“What is the best way to grow my business online?” This question is common among content creators looking for ways to monetize their work. Two common solutions are digital marketing and social media advertising.
Breakdown: Digital Marketing vs. Social Media Advertising
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing uses online channels to promote a creator’s brand, products, or services. This process encompasses a variety of marketing approaches, including:
- PPC: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising is a paid campaign that pushes your listing to the top of search engine results.
- SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of building out your content and improving the user experience of your product pages. SEO can help organically raise your site rankings to the top of search results when customers Google terms related to your business.
- Social Media Campaigns: Paid social media advertising (like Facebook Ads) offer a crossover between digital marketing and social media advertising. However, since they are executed like a traditional marketing campaign, they are often categorized under the digital marketing umbrella.
- Display Advertising: A form of digital marketing that also exists on social media, display advertising is the process of advertising on third-party websites.
What is Social Media Advertising?
The world of social media advertising is a $226 billion industry, according to Statistica. Social media advertising includes:
- Building content and using your online social presence to promote your brand
- Using paid advertisements or partnerships with influencers to spread brand/product awareness and promote sales. While this is often confused with social media marketing, the critical difference is this:
- If the promotional content is published by a user (whether it be an influencer or your own page), this is social media advertising.
- If you pay the platform to publish your promotional content, this is social media marketing.
3 Reasons to Consider Digital Marketing
Even if you are strictly a social media content creator, digital marketing can be beneficial in monetization. If you are looking for a new way to grow sales, here is how digital marketing can help:
- Achieving Stability, Control, and Independence: Social media platforms can change overnight. When relying entirely on a social media platform, your business lacks a certain element of control. Building a brand presence outside any social media platform can protect your online business.
- Reaching a Wider Audience: Advertising only on social media can limit your reach—especially among certain demographic groups. You can reach a wider audience with the help of digital marketing.
- Rethinking Your Target Market: Your selling potential could extend beyond your social media following. Even if your monetization relies on your social media brand, it might be time to rethink your target market. For example, let’s say your target audience is predominantly younger. High school or college students are easier to reach on social media—but less likely to have the funds to fuel your income. You might find sales more effortless when advertising to a wider market. Digital marketing can help.
Potential Considerations: Why Digital Marketing Might Not Help You
Digital marketing is an investment—of your time, money, or both. Before diving into digital marketing, it is necessary to understand whether or not your marketing efforts are set up for success. Let’s look at three reasons digital marketing might not help your business.
- Branded Products: If your products are strictly related to your social media brand, you might not have a large market outside your social media following. In these cases, your digital marketing efforts might be ineffective.
- Timelines and Financing: Some marketing efforts (like SEO) are investments that take years to build success. While PPC can provide immediate results, it can also cost more upfront. While social media success is less reliable to predict, it might be your best outlet if you need the potential for both quick and affordable results.
- Successful Social Media Efforts: Self-promoting your products on social media is free. If you find your efforts successful, you might take the time to explore some ROI scenarios. You will want to ensure the money you can make from digital marketing outweighs the overhead costs of these efforts.
3 Reasons Social Media Advertising Might Be Right For You
While more traditional sellers may resist the world of social media advertising, it could contain a wealth of growth opportunities for your business.
- Cost: In some cases, social media advertising can be more affordable than traditional marketing methods. If you build a solid social media presence, self-promotion can present the opportunity for free and easy business advertising.
- Broader Reach: Social media advertising can give you a chance to connect with different audiences—especially younger demographics. If you find this element of your reach lacking, social media might be the best solution for you.
- Global: Advertising on social media is an easy way to seamlessly reach potential customers across the globe.
Potential Considerations: Why Social Media Advertising Might Not Help You
Much like digital marketing, social media advertising is not for everyone. Let’s unpack three potential considerations of why social media advertising might not be helpful for your business.
- Regional Service Businesses: Social media platforms are often filled with global audiences. An influencer’s social media following is likely to be spread out across the nation or the world. If your business only serves customers in your geographic location, social media advertising might not be for you.
- Stay Wary of False Audiences: Social media influencers can have a strong selling power in partnerships and advertising. However, plenty of other “influencers” have social media followings filled with bots and paid audiences. In these cases, your advertising efforts will likely result in very few, if any, sales.
- Changing Social Media Climates: A social media platform can be bought, sold, or altered substantially at any time. When investing time or money into social media advertising campaigns, your efforts could fall flat with any unexpected update or shift in the platform.
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