different things, although they may sound kind of similar.

It’s essential that you not only know the difference between digital marketing vs social media but that you have clear efforts to use both of them to your advantage.

As brick and mortar businesses begin to depend more on their web presences, any tools that you can use to boost traffic are going to be essential.

Digital marketing and social media are the two most essential tools you can use. We’ll break down both of them in this article, giving you some ideas for moving forward online.

Digital Marketing vs Social Media

We’ll start with digital marketing, as it’s the larger piece of the puzzle. Digital marketing encompasses social media, while social media is the most important part of the equation.

Digital marketing also covers a lot of ground. It covers all online advertising your website undergoes, as well as email marketing, branding, social media, and search engine optimization.

We’ll do our best to give you an overview of SEO and PPC advertising, followed by a section dedicated to social media itself. Let’s get started:

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization is a huge element of getting your website to stand out among the crowd. People use search engines, Google, in particular, to facilitate most of their activity online.

That means that search engines are the gatekeepers to online success. You want to make sure that your website fits the criteria that search engines use to decide who ranks high in the search engine results pages(SERPs).

But in order to do that, you have to know a little bit about how search engines work and the industry that has evolved to try and keep up with them.

The Search Engine’s Goal

A lot of people imagine that Google and “the internet” are somehow in cahoots. This is not true, however, and Google must compete with the other search engines online to keep up and maintain its traffic.

The internet operates via the network of sites that exist on it, and Google just happens to be arguably the most used and important site at this time.

That means producing the most useful search results that they possibly can is Google’s prerogative. Additionally, Google has to index as many websites as it possibly can so that it can present them in user searches.

Google has indexed hundreds of trillions of sites.

In each search, Google must select the websites that are most relevant to the keywords of that search and list them. Selecting from trillions upon trillions of websites is a pretty tall order, so search engines use algorithms to make their SERP selections.

Search Engine Algorithms

All search engine optimization does is tailor websites to the specifications that search engine algorithms use to rank pages. The primary ones that we’ll cover are keyword optimization, content creation, and backlinking.

It’s important to keep in mind that Google is a giant technological force that uses artificial intelligence to manage a good chunk of the internet’s daily traffic.

It has stuck around for a long time, and it doesn’t show any sign of getting smaller.

The point is, Google is smart. While we don’t know all of the search factors that the algorithm uses, we know that the ones listed above are a few of the most important.

That said, simply knowing the algorithm factors and catering to them will not bring your site a good deal of success.

Again, Google has accounted for sites who try to cheat the algorithm. The best method of optimization is to understand the factors and do the work to actually bring your site to the standards of what search engines consider to be valuable.

So, lacing your pages with keywords that are the same colour as the background in order to boost your keyword volume will not cut it.

Additionally, getting hundreds of backlinks from shady websites will only harm you, as the network of sites that you’re associated with have an effect on your ranking as well.

Keyword Optimization

Optimizing your site for the right keywords is essential, as it pairs your site to the words in the user search.

You certainly have to keep the content of your site in the same vein as your niche, but that doesn’t mean you can’t alter it slightly to keep up with the trends of users.

Conducting keyword research allows you to see what users in your niche are searching, what sites have already optimized for those keywords, and make selections on which keywords are worth optimizing for.

You would think that optimizing for the most popular keywords would be the way to go, but you don’t want to try to compete for “good new cars” when Ford and Buick are already at the top of the SERPs.

It’s important to keep your optimization geared toward words that your users will search but won’t put you in competition with sites who will easily outrank you.

You should also optimize for multiple keywords in your various pages. Content creation is a huge help in doing this.

Content Creation

Creating regular content for your site is a way to expand your reach online and generate more buzz. Search engines like to see sites that are actively creating material and putting it out there.

If your material generates a lot of traffic, all the better, but the simple fact that you’re content is fresh will work in your favour.

Typically, sites create content through the use of a blog. Creating useful content that answers user questions or entertains your users is one of the ways to see your traffic skyrocket.

Using keyword research, identify the topics that your users are searching for and write blog posts that use those keywords and answer related questions.

This way, you know that there’s a demand for that information and you know what words users are looking up to answer their questions.

A few areas of each piece of content should contain links that send users toward product pages or areas where they could subscribe to newsletters or make purchases. The goal of your content creation efforts should be to improve your visibility in search engines and ride that visibility to lead users to make conversions.


Another really important piece of the puzzle is the presence of backlinks. If the SERPs were a democratic election, backlinks would be like votes in your favour. The more powerful the voter, the more weight the vote holds.

There are a lot of backlinking methods out there, but the general consensus is that in order to get people to link to you, you have to make great content and reach out to them and suggest that they support you.

That means a few cold emails and some potential blog posts written in exchange for links.

Pay Per Click

Pay Per Click advertising (PPC) is a form of advertising that ties directly into Google searches and social media.

The idea is that you create ads that are presented to your ideal demographic. This is extremely effective through Google and social media because those sites take down a lot of demographic information.

The ad is placed by the platform you choose, and you aren’t charged unless someone actually clicks on it. Whether or not you get a conversion from that ad doesn’t matter, but you can rest easier knowing that your ad money is being used well.

Social Media

We’re all aware of social media and how to use it personally. Using it for your business is a little different, seeing as there’s more regular maintenance needed to generate followers.

You should list your business on each of the primary social media sites. That means Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Linkedin, Twitter, Yelp, and Pinterest. The sites you use should also depend on your user and where they like to spend time online.

There are different posting schedules you should use on each site, as some intervals of posts show more success than others. If you want to get real specific, there’s some data to show that the time of day you post will have an effect on how successful your social media presence is.

When using social media for your business, your goal should be to show a side of yourself that humanizes the business and keeps people in touch with your efforts. Make sure you’re regularly in the feed and on their minds.

Need More Web Help?

Hopefully, you now understand the difference between digital marketing vs social media a little more clearly. There’s a lot to understand when you’re running a website, though.

If you’re in need of more help with anything from web hosting to search engine optimization, visit our site to learn more.