Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

What is the difference between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing and what is their role in SEO?

It seems like Social Media is taking over the world. The average smart phone facebook user checks their account a staggering 14 times a day, with 79% of users logging within the first 15 minutes of waking up. So what is the real difference between Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is content created for people to read/view/listen to in order to create the desired response (normally a lead, a purchase, an enquiry). Offline examples are content in magazines or newspapers, the interaction is between the content and the reader and this is presumed enough to create the desired response. It is planned, it is targeted, it is sometimes shared between readers but the key (I believe) is that the conversion success is kept between the content and the reader.

Social Media is content designed to evoke discussion, opinions, interaction between ‘the masses’. It is less structured (although planned) as once it is in the social hemisphere it is largely down the public where and how it takes its journey. This is why small businesses often find it difficult to create a return on investment from social media alone – if what they are selling is not a discussion topic, it is unlikely to succeed in social media.

This is not to say there is a massive cross over between each type and they certainly are not clearly defined as content can easily become socially shared and social can become content that provokes a direct reaction.

Their role in SEO is in my opinion both as important as each other. Shareable content and readable content with good links and structure will create positive results in the search engines. The restrictions are more down to whether a social marketing campaign would be successful with the content that is being shared. If content is just uploaded and not shared, perhaps a more content marketing approach would be more successful for SEO.