What is the difference between social media marketing and influencer marketing?

Social media marketing refers to promoting one’s brand and products on various social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube etc while influencer marketing refers to partner with influencers to get one’s brand and products get promoted. However, we have noticed that influencer marketers also use social media platforms to promote brands hence, are influencer marketing and social media marketing different or one is a subset of the other? It’s an interesting question. Let’s check out both types of advertising a little more closely.

Social Media Marketing- A platform to initiate conversation with the customers

Over the last one and half decades, social media has evolved drastically from being a pastime and networking portal to a virtual representation of the real world. From conversation to actual purchase, now everything can happen on social media platforms. Hence, it’s imperative for all brands to not only be present on social media but also create a favorable image of the brand and carry out conversations with the consumers. Consider it a plus point or a negative point, social media has made brand communication a two-way process. Consider the times of traditional advertising only. The only mean to connect with the customers was to advertise on offline media and wait for them to visit the stores. With social media platforms, customers can always stay in touch with the brands by simply following them.

Influencer Marketing- An evolved format of celebrity endorsements?

Remember the times before social media? Television, newspapers, radio and hoardings were the biggest source of ads. And endorsements by top movie and TV stars, sportsmen and artists used to be the best way to create impact. With the rise of social media, another set of celebrities have come into picture. Those who are not necessarily in news but are best in their respective fields in terms of knowledge, interest, work etc. These are people who are followed by other people for ideas, inspiration and advice. They might not be popular offline but they have a huge fan following online. They are known for their authority over the subject like fashion, food, health & lifestyle etc and have a unique and engaging way of expression that impacts the followers. Influencer marketing might seem similar to celebrity endorsements as well as social media marketing but a major difference here is in terms of content design and ownership. Even in case of celebrity ads, brands have the control and ownership on the content. In case of influencer marketing, the control of content is with the influencers as it’s their original content that make influencers popular and trusted among the followers.

Here are a few examples of social media marketing content and influencer marketing content of the same pages. You can see the differences.

Oppo Mobile India influencer marketing campaign with Masaba Gupta
Oppo Mobile India Social Media Post
Samsung India Influencer Marketing Campaign with Masaba Gupta
Samsung India Social Media Post
Myntra Influencer Marketing Campaign with That Boho Girl
Myntra Social Media Post

To summarize the above, following are the differences between social media marketing and influencer marketing

Social Media MarketingInfluencer Marketing
Social Media Marketing involves direct communication with the customers: Brands–>CustomersInfluencer Marketing involves brand communicating to customers through influencers: Brands–>Influencers–>Customers
Social Media Marketing happens on brands’ own social media pages and accounts hence greater control on the contentInfluencer Marketing happens on influencers’ social media pages and accounts and hence brands have limited control of the content
The audience for this marketing is brands’ followers on their social media pagesThe audience for influencer marketing is influencers’ followers on social media pages and hence increased reach
Brands often have to maintain and follow a uniform style and tone for all the content that goes on their social media pagesInfluencer marketing helps brands break the content monotony and explore a variety

In case you are a company looking for social media marketing and influencer marketing in India and would like to understand in detail and also would like to estimate the costs etc., you can visit the website of The Media Ant. They are a media agency with an online platform where you can get details like rates and reach of over 2 lakh media options, compare as well as plan using their tools, free of cost. Following are the links to help you:

Social Media Marketing on The Media Ant

Influencer Marketing on The Media Ant

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