Social Media vs. Podcasting: Is One Really Better Than the Other?

Everybody has an opinion about what kind of marketing is the best. And so many think they know the magic button solution for all businesses.

If you’ve been around long enough, you’ve probably heard discussions about the virtues of avenues like blogging over video and vice versa. People even argue over platforms to use (or the types of content within the same platform, like whether Reels, Stories, or Posts are best for attracting attention on Instagram).

However, I see this most frequently come up in regards to short-form versus long-form marketing, such as social media versus podcasting. Do you need to do one or the other, or do you need both? Which one is better?

In order to answer those questions for yourself, you need to understand what button you need to press right now to get the results you want for your business model, needs, and personal capacity. And that’s what I want to dig into while using this podcast as an example to showcase what I’m talking about today.

In this episode of The More Profitable Podcast, you’ll learn why so many entrepreneurs struggle with doing either social media or podcasting, the purpose of each, and how they serve my business to help you decide your approach to using these marketing forms. I’ll also reveal why you don’t want to favor nurture over attraction marketing (or vice versa) too much as a service provider.

5:00 – The missing element that causes most people to struggle with either social media or podcasting

7:12 – The role of social media and podcasting and the type of relationship each is best built for

10:03 – How I made an example out of this episode to showcase the difference

13:00 – How the function of each helps you decide how much of each to use based on the business model you have

21:18 – The importance of having a strategic, balanced content plan when using long and short-form marketing like social media and podcasting

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If you've spent any amount of time on the internet, you have seen the discourse, we'll call it, around marketing trends and each expert's magic button that will be the one thing you need to do content-wise. I see this most frequently come up specifically in regards to short form versus long form or social media versus podcasting is how I see it framed a lot. We've had these questions come up in sales calls before: do I hire you or do I hire a social media manager? They are not working with us because they did not like my answer. I want to dig in today to that question, social media or podcasting, which do you need and which can you happily leave behind? Or do you need both? Let's get into it.

Welcome to The More Profitable Podcast with Stacey Harris. I'm Stacey. This is the spot to learn more about the strategies, tactics, and tools you need to build your more profitable podcast. My team and I work every day with podcasters like you to shift shows from frustrating time sucks to productive members of your sales team, because your show should be built to generate and convert leads. So let's get into it.

I want to be clear at the jump that a lot of people aren't going to like my answers today. It's not because I'm going to tell you that podcasting is the perfect solution to never ever again be on social media. In fact, me not saying that is maybe why you won't like this episode.

But what I want to do is I want to talk about instead of putting these two pieces, which by the way, are parallel to each other, they are completely separate, instead of having them in some sort of face-off, I want us to instead dig into the actual role of each so that you can make the decision for yourself because this isn't one of those phone a friend, “Hey, do I really need to do this?” “Man, blow it off,” and then we're done. That's not what this is.

What it is, is about having a more nuanced conversation than a 15-second Reel allows for. It's about us having a conversation that helps you identify what's right for you right now. Because that's the actual tidbit. That's the actual information. That's the actual lesson is that there's not one thing that's better than the other.

There is a benefit and a cost to any kind of marketing we're doing. There's also a role for the kinds of marketing that we do. We've got to understand what levers we need to be pushing now to get the results we want three to six to nine months from now. Because that's the time cycle. That's the payoff.

This podcast episode will generate leads, will generate sales, and will generate conversations not just because of this episode, but because of the episodes before it, because of the investment of time we've had together. What is the thing, what's the lever, what is the button you need to press right now to get the results you want right now for the business model you're in, for the season you're in your business and in your personal capacity? That's what I want to dig into today.

As a reminder, before we dig into that, questions like these, conversations like these are exactly what happen inside the Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable. If you haven't yet joined us for a roundtable, I highly recommend you join us for our next one. We do it in sort of a Q&A format.

I often come in with what I'm talking a lot about, what I want to talk about, what I'm thinking a lot about at the beginning, I almost always have some questions to kick us off which usually result in what I've been thinking about. All of that happens with no replays so you gotta be there live in the Podcasting for Profitability Roundtable. Reserve your seat.

It's absolutely free to join us. You can join us once. You can join us every month. It's totally up to you. But the details are over at uncommonlymore.com/roundtable. There's a link in the place. I hope to see you at our next one. With that, let's dig back in. Let's jump into talking about social media versus podcasting by first talking about the roles of each.

When I'm talking about social media, I'm talking about short-form content. I'm talking about tweets, threads, Instagram Stories, TikToks, Reels, YouTube Shorts, and all of those things. Granted TikTok content is getting longer. It's up to 10 minutes now. I think they're going to be rolling it up to 30 minutes this year, but still, short-form content.

When I'm talking about podcasting, I'm talking about long-form content. Long-form videos on YouTube, Vimeo, or wherever you want to put them. A podcast, a blog, all of these things, long-form content. That's ultimately what we're talking about when we’re talking about social media versus podcasting. Do I have something that I put out more frequently in smaller bites or do I have something that I put out less frequently but in bigger bites? That's ultimately the conversation.

