What’s the difference between social media marketing and social media management?

Post by Open Colleges on November 30th, 2020

Social media is here to stay. More than 70% of the Australian population use social media, with Facebook, YouTube and Instagram reigning supreme.

In recruitment agency Hays’ 2020 job report, they listed Social Media and SEO Digital Marketing Specialists as one of the most in-demand jobs in Australia, further proving the importance of social media in our lives and as a marketing tool. 

Whether you’re a Small Business Owner looking to promote your own business or a professional Marketer wanting to expand your skill set, there’s a lot of reasons why you should be brushing up on your social media knowledge. 

In this article, we take a closer look at social media marketing and social media management and the differences between the two, and why you need to use both to launch a successful social media campaign.

Find out how to reach your audience through social media management and marketing.

What is social media management?

The core of social media management is how you manage your online presence to create brand awareness. It’s all about building your brand identity, growing your audience, engaging with them and trying to build relationships with them. This involves things like:

  • creating organic content to share on your platforms;
  • updating and maintaining profile information on your accounts; and
  • responding to comments and messages from followers.


Social media management is about playing the long game. Through research, time, effort and dedication, you can expand your audience and encourage them to engage with your brand by creating valuable, organic content. 

What is social media marketing?

Social media marketing is about getting content in front of your target audience for a specific purpose—whether it’s to generate leads, boost sales, increase your follower count or any other goal you’re working towards. You can accomplish this through a well-planned social media strategy through both paid and organic content. 

Paid vs organic social media content

Social media management focuses solely on organic content. That is, content that you’re creating yourself and not paying for. 

Because social media marketing is all about driving towards a specific goal, it’s important to have a social media strategy built around achieving this goal. To get the results you want, you might want to think about using paid forms of advertising. This could be in the form of an ad that shows up in your audience’s social feeds, or through a sponsored message from a well-known Influencer

However, if you’re considering investing in paid content, remember that buying followers and likes can end up being nothing more than a costly waste of time. 

Woman holding giveaway sign

There are plenty of different ways you can reach your business goals through social media.

Using social media marketing and social media management together

Social media management and social media marketing are intrinsically connected, and you should be using both of them to reach different goals. 

Can you imagine launching a social media marketing campaign but not having any online presence? Generating sales and leads through paid ads becomes a lot more difficult when your social media accounts are boring, unengaging or non-existent. 

The reverse is also true: having a solid social media presence with valuable organic content is great, but without paid content, it might not be enough to generate the leads or sales you want. 

These points might help you to plot out your next steps in regard to social media management and social media marketing.

1. Identify your target audience

Who is your audience? What platforms are they using? What kind of content do they find valuable? Identifying your target audience means that you can effectively reach them with on the platforms they’re most frequently using. 

2. Build your presence

Now that you’ve identified your target audience, you can start building up your online presence. Join groups. Follow other accounts that are in the same field as you. Start creating awesome content. And remember to always stay as close to your brand identity as possible and be authentic. Your audience can tell when you’re not being authentic.

3. Create a social media strategy

Create a social media strategy that takes into account your goals and your budget. 

Find out where to start building your strategy in our blog, ‘How to plan a social media strategy’. 

4. Invest in paid advertising 

You’ve created a robust and authoritative online presence. You’ve steadily been able to grow your audience by creating engaging, valuable content. Now it’s time to invest in paid content that can drive the results you want in a short amount of time. This paid content will be backed up by your authoritative online presence.

How do I start social media marketing?

There’s more to social media than just knowing what and when to post. And the best way to understand social media marketing and management is to study a specialist course. 

OC’s 10118NAT Diploma of Social Media Marketing online course has been developed in consultation with social media experts. And, as this is an online course, it means you can study in your spare time—wherever you are. 

In this nationally recognised course, you’ll learn how to create engaging marketing content, how to develop a social media strategy, how to convert followers into customers and much more.  

What are you waiting for? Enrol with OC today and see where a course in social media marketing could take you. 

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Open Colleges
By Open Colleges

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