The Difference between Social Media Management and Social Media Marketing

Posted by Deven at 12:57 PM on Oct 20, 2017


They may have the same initials, but the two practices are quite different. Large companies will often have a social media manager and a social media marketer and while they will work closely together, the job roles are not the same. If we look at the responsibilities and tasks that align with each job role we can see a marked difference between the two practices.

Social media management focuses on running an online community and creating a cohesive voice across all channels, whether that is just Facebook and Twitter or also Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest or LinkedIn, to name but a few possibilities. A social media manager will curate and create content, schedule posts and respond to questions or comments. They will also be responsible for exploring new channels, reporting and assessing campaigns and the effectiveness of social media activity and will work closely with a social media marketer to ensure consistency across both marketing and community management posts.

A social media marketer is not so concerned with content, responding to the community or reporting on engagement levels, but they are responsible for running and reporting on marketing campaigns conducted online. Facebook is one of the more effective channels for social media marketing, but depending on the nature of the business channels such as Instagram or Twitter may work better for the target market, or for competitions.

Social media marketers create and run campaigns on social media, from simple advertisements that can be clicked on while customers browse social media feeds, to interactive projects that get customers and fans involved with the brand. Facebook has an excellent advertising platform which allows companies to target their advert to appear only to interested parties. Parameters can be set on:

  • the times the advert appears (if you know your audience is online mainly in the morning, and hardly ever in the evening there is no point running an advert between 6pm and 10pm)
  • the location of the people that see your advert (so you're not paying for people in America to see your advert for a dog grooming salon in Watford)
  • the likes and interests of your potential customers (people who like pages about pets might be interested in a dog grooming salon for example)
  • the amount you want to spend in a day (so you can manage the spend and not blow the entire budget in a single week)

Social media marketing encompasses the promotional aspect of brand management by directly engaging with the core audience in a space that feels more neutral than a company website, a broadcast advert or even in public spaces where billboards and bus stop adverts dominate the visual landscape. Social media marketing presents information to customers when they are actively engaged in the process of consuming and sharing content, which means they are already more receptive to your message than if they are waiting for a bus. In fact, a potential customer may be waiting at a bus stop, ignore the print advert in the shelter, but engage with content from the same brand on their smartphone as they pass the time.

As we can see, there are marked differences between social media marketing and social media management, but both are equally important practices in effective online and social marketing. It is unusual for smaller business to have the in-house capabilities to manage one or both of these activities efficiently, and for this reason using an experienced and capable agency is a good move, taking the stress off your hands so you can just reap the rewards.

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