Social Media Vs. Social Networking

Social Media Vs. Social Networking: What’s The Difference?

This is not a trick question, and yes these are two separate entities.

You may have thought you could use social media and social networking interchangeably, however they are two different animals.

Think of it as a parent-child relationship.  

They have different personalities, likes, and even opinions. The child was raised by the parent so they pick up many of their traits. Eventually, the child grows up and becomes their own person. As they detach from each other, you have to understand each one distinctively in order to communicate successfully. If you don’t it could cause ineffective communication and disengagement from others.

Social media and social networking are similar in that they both have unique challenges and approaches and may get mixed up from time to time. Before you can know how to properly use these for your business let’s define them and establish their differences.

What is Social Media?

Social media is composed of websites and applications that help individuals stay in contact with loved ones or helps businesses market their services and interact with their audience. Social media creates connections quickly through different applications such as Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Facebook, and many more.

These platforms are used to facilitate shared content including pictures, video, and copy. They’re also where businesses can promote their services, start new projects, and interact with their online community.

What is Social Networking?

Social Networking is the act of creating and nourishing online relationships where people with similar viewpoints connect with each other to generate, develop, and nurture relationships online, sometimes for a long period of time.

Businesses and individuals alike can expand connections using Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. Social networking can grow with a simple click of the “like” button or creating a vegan Facebook group where you can share recipes and content related to the vegan life.

Social Media Vs. Social Networking: Communication Styles 

Social media takes a different approach to communication. You do all the work including writing blogs and creating emails. You want to create engagement with your audience that leads to an action or interaction with your brand or services.

Social networking is a two-way street. You do some work then you listen to others, meaning everyone writes blogs, sends messages, and actively engages in creating insightful conversations. Sometimes others can share content with you and other times you can create a post that resonates with others. Because there are so many opportunities within social networking you do not want to yap yourself away from opportunities to connect or enhance your brand connections.

Social Media Vs. Social Networking: Goals Distinctions

Social media strives to create excitement and interaction in order to achieve a goal mainly related to sales.

Social networking’s goals are completely opposite. The goal behind social networking is to cultivate more followers and friends and nourish those relationships continually.

For your B2B company, it may be confusing to figure out which one would work best for your business.

 Online social networking wouldn’t exist without social media, that’s why it is important to have both. Social media is your lead generation and social networking is your lead nurturing. You start by building your clientele with social media and use social networking to maintain those loyal and intimate connections with clients.

Social Media Vs. Social Networking: Content Differences

Content for social media is aimed at driving engagement. It isn’t as simple as posting a short tweet or adding hashtags. To optimize connections and actions, you need to share videos, infographics, blogs, and images that will compel your audience to act.

Did you frump your eyebrows at infographics? No worries, read our blog on infographics to familiarize yourself with its meaning and benefits.

Social networking, on the other hand, uses rich and profound conversations to connect with others. 

This could look like asking your connections what they think about your post, or reposting a comment from a follower and leaving a genuine comment underneath the photo. It‘s small actions like these that create profound discussions and deepen online relationships.

Can Different Things Mix?

Social media and social networking can, of course, intertwine with each other. It is important to use them differently as they both “make” their own results. Social media caters to short term results and social networking is like a marathon. It takes a little bit of time.

Wayward Kind specializes in taking our time in cultivating human connections that create organic conversations and engagement.

Let’s create purposeful relationships.


We can help you master your digital marketing strategy with CRO tips. Our team of strategists are experts at understanding you and your audience. Whether it’s setting up Google Analytics, or creating great landing pages, Wayward Kind is all about action. Ready to convert to a mindful marketing strategy? Contact us today!