Learn the Difference Between Social Selling vs. Social Media Marketing

Posted by George Irish on November 24, 2015


In this digitally-dominated age, it can be tempting to lump together terms like social selling and social media marketing because they sound like they are accomplishing the same thing.  They definitely are not.  In fact, the goals are very different.   The objective of social selling is to create relationships while social media marketing is all about reach.  Here is an overview of the key similarities and differences between social selling vs. social media marketing.




Social Selling vs. Social Media Marketing: The Similarities


It is true that both use social networks, such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to get messages across but the similarities don't end there.  The business goals are still the same in that the activities are designed to educate and bring in new customers through social media.  As such, there is also a similar need for branded third-party content that will engage and educate buyers about your industry and products.  This can be in the form of videos, infographics, blog posts, articles, tweets, or short Facebook posts.


Social Selling vs. Social Media Marketing: The Differences




While using the same social networks and pursuing the same ultimate business goals, it is the approach that makes the biggest difference between these two types of online marketing.  Social Selling is considered to be more intimate in that is carried out by actual sales people within the organization, not the marketing department.  A tweet that would be categorized as "social selling", for example, will originate from a Sales Manager's account and may answer someone's question, rather than from the main company account.









Social Media Marketing will operate from the company's primary, branded, accounts and will work at getting the company's main message out in front of as many people as possible on a continuous basis.  Accomplishing this is a difficult job in itself but doesn't always lend itself to nurturing individual clients and building relationships.  This is where Social Selling can step in and fill the gap. Sales people can respond to specific questions and customer requirements, which will enable them to start building personal relationships that would not be possible through a corporate account.  There will also often be opportunities for salespeople to share that branded third-party content that was provided to them by the marketing department so that the message remains consistent across all platforms.




Much about social media marketing is automated. The marketing department of any company can tailor the content for a given period on various social platforms and schedule the posting of that content so that there is a steady flow educational and promotional material.  Social Selling is interactive in nature and can't be automated.  Salespeople need to find a way to integrate their sales system with their social media interactions.  While they may have some pre-written content and messages available to them, personal relationship building is the primary focus of these activities.



Bottom Line

Every company should be making use of both social media marketing and social selling.  Integrating both of these into your sales and marketing plan will open more doors and help your company to build personal relationships with both current and future customers.  There is a distinct difference between social selling vs. social media marketing yet both types of marketing are necessary to help build your business.


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