The 5 main differences between Social Media and Social Networking

4 min read

Trying to understand 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.

To really understand the difference between the two we first need to define them. Here we defines 5 main differences between social media and social networking in this way …

Social Media

A form of electronic communication (as well as websites for social networking and microblogging) through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content (such as videos).

Social Networking

The creation and maintenance of personal and business relationships, especially online.

That said, let’s take a look at the five major differences between social media and social networking.

1) Communication

On social media you are talking. Publish content: images, videos, eBooks, infographics, white papers and more, trying to generate interaction with your fans and followers and ultimately hoping that they will interact with your brand.

Social Media and Social Networking

On social networking, there must be a mix between speaking and listening. If you are part of groups and networks on social media and you are talking only to you, publishing posts related to your brand and bragging about your brand, you will not get the kind of respect you deserve, and you will probably lose great opportunities just because you are not listening.

To excel on social networking, you should spend time listening and interacting with others.

2) Targets

Perhaps the biggest difference between social media and social networking has to do with the goal you are trying to achieve.

With social networking your ultimate goal is to build your network of fans / followers and promote those relationships. Whether these relationships will lead to new contacts or not, you cannot know it, nor is it the ultimate goal.

Social media is different because while clearly, we try to generate interaction, at the same time we want to increase our profits too, and this means data acquisition for the generation of contacts and sales for your online store.

3) Contents

Content is very important on all aspects of marketing, and while it is necessary for both social media and social networking, the type of content that you use for everyone must be different.

Social networking contains many rich conversations and questions. You make long and informative conversations with people, hoping to generate a new connection and get a new fan while you are growing your referral network.

Social Media and Social Networking

On the social media side, you are trying to channel the interaction, and you cannot do this with 250 words on Facebook. No, you need to publish and share images, videos, infographics, and other effective pieces of content to keep the audience engaged and interested in your brand.

And it does not mean that this type of content cannot be used on both channels, but the use of the content should be different.

4) Time and Effort

If you have an active brand on social media, you are probably using a tool like HootSuite or Sprout Social to help you save time and measure the analysis behind your efforts. You can create your posts and schedule the publication in advance, and then sit back and watch the interaction you are generating.

With social networking, there is no set way to really grow. Every interaction needs special attention.

Social networking is like an appointment: it takes time and it takes a lot of effort to really make it work, but in the end it’s always worth it.

5)  ROI Measurement

In this digital age, we are all trying to measure ROI (Return on investment) on everything we do, especially on social media.

The way to assign ROI to social media and social networking must be different, because you have to approach it in a completely different way. Measuring ROI for your social networking efforts will be easier because there is a more direct response if your network of social followers is increasing, then this ROI is measurable.

Since your social media strategy is to generate “noise” and involvement, it is a bit difficult to fix and measure that kind of return. After a long time, you might have some sort of success, but it will not be as clear as with the “game” of social networking. Of course if you are channeling things like sales and you have your analysis and monitoring tools in place, it will be easier to measure your ROI.

All in all, social media and social networking are two important marketing tactics, and all of them are characterized by specific challenges.

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