Digital Marketing

Digital Marketing Vs Social-Media Marketing – Top 7 Differences

Val Okafor
11 Jan 2022
5 min read

As a home service business owner, an advertising strategy that improves visibility and drives conversion for your business is very important. Without advertising, it is easy for the business to go kaput.

However, without prior knowledge of digital or social media marketing, questions such as the following are bound to run across your mind: what exactly is the difference between digital marketing and social media marketing? When should a home service business owner use one versus the other? Which one costs more money? Which one takes time to produce results? Which one can be handled by a small in-house team, and which is more advisable to be outsourced?

This article would answer these questions for home service business owners who, although unsure of how to go about their digital or social media marketing campaign, are looking to optimize the amount they spend on these platforms.

What Is Digital Marketing & Social Media Marketing?

Digital marketing is an umbrella term used to refer to implementing marketing strategies on several channels, which may include SEO, e-mail marketing, content analytics, and social media. Thus, as is clear from this definition, social media marketing is just one channel that makes up digital marketing.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, is the process of building online communities for brands, businesses, and events. This is achieved by encouraging people to like, share and comment on your brand so social shares reflect positively on your website traffic and SEO rankings.

Digital Marketing vs Social Media Marketing

It's a huge mistake to assume that digital marketing and social media marketers are one and the same. Though much of what they do may seem similar, there are significant differences between these two disciplines. They vary in the following ways:


The ultimate goal for most organizations is to meet sales objectives through engaging customers with their brand story. Thus it is important to measure how well your digital marketing campaign has driven traffic back to your website where you can convert these visitors into leads and finally into sales.

Metrics are tracked by using Google Analytics, Omniture, Unica, WebTrends and other similar tools. Some of these metrics are directly related to decisions you've made or objectives you have set for your business—like the number of leads generated through a particular AdWords campaign—and some are dependent upon data that can only be measured via analytics tool.

Ultimately, digital Marketing is measured by conversions (e.g., sales, sign-ups). Social Media Marketing? Not quite. It is totally measured by engagement (e.g., followers, re-tweets).

With the recent developments in social media, it is now possible to have an accurate picture of your company's success by tracking engagement rates and other key metrics. These stats give you a 360-degree view on all aspects from impressions & reach; share-of-voice (including referrals) conversions OR response times for any given post or campaign !!!


Digital marketing is a one-way communication – companies send out information but they do not receive any direct feedback from the market. Social Media Marketing facilitates conversations between customers and brands, though not all brands respond back regularly to comments or questions.

There has been some controversy over whether or not social media marketing is effective since it continues to be a fairly new form of communication; however recent research shows that consumers are willing to spend more money with organizations that communicate regularly with their clients via social media.


The purpose of social media marketing is to showcase the most delicate details about the product or service being offered in a bid to convince the target audience to at least make plans to purchase the product being advertised, while digital marketing is merely intended to increase the awareness around a particular product, promotion or offer; it doesn't necessarily require a tangible response from the audience.


While digital marketing is a broader term that involves the use of paid adverts, banners, e-mails, search engine result pages, backlinks, hyperlinks, banners pop-ups, and other offline digital channels to promote products or services to customers, social media marketing involves the sole use of social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to create awareness about a product or service offered.


Web analytics, email campaigns, SEO (search engine optimization), PPC (pay per click) advertisements, and digital coupons are all tools of traditional digital marketing. Whereas Social Media Management Systems (i.e., HootSuite), CRM (customer relationship management) software, blog/page design, and web content management systems are all tools used in Social Media Marketing.


Social media marketing, due to its limitation to social media platforms, can reach only a limited amount of audience, while digital marketing, which is less platform restrictive, can reach a broader range of audiences.

This makes the results achievable while using social media marketing depend on the consumers' engagement which is fast, while the results achievable while using digital marketing are comparatively slow, as in most cases, there is an entire buyer’s journey that customers have to pass through.


Social media marketing has the potential to evoke faster and quicker responses given its detailed and rich contents coupled with its less intrusive nature. At the same time, many people tend to ignore digital marketing content because they are more intrusive, resulting in lower impressions response rates.

When should a home service business owner use one versus the other?

Ultimately, home service company owners must be smart about whether they choose to use either of these promotional methods, even if social media and digital marketing are essential components of an advertising campaign.

At the start, home service businesses tend to be more community and individual-focused. It is better to utilize social media marketing options than digital marketing options because, at this point, the goal is to constantly look for ways to get your business on the radar of potential customers. Luckily, social media marketing helps businesses achieve this aim by providing a platform for building brand awareness, increasing customer base, engaging with current customers, and attracting new ones.

Secondly, a home service business owner should choose social media marketing over digital marketing because they provide a less expensive advertising medium. With social media marketing, all that is needed to begin the journey to brand visibility and awareness is a valid social media account and a small in-house team to create attractive and engaging content. In contrast, digital marketing may need to be outsourced to experts because of its complexity.

Lastly, digital marketing is a long-term advertisement strategy that could take a more extended period to produce results; thus, it could be factored into the long-term advertisement goal of the home service business; however, if you are looking for something to hit the ground running with, social media marketing which takes a shorter amount of time to produce results is the best fit.

How to combine social media marketing with digital marketing?

While looking at how to combine social media marketing with digital marketing, a strategy should be developed depending on the type of audience you want to attract while keeping in mind the content you can generate. For example, a home service business may use its social media page with other forms of digital marketing such as e-mail and content marketing to tie in prospects.

Thus, while the primary purpose of the social media page may be to promote timely content, it may also be used to direct followers back to view the content on their website or subscribe to their e-mail marketing list.

Conclusively, depending on the audience sought to be reached and the overall digital marketing objectives, the platform to be used for advertisement would differ from one brand to another. However, social media marketing for home service businesses should always form one part of a more comprehensive digital marketing stack to achieve optimal result.

Val Okafor

Val is a Software Engineer and business builder creating software solutions for home service and home improvement businesses.

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