Though “Social Media Networking” and “Social Media Marketing” may seem like the same thing, they are quite different.  The first and foremost difference between the two is that social media networking is the active practice of trying to form groups of communities with the same likes and interests.  They are often times trying to acquire new customers to their brand’s services or product by utilizing existing customers, or by searching out and using social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

Social Media Networking also includes the ability to build brand awareness, so that a thought, a sense of being, or even a lifestyle may spread easier.  When people begin talking with their friends, a firms “brand” is being judged and valued between those individuals.  This network of communication can then spread across to different companies, as well as customers enriching the companies brand.

The downside to Social Media Network is the fact that there are often times no quantifiable measures of success.  The main objective is to reach out and get a hold of as many people as possible.  This may be a strategy used for some businesses, however, I would think that most businesses would want a way to measure their returns on investments, as well as see an increase of sales that they can actually see.

Social media marketing, on the other hand, is actively advertising on social media platforms to those who are already customers, or who are already actively searching out for products and services you may be offering.  As a company, you are either actively trying to retain current customers and have them continue buying your products and services, or you are simply marketing to a new target market.  In other words, you have a strategy that you believe can reach your target market and build a lasting relationship.  This relationship then becomes a company’s “bottom line.”  Once a company has loyalty from their customers, word of mouth begins, and the company is then able to obtain even more relationships.

The whole thing between networking and marketing essentially boils down to the objectives of the company. Do they want to have as many friends as they can possibly get, or do they want to obtain meaningful relationships that they can obtain a measurable goal