Social media marketing vs. Social media management: The Major Difference

Pushing your brand and content through social media is a smart way to influence a huge number of people and convert many of them into your followers. Facebook has just recently announced that it crossed the 2 billion mark in active users.

This means that over 20% of world’s population uses it and this fact can be used in both marketing and management of social media pages. However, most companies fail to grasp the main concept of marketing their content and managing their social media pages.

This is due to the fact that social media platforms and their use are still evolving, meaning that people simply can’t keep up with all the differences and similarities between similarly titled actions.

What are the major differences between marketing and managing social media pages and how can you utilize both in order to make an influence?

The elephant in the room

The main issue with differentiating social media marketing from social media management is figuring out how people treat social media in the first place.

Most of the people you know are probably using Facebook and Instagram to stay in touch with friends and share favorite moments or YouTube links. They rarely visit Facebook to have something sold to them, even though it’s known to happen.

  • Social media management focuses solely on managing online content through scheduled posting, creating new content and staying in touch with followers and friends.

It focuses directly on communication through content, without pushing any brand or product your way. You can often see it with independent bloggers, designers, etc.

  • Social media marketing, on the other hand, focuses on paid promotional content for the sole purpose of either selling something or creating brand awareness. These posts are often repeated multiple times during the day in order to make you aware of a new restaurant or top websites for writing while letting you scroll through your regular news feed.

As you can see, there are clear distinctions between pushing paid content and creating organic posts that are friendly and have no aim to sell anything. You can use both written and visual content for your social media marketing and management, depending on the audience you are targeting.

Visual content is more appealing to broader audiences and much easier to comprehend (up to 60% faster). While the distinctions are not as predominant as one might think, they are different enough to make people scratch their heads whenever they are asked to utilize or discuss them.

Social media in business and advertisement

A good example of social media marketing being implemented properly can be seen online every once in a while. One such example is Urban Decay, a company that develops cosmetics products but decided to give away free music festival tickets in order to promote their new line of cosmetics.


The idea was to participate in the giveaway by sharing and posting certain content on social media, an activity that does a lot of good when it comes to gaining a bigger reach.

Anyone who saw the post shared it again, and so forth, while Urban Decay enjoyed a pretty cheap marketing campaign. This type of social media marketing is often more profitable for companies.

It’s important to note that your followers always need a “hook” in order to pay attention to what you are telling them. In the example of Pampers, the company focused on the bond between a mother and a child, with love and affection as the main staples. This provided a hugely positive response and a rise in their popularity among parents.

Using social media to drive your point forward can have several advantages and disadvantages according to your specific company.

Learning how to use Facebook’s own page boosts is a good way to save costs (up to 45%) and gets good coverage from your fans and news outlets. Using these platforms is paramount in making sure that you reach a wide range of audiences.

The pros:

  • Using social media will help you reach an international crowd, consisting of different nationalities, countries, and continents.
  • It provides a cheap and accessible way to promote your brand and sell your product through affiliate links and influencer content.
  • Using social media gives you an ability to use onboard demographic analytics without worrying about content scheduling or distribution – creating the content will be your number one priority.
  • Social media gives you a timeless way of putting your content online with a chance of a huge longevity in sharing and trending through hashtags. If your audience likes the content you create, they will share it and talk about it.

The cons:

  • Using such a worldwide network and posting content for everyone to see can make it very easy to insult someone. Many of today’s social and religious groups take it very seriously if someone posts something that concerns them, whether intentional or not.
  • Paying for content and missing the mark with the wrong target demographic will cause the wrong people to see your content and the right people to miss it entirely. The problem is that this is always a gamble without guarantees.
  • Depending on the business you are running, using social media can make your brand seem silly or uninteresting. A majority of social media users consist of young generations (with 60% of people in 18-29 years of age) with short attention spans and big ideas. Posting content they don’t care about will put a negative mark on your brand, so you should adapt your content accordingly.

Balancing both sides

It’s not to say that social media marketing doesn’t allow you to schedule pre-created content just because management is based on it.

You can easily utilize a little bit of both in order to drive your statement forward, raise awareness of your brand or even sell something if you so desire.

Finding the opportune moment to share your content is exactly what balancing marketing and management is all about. Such is the case of Mr. Clean, a cleaning brand that advertises itself with a superhero-like figure of a cleaning man.

Mr. Clean’s Super Bowl campaign was re-tweeted and mentioned over 11,000 times on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in under one minute after being posted. This was achieved by properly timing the campaign and knowing exactly what the target audience is looking for in its online marketing content.

Another fine example of social media marketing and management is the combination of both through brand collaboration. Eggo is a product of Kellogg’s, a frozen waffle product that was harmlessly put into Netflix’s show Stranger Things.

Since its birth, it has become widely accepted as a part of the show’s story and fans around the globe love both Netflix and Kellogg’s for it. Their recent Twitter post has garnered over 19,000 likes thanks to this connection between two brands, which is a smart strategy considering that they cover two widely different audiences.

The question of the matter is whether you are an independent creator of social media or do you represent a brand? It’s also important to conduct proper target demographic research since giving Facebook or Twitter wrong data about your audience will cause the content to fail entirely.

It’s important to note that 78% of world’s businesses have dedicated social media teams or experts on board, meaning that these people are focused only on social platforms and their utilization possibilities.

This is the part of social media marketing that confuses most people. It’s not about the content you create – it’s how you distribute it that matters. If you don’t want to fill your page with promotional content, opting for an automated paid promotion through official social media channels might be a good idea.

Final thoughts

No one says that you have to use either social media management or marketing – it all depends on your needs and possibilities.

Putting a tag on the position you are filling has nothing to do with the fact that social media is a very useful tool for both marketing your content and managing it accordingly.

The name of the game is brand recognition and subsequent sale of your product. Combine elements from both sides of the equation and do your best to deliver original content to your audiences – the rest will be up to them.

About the Author – Luisa Brenton is a writer in a variety of venues – academic, business, and online marketing content. Find out more on Facebook and Twitter.