Difference Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization (With Table)

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

Social Media Marketing vs Social Media Optimization

The main 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 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 different processes, even though the end goal of both is the same, i.e., to promote your brand/product/service.


Comparison Table Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Optimization


The activities of social media marketing take place outside the website.

Social Media Optimization is more website oriented.


It takes place on social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.

It takes place on the website or the location where the traffic is to be directed.


It involves publicizing your brand through blogs, advertisements, etc. on social media platforms.

It involves the modification of content and optimizing it to enhance the performance of social media marketing efforts and gain the audience’s attention.


It takes place after Social Media Optimization.

It takes place before Social Media Marketing.


It was introduced on July 3, 1986.

It was introduced in 2006.

Founded by

It was founded by Peter “Pistol Pete” Rollock.

It was founded by Rohit Bhargava.


What is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing refers to the process of promoting the brand/product/service by the utilization of social media platforms. It was developed on July 3, 1986, by Peter Rollock. This method of marketing was designed to create a better relationship with the customers and potential customers because most of them were active users of social media platforms.

These social media platforms enable brands to share their content and create engagements. This method of marketing became a necessity for brands as the industries started to move towards customer-centricity. The goals of social media marketing are increasing community engagement, generation of sales and lead, growing website traffic, handling feedback, and monitoring competitors. Some of the essential tools of Social Media Marketing are brand – user communication, 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.


What is Social Media Optimization?

Social Media Optimization was coined by Rohit Bhargava 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 that happen in the world of social media.

Rohit Bhargava gave five rules for Social Media Optimization, which increase your linkability, making tagging and bookmarking smooth, rewarding inbound links, facilitate content travel, promote mashing up. There were more rules added on 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 a lot of people.  

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, he/she can easily share the content. It involves decreasing the number of steps that the user needs to take to share your content with his/her social media profiles.

Main Differences Between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Optimization

  1. Social Media Marketing was introduced in 1986 that is way before than social media optimization, which is a reasonably new term introduced in 2006.
  2. Social Media Marketing it more about off-site endeavors 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 later 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 the activities of social media marketing can be successful.
  5. Social Media Marketing’s primary goal is to create engagements and increase conversion rates. In contrast, the primary purpose of Social Media Optimization is to assist efforts of social media marketing and create eye-catching content strategies.  



Even though Social Media Optimization was introduced way later than Social Media Marketing, it is quite essential for the success of the later. The two processes are complementary but now the same.

Social Media Marketing (SMM) is more about promotional activities and creating brand awareness, along with engagement with the audience. In contrast, Social Media Optimization (SMO) assists the efforts of Social Media Marketing. It is similar to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Like SEO enables better ranking on search engines, SMO enables the marketing activities of SMM to perform better by the refinement of content.

SMO is more about creating content strategically so that the attention of the audience can be gained. It is also focused on enabling smooth sharing of content from the primary source to other social media platforms.

The best use of Social Media Marketing can be made with the help of Social Media Optimization.


  1. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/dlo.2011.08125cae.002/full/html
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305048315001176