Social media and email marketing have a lot in common. The two fall under digital marketing; thus, there is an inevitable overlap between them. However, they have different engagement mechanisms and effectiveness to reach the desired goals.
Email marketing doesn’t come under social media marketing. It doesn’t involve group social interactions as a means to reach the target audience. Furthermore, in contrast to social media marketing, email marketing is highly tailored and customized according to individual interests and inclinations.
First, let’s start with the definition of each term before we analyze their differences.
Email Marketing vs Social Media Marketing
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a strategy that involves sending emails to promote products or services, build relationships, or enhance brand awareness.
The primary objective of email marketing is to foster loyalty and boost customer engagement through personalized content. When promoting offers, email marketing is one of the most effective strategies.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social Media Marketing (SMM) entails using platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to promote products or services and engage customers.
This includes content creation and sharing, audience engagement, metric tracking, and advertising. Social media marketing allows businesses to interact with their target audience.
Why Email Marketing Is Not Social Media Marketing
Email marketing has been described as the backbone of the customer journey because it helps to build relationships and convert prospects into customers.
Although email marketing is used alongside social media marketing, it is separate from SMM due to the following key differences.
1. Community Building
Social media creates communities and a sense of belonging among followers.
Brands can leverage the power of discussions, debates, and user-generated content to create an engaged and informed customer base.
You can create social media pages or groups to build your community and increase engagement by responding to comments and participating in conversations.
On the other hand, email marketing barely builds communities or facilitates conversations between users. It is a more direct, one-to-one interaction between the brand and the individual customer.
The only way to create a sense of community with email marketing is by adding links to the company’s social media pages in your emails.
The links direct customers to social media pages to engage and interact with other users.
Unlike email marketing, social media platforms offer open communication between brands and customers.
You can ask questions, solicit feedback, or address customer issues on your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, TikTok, or Instagram page.
This allows you to build trust and loyalty among your target audience.
The ability to like, share, repost, react, and comment lets you interact with customers more openly. Other users can also see the conversations and join in.
Email marketing is not an open forum for customers to post views or engage with other users.
The only way to interact with customers through email is by sending out messages and responding to their queries via email.
Social media gives your audience some freedom and control over the conversation. It’s much easier to engage customers on social media than to rely on them to respond to your emails.
While email and social media aim to engage users with relevant content, email marketing generally leans towards targeted, personalized messaging, which caters to individual recipients.
Email marketers meticulously segment their subscriber lists and use targeted autoresponders to send messages that elicit a higher engagement rate.
You segment your audience according to demographics, interests, or behavior. This allows you to create different campaigns and send tailored messages to targeted customers.
On the other hand, social media is better suited for reaching a broader audience with generic messages. Personalizing the content on such a vast scale and tracking customer engagement is challenging.
In contrast, social media marketing provides broad messaging to the masses, targeting general demographics or interests without the refined personalization that email marketing offers.
Although social media adverts can be targeted, they’re not as personal as an email sent to a specific customer.
4. Interests Identification
Identifying customer interests takes more work on social media than email marketing. Email marketing allows businesses to track open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
These metrics provide accurate information about their audience’s preferences, thus enabling targeted messaging.
Social media metrics primarily focus on likes, shares, and other engagement indicators, which may not accurately reflect individual interests.
The only way to identify customer interests is by tracking the activity of individual users on social media.
In SMM, you should pay close attention to which content resonates with your customers and use it to curate future posts.
Because of the open nature of social media platforms, it is hard to ensure that all the posts reach their intended audience.
For example, many factors on Twitter determine whether a post will be seen. It is impossible to guarantee that your posts are delivered to the right people.
It is estimated that only 2 in 1000 followers will see your social media posts. Unless you are a big brand or have an impressive following, it is unlikely that all your posts will be seen.
Unlike SMM deliverability which is algorithm-driven, email delivery is more consistent.
Email providers like Gmail and Outlook deliver your emails directly to the subscribers’ inboxes without any interference from algorithms. This ensures that almost all your emails reach their intended destinations.
Emails’ open rate varies based on subject lines, content, and sender reputation, among other factors. You can quickly improve your email open rate by optimizing these elements.
While email marketing is a standalone channel, social media marketing requires a combination of multiple channels.
For effective SMM, your brand needs to create posts for different platforms—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Each platform has rules and algorithms that determine the visibility of your posts. You should also manage followers from different networks to maximize reach and engagement.
This may be time-consuming and can require a lot of resources.
Although there are different email marketing providers, you do not need to create separate campaigns for each platform. You can send an email from Gmail to Yahoo or any other medium and vice versa.
Analyzing the performance of a social media marketing campaign is often complicated and time-consuming.
To begin with, you need to track metrics across multiple channels and platforms to measure ROI.
For example, to know your overall performance on Facebook, you must track metrics such as impressions, reach, clicks, and conversions.
You must also analyze each channel’s performance to understand which drives the most conversions.
In email marketing, there are few metrics to track. You can easily monitor open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and conversions.
This makes it much easier to track ROI and optimize campaigns promptly.
Verdict: Does Email Marketing Qualify as Social Media?
Although email marketing is integral to any digital marketing strategy, it is not a substitute for social media.
While email marketing provides more personalized messaging and high deliverability, social media offers opportunities for community building and open communication.
Both channels should be part of any digital marketing strategy to reach the maximum number of customers.
Email marketing provides targeted messages and measures ROI with fewer metrics. However, it offers a different organic reach and engagement level than social media marketing.
Subsequently, email marketing does not qualify as a form of social media marketing.