5 Biggest Differences between Social Media and Social Networking

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Trying to figure out the difference between social media and social networking is like trying to fully understand every ranking factor that Google uses for SEO: it’s not easy.Social networking vs. social media

To really understand the difference between the two, we first need to define them. Merriam-Webster defines social media and social networking as the below:

Social Media: forms of electronic communication (as Web sites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (as videos).

Social Networking: the creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships especially online

With that said, let’s take a look at the five biggest differences between social media and social networking.

Communication Style

On social media, you’re doing all of the talking. You’re publishing content—images, videos, eBooks, infographics, white papers, and more—and trying to generate engagement with your fans and followers, and ultimately hoping that they interact with your brand or take an action.

With social networking, there needs be a mix of both talking and listening. If you’re joining groups and networks on social media and doing all of the talking—posting about your brand and tooting your own horn—you’re not going to get the type of respect that you probably deserve, and you’re likely going to miss out on some great opportunities because you’re not listening.

To be great at social networking, you have to take the time to listen and engage with others.

Goals

Perhaps the biggest difference between social media and social networking is the goal that you’re trying to achieve.

With social networking, your ultimate goal is to build your network of fans/followers and foster those relationships. Whether or not those relationships lead to new business is an unknown, but it’s not the ultimate goal.

Social media differs because while you’re certainly trying to generate buzz and interaction, you also want to increase your bottom line, and that means data acquisition for lead generation and sales for eCommerce.

Content

Content is so important to every aspect of marketing, and while you need it for both social media and social networking, the type of content you use for each is going to be different.

In social networking, it’s a lot of rich conversation and questions. You’re having deep, informative conversations with people in hopes of sparking a connection and gaining a new fan or follower while growing your referral network.

On the social media side of things, you’re trying to drive engagement, and you can’t do that with 250 word Facebook posts. No, you need to be posting and sharing images, videos, infographics, and other meaningful pieces of content to keep your audience engaged and interested in your brand.

It’s not to say that this type of content can’t overlap, but how you use the content should be different.

Time & Effort

If you’re an active brand on social media, you’re probably using a tool like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to help save time and measure the analytics behind your efforts. You can create your posts and schedule them out days ahead, and then sit back and watch the engagement that takes place.

With social networking, there’s no automated way to really grow relationships, and you can’t cut corners. Each interaction you have needs unique focus and attention.

Social networking is like dating—it’s time consuming, and it takes a lot of time and effort to really make it work, but it’s all worth it in the end.

ROI Measurement

In this digital age, we’re all trying to measure the ROI from everything that we do, especially social media.

How you attribute ROI to your social media and social networking is going to differ because you need to go about the two completely different. Measuring the ROI from your social networking efforts is going to be easier because there’s more direct response—if your network of social followers is increasing, then that’s measurable ROI.  

But since your social media strategy is about generating buzz and engagement, it’s a bit difficult to nail down that type of return. Over a longer period of time, you should be able to attribute some type of success, but it’s not going to be as clear as it is in your social networking game. Of course if you’re driving things like sales and you have your tracking and analytics in place, it’ll be easier to measure your ROI.

All in all, social media and social networking are two important marketing tactics, but they each come armed with their own unique challenges.

Image via Shutterstock

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The Biggest Differences between Articles and Blogs

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In a digital world where content reigns over all, we all know that we need content, but we’re not sure what type and why.Content marketing

As a digital marketer, I get a lot of questions about what content really means and why it’s necessary, but the most commonly asked question I’ve received over the last year is “what’s the difference between an article and a blog?”

Believe it or not, there are a lot of differences between the two content types, with each serving different purposes but ultimately working to meet the same goal.

Check out the biggest differences between articles and blogs below.

Purpose of an Article

The overall purpose of an article is to provide in-depth insight on a particular topic or subject. It should take an educational and scholarly tone—usually written in second or third person—and be at least 1,000 words that provide a ton of detail and well-researched information. We typically see articles in mediums like medical journals and online databases, and they primarily feature data instead of imagery.

Think about the last time you read an article in a magazine—I’m going to guess it was long, insightful, and required you to read the entire piece to understand what its intention was.

That’s the thing about articles. They’re not easy to scan, and that’s because it’s not their intention. Authors of articles put a lot of work into their content, conducting loads of research and crafting their article to deliver in-depth information that’s going to educate the reader as if they were sitting in a classroom. 

From a digital standpoint, some people have started to refer to articles as long-form content. No matter what you call it, be prepared to spend a lot of time crafting it.

Example Title: “Research Shows That Websites with Blogs Increase On-Site Time by 50%”

Purpose of a Blog

The main purpose of a standard blog is to deliver high-level information without getting into too much detail. Blog posts are usually right around the 500 word mark and are usually written in first person, though it’s not necessarily uncommon to see them in second and third as well.

You’ll see blogs that contain data and statistics, but they usually don’t go into detail about what that data means or why it’s important—it’s more used as means to justify the content around it.

As for the tone, blogs are meant to be helpful, educational, and intriguing, but they don’t have the scholarly tone that you’d find in an article. Instead, the tone, in some cases, is even laid back and witty.

Because of the short length of the content, blogs can typically be scanned within a couple of minutes, and the reader should be able to understand the underlying meaning without reading every single word of the post. You’ll also often see images accompany the blog post, which help to tell the story and add a visual piece to the post that helps to keep readers engaged. 

Example Title: “How to Increase On-Site Time with Blog Content”

You Need Content

Content is king

Image via Shutterstock

Regardless of which route you take, I can guarantee that you’re going to end up at the same road, and that’s that you need fresh content on your website. 

If you’re wondering why, then you’re already behind. We’ve all heard the famous line that content is king, and while I’ll admit that it’s definitely overused, there’s no denying that it’s true.

These days, the search engines—aka Google—want to see that you’re consistently adding new content to your website; this is what’s going to help you rank high organically (SEO). Google’s job is to provide quality results for its searchers, and if you’re publishing fresh content and striving to be the educational hub for your vertical, Google is going to see that and is more likely to rank your website higher in their search results (See Google Panda and Panda 4.1). 

It’s important that you don’t just throw up content on your site that doesn’t bring value to your readership, though, because that’s just a waste of time on your end and isn’t going to help your readers or your SEO. It’s all about quality, and that’s why you should look to primarily utilize blog posts, and create articles where you feel its necessary. 

Consider blogs a necessity and articles a luxury if you have the time and methods to conduct the necessary research. I’d recommend updating your website with fresh content—blogs or articles—at least twice per month, and more if you have the time.

Now, get out there and fill the world (and your website) with great content!

Thumbnail & Content images via Shutterstock

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