Social vs Social Media Optimization: Difference and Comparison

Social Media Marketing (SMM) promotes your content on various social media platforms, including Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. It is a step taken after Social Media Optimization is done.

Key Takeaways

  1. Social media marketing involves promoting products and services on social platforms, while social media optimization focuses on improving a brand’s presence and visibility.
  2. Social media marketing includes paid advertising, content creation, and audience engagement, while social media optimization primarily involves optimizing profiles, keywords, and content for search engines.
  3. Social media marketing aims to drive sales and leads directly, while social media optimization enhances organic reach and discoverability.

Social Media Marketing vs Social Media Optimization

The difference between social media marketing and social media optimization is that Social Media Marketing takes your content outside your website, enabling a broad audience to view it. Still, Social Media Optimization is the changes made to your content on the site so that the social media performance of the content increases.

Social media marketing vs Social media optimization

Social Media Optimization (SMO) is like Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the process followed to optimize the content you post on social media so that your content can be promoted.

Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization work hand in hand but are two different terms having two other processes, even though both end goals are the same, i.e., to promote your brand/product/service.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonSocial Media MarketingSocial Media Optimization
ScopeThe activities of social media marketing take place outside the website.Social Media Optimization is more website oriented.
PlatformIt occurs on social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.It takes place on the website or where the traffic will be directed.
ProcessIt involves publicizing your brand through blogs, advertisements, etc., on social media platforms.It involves modifying content and optimizing it to enhance the performance of social media marketing efforts and gain the audience’s attention.
PrecedenceIt takes place after Social Media Optimization.It takes place before Social Media Marketing.
IntroductionIt was introduced on July 3, 1986.It was introduced in 2006.
Founded byPeter “Pistol Pete” Rollock founded it.Rohit Bhargava founded it.


What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing refers to the process of promoting the brand/product/service through the utilization of social media platforms. It was developed on July 3, 1986, by Peter Rollock.

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This marketing method was designed to create a better relationship with the customers and potential customers because most were active social media platform users.

These social media platforms enable brands to share their content and create engagements. This marketing method became a necessity for brands as the industries started to move towards customer-centricity.

Social media marketing goals are increasing community engagement, generating sales and leads, growing website traffic, handling feedback, and monitoring competitors. Some essential tools of Social Media Marketing are brand–user communication and performance analytics.

The success of Social Media Marketing is measured using engagement rates, which include the number of likes, comments, shares, followers, etc. The real success of Social Media Marketing happens when the content on social media can increase conversion rates.

social media marketing

What is Social Media Optimization?

Rohit Bhargava coined Social Media Optimization in his blog post in 2006. It is similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It includes refining the content and constantly updating and accommodating the changes in the world of social media.

Rohit Bhargava gave five rules for Social Media Optimization: increase your linkability, make tagging and bookmarking smooth, reward inbound links, facilitate content travel, and promote mashing up. More rules were added later; one of them is rewarding the valuable users.

He then renamed these five rules to create better content. One of the goals of Social Media Optimization is to reward users.

The brands must utilize Social Media Optimization by continually putting out valuable content and optimizing it to make it readily available to many people.  

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Thus, the primary process of Social Media Optimization is to make your website social media friendly. This is necessary so that if any reader or user likes the content you put on your website, they can easily share the content.

It involves decreasing the number of steps that the user needs to take to share your content with their social media profiles.

social media optimization

Main Differences Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization

  1. Social Media Marketing was introduced in 1986, before social media optimization, a reasonably new term introduced in 2006.
  2. Social Media Marketing is more about off-site endeavours to promote the brand. It is focused on social media platforms. Social Media Optimization is more focused on on-site efforts to facilitate a smooth flow of content.
  3. Social Media Marketing takes place after Social Media Optimization has been done, as the latter enables a free flow of content across various social media platforms.
  4. Social Media Marketing is about promoting the brand on social media sites. In contrast, Social Media Optimization is about accommodating changes on the website to ensure that social media marketing activities can be successful.
  5. Social Media Marketing aims to create engagements and increase conversion rates. In contrast, Social Media Optimization aims to assist marketing efforts and create eye-catching content strategies.  
Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization


Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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23 thoughts on “Social vs Social Media Optimization: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The comparison table is very helpful for understanding the scope and process of Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization.

  2. The comparative analysis between SMM and SMO effectively highlights their respective processes and introductions, offering a comprehensive understanding of the two strategies.

  3. The incorporation of Rohit Bhargava’s rules for Social Media Optimization is an intriguing addition to the article, enhancing our grasp of SMO principles.

    • Yes, Bhargava’s rules provide actionable guidelines for optimizing content on social media platforms.

    • The mention of Bhargava’s rules underscores the importance of valuable content creation and optimization in SMO strategies.

  4. The explanation of the goals and tools of Social Media Marketing is highly informative and valuable for marketers striving to leverage social media effectively.

  5. The article effectively navigates the main differences between SMM and SMO, providing a lucid understanding of their unique roles in digital marketing.

  6. The historical context behind SMM and SMO is intriguing and enriches our understanding of these digital marketing practices.

  7. The article’s elucidation of the goals and metrics for gauging the success of Social Media Marketing is insightful and thought-provoking.

  8. I appreciate the historical context provided for SMM and SMO, shedding light on the evolution of digital marketing practices over the years.

    • Yes, understanding the history and founding of these concepts enhances our appreciation for their significance in modern marketing.

  9. This article provides a comprehensive comparison between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization, making it easy to understand the differences between the two strategies.

  10. While SMM and SMO have similar end goals, understanding their nuanced differences is crucial for implementing effective digital marketing strategies.


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