BLOG Tools of the Trade—The Nuance of Digital vs. Social Media Marketing

Tools of the Trade—The Nuance of Digital vs. Social Media Marketing

POSTED BY Brittany Lewis | Oct 31, 2023

Around our office, you will hear the terms ‘digital marketing’ and ‘social media marketing.’ Often, people outside of marketing use them interchangeably. But knowing the difference can make or break your marketing game. 

Historically, marketing has evolved. Its most ‘primitive’ tools like printed advertisements, billboards, and if we went back far enough, we could even include callers standing on street corners were meant to promote a business or service. With television, marketing expanding to the great big world of commercials. Then, entered the digital age, drastically altering the landscape of advertising. With the strike of a few keys, people gained instant access to information. For businesses, that meant new avenues for recognition. No longer limited by region, through digital channels, a brand’s reach could extend across the globe. 

So what is marketing now? Well, it’s complex. But to keep it straight-forward, it is the building of authentic trust with a niche audience. Instead of simply plastering signs everywhere, a successful marketing plan utilizes many forms of advertising, including digital tools. Those tools are ever-expanding, and that is why digital and social media marketing have gained their distinction. 


What is Digital Marketing?

Let’s start by laying the groundwork. Simply put, digital marketing is a marketing strategy that depends on digital channels or tools (including the Internet). The end goal is always to promote a business’s goods or services. This might involve a strategy meant to raise brand awareness or promote a specific sale.   

Some Digital Tools Are:

- Email
- Organic Social Media
- Landing pages
- Newsletters
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Digital Signage
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- Websites
- Video


The best digital marketing strategies utilize more than one of these tools to reach their targeted audience. Now, you might have noticed how social media is on the list (You’re so perceptive!) That is because digital marketing has a broader overarching scope.Yes, digital marketing includes social media marketing. In essence, digital marketing is the toolbox, and social media marketing is one of the many helpful tools inside.


The Digital Marketing POWER Tool 

Social media marketing is a type of digital marketing that is tailored to social media platforms. But if it’s a ‘subset,’ why does it get its own headline? Why don’t we just lump it all into digital marketing and call it good?

The answer—nuance. 

Have you ever gazed into your phone mindlessly scrolling through FaceBook, Twitter, or Instagram only to look up and wonder how in the world it was summer when you started scrolling, and somehow pumpkins are on your front porch? We get it. Congratulations, you have personally experienced the power of social media. It’s as close as you may ever come to a black hole.

The draw is that social media marketing focuses on engagement and connection. It is truly more like a relationship than traditional forms of marketing. One Instagram post could attract viewers interested in a topic and then be shared multiple times. Then, viewers engage with each other as well as the one who posted.

Now that much power deserves some undivided marketing attention, right? Social media is one of the highest-impact power tools in our digital marketing toolbox. Yet it is also complex. With its many varying platforms and their different restrictions and audiences, social media requires its own strategy. And it takes time and attention to coordinate marketing efforts to fit those channels. 

The X factor with social media is that consistent, strategic marketing helps a business gain traction with its target audience quickly. When used well, a business educates, engages, and delights its audience. The result is a loyal band of followers who trust and share the content. 

While digital marketing has been around for some time, social media marketing is still relatively new— But its power is undeniable.


Double Impact of the Digital & Social Duo

Imagine the impact a carefully curated digital marketing strategy could have when combined with an equally powerful social media marketing strategy. 

The thing is, at Primitive, we have witnessed the power first-hand. Our digital strategies help our clients leverage the full potential of social media. When our clients choose to utilize both digital and social media marketing, it creates a double impact for their brand.

When it comes to the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, we know it can be difficult to know which tool to use and even more difficult to know how to use that tool effectively. That’s where we come in. As your marketing partner, we utilize these tools every day. We know precisely when to push hard, and have the analytics to guide our efforts. 

If you would like to know more about what we can do for you in digital or social media marketing, OR both, reach out to us. We’re happy to help.

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About the writer, Brittany Lewis

Brittany is a copywriter at Primitive and enjoys connecting with people, exploring new ideas, and expressing thoughts through written language almost as much as she loves a latte. As a Texas Tech University graduate, she is a Red Raider through and through. She graduated with honors in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Since then, she has spent a large part of her career in the field of education, teaching English to secondary students and working in early childhood programs.