Influencer Marketing vs. Social Media Marketing – What’s Better For Your Business

There’s an interesting perpetual debate that keeps sprouting from time to time. You know how every individual goes through a phase of existential crisis at different points in time. Similarly, brands too have their phase of existential crisis where they are stuck debating between influencer marketing vs social media marketing. The constant push and pull between these two vertices of marketing is something that almost every business goes through. The question of which one is better than the other one is still to be answered. Some would argue that social media marketing has boosted their business a lot and some would say the same about influencer marketing. 

But what needs to be noted is that influencer marketing is a part of social media marketing. After all, it’s rooted in social media itself. If you ask influencers about the start of their journey, most of them would say that they started from social media while most would also say that they were probably in this game way before it was called influencer marketing but social media helped them get the recognition. We are going to take a wild guess here and assume that you are thinking, “If influencer marketing is a part of social media marketing then is there any difference between the two? Are their benefits the same? Would it matter if I choose any of these as for my business?” and some more such things. Do not worry. We will walk you through this. 

Firstly, let’s state the difference between the two- influencer marketing and social media marketing. 

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is simply a marketing strategy that involves the use of social media platforms to promote your business, including both but not limited to products, and services. It can be done both organically and paid. 

What is influencer marketing?

Influencer marketing is a social media marketing strategy that involves expert individuals for their niche or key leaders present on social media platforms who promote a brand’s products or services. This is mostly paid marketing but can involve its variations without monetary benefits for the influencer. 

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

While the former makes use of social media as a tool for marketing, the latter uses individuals who are on social media and have a certain number of audiences that follow them or their work. Although they are both interdependent, they have their unique benefits each. The goals of using any of these marketing means can be the same but the ways may differ. 

To state one of the major differences between the two strategies, the former may take more time than the latter to achieve your goals. Hence, a lot of factors like time frame, bandwidth, budget, your product, and your service come into consideration before deciding on which marketing strategy to go with.  

Benefits of social media marketing

  1. Brand recognition

If you believe in the saying, “slow and steady wins the race”, then social media marketing is definitely for you. When you are building your social media presence, you must keep in mind certain things like- your product, your target audience, and your communication. This is all you need to get you started because this will help your viewers recognize you. What you talk about and how you talk about it will further become your identity. 

As people start recognizing that and relate to your content, their chances of becoming your customer and not just your follower are more. The key to increasing your brand recognition and to get people to follow your social media handles is to talk about the benefits that they can gain from your product and not just the product. Focus on introducing them to the experience of the product more than just the product. 

  1. People talk about you

People talk about you on social media. While this can create a ruckus sometimes but there is also the kind of people who are talking about your content and give you the support you deserve. They share your posts, they give you shoutouts, they recommend you to people, they tag their friends on your posts, and do a lot of things more than just hitting that like button. As long as you understand what your audience wants, they will not stop talking about you. Relatability is the key here. That’s why meme pages have such high following and engagement.

This not only spreads the word about your brand but you also gain loyal customers. You gain new customers, you retain them and they tell more people about you. It sounds like a piece of cake but it is not. There’s a lot that goes into it. The best way to go about it is to do a lot of research about the market, about your competitors, and their audience who can potentially become your audience too. Feel free to experiment with your content because that will help you gauge what works best for you. Once you find it, remember to keep it dynamic and not monotonous. When you know what you are best at, keep doing it but differently and you will keep reaching new audiences. 

  1. You can be inclusive

You can be inclusive on social media. In fact, you should be inclusive on social media. Keep an eye on every trend, every news, every viral activity, and implement it in your strategy. This gives you the benefit of keeping your page highly engaging and entertaining. Social media as a community goes bizarre over the littlest things, things as little as an egg. Remember the time when the picture of an egg got viral and became the most liked picture on Instagram? People, brands, meme pages, all were talking about it and that gave them a lot of engagement. 

You can participate in trends, create trends, do topical content and so much more to be more inclusive with no boundaries. You just have to be quick and know when to pick your moments. 

Benefits of influencer marketing

  1. You can target your niche

Influencer marketing works best for people who have a niche to target. For instance, sustainable brands, organic brands, vegan brands, sports brands, and so many such brands are always looking for ways to target more audiences in less time. And what better way to do it than by collaborating with influencers. They already have their niche set, they have worked over the years to build content around it and they already have an audience that loves and relates to their content. 

  1. You can find your audience easily

With influencer marketing, you just need to find your audience and not build it from scratch. You have your target audience and now you just have to find an influencer who caters to that audience. You can begin with some basic research and some background check on the influencers to understand their work. You can look into your networks and find some influencers. Or you can just use any influencer marketing platform or influencer marketing agency that can ease the effort of hunting the right influencer.  

  1. It is engagement-driven

Influencer marketing can help you gain a huge engagement if you can successfully find the right influencers for your brand. The criteria while picking out your influencers should be analyzing their rate of engagement as the same will reflect on your strategy. If they have a high engagement then when they promote your product, you will be able to reap the benefits of that. You can quickly gain a high number of likes, shares, messages, queries, traffic, clicks, and sales with influencer marketing.  

So far you must have figured out why these two vertices are interdependent. Their benefits might be the same to some extent but in practicality when you implement the two, you will be able to recognize that there is a huge difference in the result. Social media marketing is a continuous process and it’s almost never-ending. While your influencer marketing comes with a purpose and for a temporary period of time. You can use it whenever you want but without social media marketing in place, it will not give you many benefits. 

When people start recognizing you and reaching out to you through the influencers that promote your product or service, the first thing that they would do is check your social media. That’s where land first to check your ‘vibe’ as the millennials and gen z call it. If they like your social media game, the chances of them checking out your website and product increases. You can have an influencer on board at any time without compromising with your ongoing social media marketing strategy. It is easy to coordinate with both of them at one time. 

Influencer marketing has evolved from social media and has built a world of its own. There might not be much buzz about social media marketing in particular and the very first marketing strategy to increase your social media presence would be influencer marketing. But you must always keep your basics strong and that can be done with social media marketing. So it’s not like influencer marketing vs social media marketing. It’s more like influencer marketing and social media marketing.

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