Social Media vs Social Networking

A lot of times, social media and social networking are used interchangeably. However, there is a stark difference between the two. Understanding such difference becomes crucial because only then you can use them at their fullest and let them impact your brand positively. If you are looking to develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy, you have to know why social media and social networking are not the same. 

In this article, we will explore some of the major distinguishable features between the two and understand why such a distinction is necessary. Read on: 

1. Introduction: 

Introduction of Social Media vs Social Networking

Social Media: This includes different forms of electronic communication through which users typically create online communities. Moreover, social media is used to share information, personal messages, content such as images and videos, ideas, and so much more. To put it simply, social media uses the internet and mobile technologies to encourage dialogue. Social media lets people participate in online social networking. 

Social Networking: Social networks can be online or offline. The term implies the creation of relationships (professional or personal) online and the maintenance thereof. Social networking has a social structure and comprises of people who share similar interests. In short, social networks are dedicated websites or applications that validate users and encourages them to exchange ideas and information with the help of the internet. 

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2. Communication: 


Social Media: The user communicates everything through images, videos, white papers, infographics, and so on to generate engagement with followers. This is done with the end goal of boosting interactions and encouraging the audience to take the desired Calls To Actions (CTAs). 

Social Networking: This is usually a give-and-take relationship. If the user is a part of a community, they have to post about their brand and listen to others talk about themselves. Social networking means you have to engage with others too. 

3. End goals: 

Social Media: With social media, the bottom line is lead generation and data acquisition. It takes place with the end goal of increasing sales for eCommerce. 

Social Networking: On the other hand, social networking focuses on building and fostering relationships with the audience. 

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4. Type of content: 

Social Media: The user can post anything on social media – from images, videos, infographics to other content with high utility. The main focus of content should be to generate interest and buzz from the followers. 

Social Networking: The quality of content typically is rich and includes conversations and questions. The tone is generally informative whilst forming connections with others. 

5. Efforts needed: 

Social Media: With the use of automation, brands can schedule posts ahead in time and manage their time effectively. 

Social Networking: There is no shortcut for engagement on social networking. To build relationships, a fair amount of time, and other resources need to be invested. It can be said that social networking is time-consuming. 

6. Benefits: 

Social Media: While benefits cannot be oversimplified, it can be said that social media makes it easier for a brand to build their presence online and attract interaction and attention from audiences across the globe. Moreover, since it has a plethora of functions, it tends to fulfill the needs of different kinds of people. 

Social Networking: Whereas, social networking aims for meaningful conversations and organic feedback. It aims at helping the user build long-lasting relationships with their peers. 

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7. Disadvantages: 

Social Media: It often gets difficult to get feedback on social media since the interaction level is lower as compared to social networking. Additionally, meaningful content can be lost because of the presence of spam. 

Social Networking: Since it focuses on building relationships, it is only logical that it takes time to build such relations and interactions with others. 

8. Returns: 

Social Media vs Social Networking

Social Media: Measurement of success can be done in the form of increased engagement, an increase in the number of followers, an increase in sales, and so on. Analytics help in understanding the kind of returns that can be attributed to social media. It is important to note that since goals are different for each brand, measurement of returns will be different too and may not be as direct. 

Social Networking: This usually has a direct response and it is comparatively easier to calculate returns based on the increase of followers in the user’s social network. 


We are living in a digital age. It is very difficult to imagine life without social media, social networks, and the internet. It is also pretty challenging for a brand to sustain in this ever-changing, competing world without a solid web presence. When the methods and channels of communication evolve, so should the brands and their strategies. It should not be forgotten that we live in a dynamic world. 

Social media and social networking are both important tools in any marketing strategy and they should be used to their full potential. Once the challenges they posed are overcome, it becomes easier to benefit your brand due to their essential features. 

We hope this Social Media vs Social Networking article has helped you gain a clear idea about the two. What are you waiting for? Take your business forward effectively with this newfound information! Thank you for reading and all the best! 

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