Content Marketing vs Social Media Marketing: What’s the Difference?

As I meet brands and agencies, I still come across people who are unfamiliar with the term ‘content selling’. And when I start to explain, they usually reply, “Oh, corporate content brands? You mean social media sales.”

Indeed, in selling content, a lot of use is made of social media. And of course, social media marketers use content to get their messages across. While there is a lot of overlap between content selling and social media selling, they are 2 different entities, with completely different focuses, goals and processes. To clear up the confusion, let’s look at the main ways they differ:

center of gravity

In social media sales, the center of gravity — the main target of the sales activity — is intermittently found in the social networks themselves. once marketers run social media campaigns, they are operational within Facebook, within Twitter, within Google+, etc. When they deliver content, they post it within these networks.

In distinction, the center of gravity for selling content can be an entire website – be it a branded computer address such as or a microsite. Social networks important to the success of content selling efforts, but here , Facebook , Twitter and Google+ are mainly used as a distributor of back links.

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Types of content

Social media sales create content that fits the context of the chosen social platform: short messages within one hundred and forty characters vary for Twitter; contests, quizzes and games for Facebook, etc. Here brands model their behavior when people become victims of social networks.

On the other hand, when selling content, the context of internet sites allows for much longer styles of content. Brands will publish journal entries, videos, infographics and eBooks, just to name some formats. Here, brands model their behavior at the time of media publishers.


While social media sales and content sales are often used for a wide variety of functions, social media sales tend to focus on two main goals. First, it is used for full awareness – generating activity and discussion around the whole. Second, it’s used for customer retention/satisfaction – brands will use social channels as associate degree open forums for direct dialogue with customers, usually around buyer issues or questions.

The website-based focus of content marketing allows it to focus on additional on-demand generation. As quality content brings prospects to a brand’s website, brands will develop a relationship with the prospects and lead them to a lead conversion or purchase.

Evolution of online sales

While I don’t understand the quantitative relationship between brands using social media selling and people using content selling, I’d imagine it’s somewhere around a thousand to 1. Social media sales are top-of-mind for almost every sales department, while content selling can be a (relatively) new term and replaces several.

Yet of {the 2|the 2} ways, I believe less as two isolated choices and complementary as interconnected components of marketing in a progressive evolution. the internet has unleashed a revolutionary ability for any complete person to speak directly to its customers – while this is not the requirement for a media company to negotiate.

Social media sales are the natural start in this process: access to users is instant (users spend a lot of time on social networks) and content is usually broken up into shorter chunks, making the business venture method relatively simple.

But as brands become more comfortable with their new role as publishers, the natural progression is to sell content. Yes, the bar is raised here: When selling content, brands need to deliver longer form, higher quality content and build an audience on their website – they need to become real media publishers. however, the rewards and results arguably measure extra strength. Brands will have an extra deep interaction with their customers through content selling efforts. And by driving shoppers to his website, the whole thing includes a greater chance of realizing leads and moving them down the conversion funnel.

Since we are all pioneers of this new content selling strategy, a shared definition of what we usually do in regards to approaches such as social media selling is valuable. therefore right now your turn: in the comments, be free to discuss your thoughts. is that a definition you would use to distinguish the 2 disciplines?

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