What Is The Difference Between Social Media Marketing And Social Media Management?

Social media. It’s everywhere these days isn’t it?

If you run a business, you know that you need to be doing social media to help promote it, but what’s it all about? Where do you even start?

Most of the business owners we work with day-to-day have been told that social media can be the best way of boosting their business online, but they have no idea what that actually means in reality, hence they employ us to work on their social media for them.

But if you’re right at the start of that process and you’re not even sure what all the terms and jargon mean, then it can be tricky. For example, what’s the difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management?

These are words that are thrown around by us Digital Marketers (you see, there’s another one!) every day – they are both services that we, at Shine On Digital, offer – but the majority of SME business owners simply don’t know what the difference is. In all honesty, even to us, they sound like they mean the same thing.

But they don’t, and the fundamental difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management is that one is the act of marketing yourself on social media, whilst the other is the act of orchestrating that marketing. Let me explain that a bit more clearly.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

What is Social Media Marketing? In a nutshell, it’s that act of using social media platforms to market your business online.

These days, there are so many different social media platforms around and it feels like more are being added daily, so it can seem like a confusing minefield at times. But even if you only use a single platform (Facebook, for e.g.) to send out one post that is advertising your business, then you are engaging in Social Media Marketing.

Some companies send out tens of posts a day across many different platforms, whilst others send out one or two posts on just a couple of platforms (usually Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, as they’re the best for business), but all of them are Social Media Marketing.

Historically, any post that was sent out on social media with the aim of promoting your business, whether it was paid or not, was considered to be social media marketing. However, in recent years, there has been a more subtle interpretation of the term, and now those within the industry tend to only class posts that are directly about the business or are paid as Social Media Marketing.

Hence, if you pay to boost your Facebook posts or put out messages directly about your products or services (i.e. ‘sale on these items today) then that is Social Media Marketing.

What Is Social Media Management?

Social Media Management is slightly different to Social Media Marketing, in that this usually refers to the act of curating, posting and responding to content on social media.

As before, the number of social platforms you use and amount of content you’re posting doesn’t matter; if you’re posting anything to social media and then engaging with the results, then you are essentially doing Social Media Management. And that applies whether you’re doing it just for yourself, or for the benefit of your business.

So, if you’re posting interesting articles that you’ve read or funny memes, or are re-posting other people’s content, then you are doing Social Media Management. If you’re liking other people’s posts, retweeting them or replying to comments, then that’s Social Media Management.

Essentially, it is exactly what the term implies it is; you are managing your social media, as opposed to marketing something via social media.

What Is The Difference Between Social Media Management and Social Media Marketing?

OK, so you can see that the difference between the two things is subtle, but they are actually very different aspects of – more or less – the same thing: social media.

Strictly speaking, if we return to our slightly nuanced industry definition, then Social Media Management is anything you do on social media that is not either paid or directly marketing your business. For example, if you are a business but you have just posted a news article about your sector from the BBC News website (i.e. you’re not selling anything, you’re just posting an interesting article that you think your audience will be interested in reading), then you are doing Social Media Management.

On the other hand, if you have just created a Facebook post about the latest product you’ve got for sale, and you’ve designed a graphic and you’re going to pay to boost that post, then that is Social Media Marketing.

You see, simples, right?!?

Another key difference between the two things is that, generally speaking, you can also use third party platforms to help you with your Social Media Management, such as Hootsuite or Buffer (these are tools that help you schedule and post to multiple platforms all in one go – they’re great, you should give them a try!), whereas, if you’re doing Social Media Marketing, you generally have to do that directly via the platform itself (such as Facebook Ads). Again, a slight difference, but one worth noting.

Get In Touch

So there we have it; these two might sound like interchangeable terms, but in reality there is a difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management.

Nevertheless, when the chips are down, if you want to grow your business online and reach new audiences – if you want your business to thrive in the new online world – then you need to be engaging in both.

And if you have neither the time nor the skills to do this entirely by yourself, then you need Shine On Digital to help you. We do both Social Media Marketing and Social Media Management, plus we can either do it all for you or give you a tutorial to give you the skills you need to do it yourself, in-house.

Simply get in touch if you’d like to speak to us more about it.