Websites vs. Social Media: What’s the Difference?

Although reaching customers through social media was once considered a flash-in-the-pan marketing tactic, industry leaders have changed their tune and now preach a common belief: social media marketing is absolutely a necessity. However, websites are still a healthy routine for brands to maintain.

So, what’s the difference?

Both websites and social media channels are sought after for information. The difference is in the type of information consumers expect to find on each platform.

Let’s start at the heart of the matter.

  • Google’s mission:to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” 
  • Facebook’s mission: “give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected.”

These missions share an ideal that information and connection are powerful, but the intended audiences are very different.

Google is about the world, as a whole; it was engineered to provide information, via robots (aka, an algorithm).

Facebook is about people, as individuals, and as human beings. Facebook utilizes algorithmic testing as well, but human response and emotion are the measurements, while Google’s uses robots.

These two core beliefs are the foundation of the Internet as we know it today.

More differences:

  • Websites convey a brand’s makeup, from specific products and services to mission statements and contact pages. On the other hand, social media offers smaller pieces of a brand’s story while creating conversations with consumers.
  • Websites could be, to some degree, considered static novels, waiting to be opened. Social media channels are short stories that are compiled in real time, to identify [and distinguish] a brand’s voice, culture, and place in the market.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two, is that social media platforms have the capacity to perform nearly every function a website can.

On the flip side, websites are not usually known for customer reviews, continued conversations, or even a warm body on the other side of the screen, so to speak. 

Maybe now the question is: what’s next? We’ll leave that one to the engineers; in the meantime, we’ll be moving steadily ahead with digital trends.

Brands, Consumers Shift From Search To Social

Even we, as self-proclaimed social enthusiasts and diehard supporters of the industry, weren’t expecting to see this kind of science. Not yet anyways. However, in the wise words of one of our favorite philosophers:

“Numbers don’t lie, check the scoreboard.”

Shareaholic reported that in Q4 of 2014, 31.24% of all website traffic was driven from social media.

Although the idea of the demise of Facebook is alive and well, so is the company’s resilience. Along with StumbleUpon, Facebook was the only platform(s) to grow its traffic share in Q4 of 2014. On top of that, Facebook’s 24.63% share of traffic minimizesPinterest’s 5.06% impact. Twitter, surprisingly, only holds .82% share.

You can dive more in to Shareaholic’s data-driven report here.

So, we just have one question for all the C-level marketing execs out there, not taking social seriously: When is enough, enough? Google’s founders are on record saying that one of their biggest regrets was not anticipating the rise of social. Now, there are traffic numbers that are not only growing year over year, they’re capturing the space. This is not to mention the fact that a single platform, which happens to be social, owns 25% of all website traffic.

With this post, note that we are in no way suggesting that search is dead. The only hope is that the social media industry will, at some point, be valued and respected the way search is, because it deserves to be. It is the ultimate in communicative marketing.

We’re going to leave you with this quote from Monica Dimperio:

“Gone are the days of Sterling Cooper & Partners. The new Don Drapers are digital natives who can pull off a multichannel influencer activation with an offline component in their sleep.
These folks have adopted [digital platforms] from the get-go, so they know the content, curation and influencers to work with. Soon, that will include paid media. These people will get you results because, frankly, they know things you don’t.”