However, the missing element that we haven't mentioned yet is that these pieces actually have different jobs. A lack of understanding around these different jobs is why I think most of us struggle with one or both. I am fortunate enough to spend a lot of time in both and I'm uniquely qualified to talk about this because I spent much of my career specializing in social media marketing.

This podcast was originally built to sell social media management services. Then it evolved into selling courses and a membership where I taught social media marketing through, again, courses, ongoing trainings, live events, and quite frankly, this podcast. Now, we focus more on long-form, we focus more on podcast, well, not more, exclusively, and building out strategic content.

First, I want to dig into the roles of each because the thing I have picked up the most over the last 12 years, my goodness, will be 13 years this year of doing this, that's my lucky number, I'm excited, what I've learned is they have different roles. That's where the frustration comes in.

When we're talking about social media content, when we're talking about short-form content, we're talking about content that is our first impression in most cases. It is the passing by each other in the hall and waving. It is the “Oh, yeah, I know her. She's great,” or, “Oh, this person's new. They're interesting.”

It's not deep. It's not a long-term relationship. It can build into that but you're sort of broadcasting your videos you put out, your Instagram posts, Stories, or whatever are not the meat and potatoes of your value. There's no depth because there's really only so much we can cover in a 30-second Reel in a woman on TikTok, in a 15-second Short, in an Instagram Carousel. There's only so much we can do in those spaces.

When you think about, I mean there are a lot of terms for this, your attract marketing, your top-of-funnel marketing, this is your biggest circle, the widest part of the donut if you want to put it in delicious terms like that. It is the biggest piece of the pie.

It's really helpful in staying visible and staying in front of somebody. It's really helpful in finding new eyeballs. It's really impactful for the shallower relationship. I don't mean that in a “it's meaningless” way. I mean that in the beginning stages.

If we put this in relationship terms, let's put this in friendship terms, when I meet somebody new, I'm getting a vibe, I'm getting a feel, I'm learning about them. I'm at the beginning. I'm not having deep conversations. We're going for drinks, coffee, or whatever and we're talking about what's happening surface-wise in our lives.

Here are my favorite records. This is the fantastic new tech shoe I got. My kid is going to this summer school program, whatever. It's shallow, small-talk kind of conversations. When we talk about our long-form content, in the case of our conversation today, podcasts, that's where we've been friends for a while. I'm not just running into you in the street and waving. I'm stopping and saying, “How's the family?” This is where we nurture.

We attracted them in the social and now we're nurturing that deep relationship. This is where we get to get into nuance. This episode, I did this in a way so as to create an example. I was sitting down to record this episode today. I remembered a TikTok I had seen recently talking about content trends and how in the next 12 months, we're really going to be moving towards away from short-form content and into long-form content.

This particular TikTok reference to the fact that TikTok allowing 30-minute videos was part of the driving factor in that. We've seen people expand their conversations on TikTok podcasts or YouTube videos. Long-form content is really where we're driving back to.

I took issue a little. I was like, “Not really.” Yes, long-form content is important, but it wasn't not important last year and it won't be not important when you decide that short-form content is important again, it's not an either-or. So I did a TikTok, not ditching that, not referencing indirectly but talking about a little bit of what I'm talking about in today's episode, that the two have different roles and how they fit together.

I did honestly for TikTok a long form. I did a two-minute version of that TikTok and that meant it was a short-form version of this episode. This episode is the long-form version of that TikTok. The same content-ish is in both places, but there's a lot more nuance here. There's a lot more explanation here. There's depth and context, but also, because we're going to talk about the “but also” here in a second, I'm able to cover the same thing: social media versus podcasting.

But how it looks and the impacts of it are different. Because on TikTok, I am likely going to be in front of somebody for the first time or somebody doesn't see me for a while. I'm definitely going to be in front of somebody who's not looking to spend 20 minutes talking about this conversation. If they are, when this episode releases, I'll stitch that video and say, “Hey, come here, the longer version of this conversation now.” Maybe you got here through that Tiktok.

But here in this podcast, I get to have the evolved conversation. I get to help you make a decision. I'm not just sort of trying to disrupt what you think about something and maybe get you to ask yourself a question about it. Instead, I'm getting to present you with some things to actually think about, some tools to evaluate what you're doing.

Because when I talk in TikTok about social being for attract and long-form content or podcast content being for the nurture, being for the conversion elements, of our business, of our funnel, however we want to talk about it, I'm just looking to disrupt what you think about it. Here, I'm able to walk you through why and I'm able to do this, but also either of these tools can do both things so I can nurture a relationship with social because again, I'm staying in front of you.

I'm able to attract new ears, eyes, and attention because this podcast is set up strategically to be discoverable via search. Both of these tools will do both jobs. But both of these tools do one of the jobs better than the other. I'm going to attract more than I'm going to nurture with social or with short-form content. I'm going to nurture more than I'm going to attract with long-form or podcast content.

That's where you have to decide for yourself based on the season you're in which levers need to be pulled to what degree. Because if we talk about having 100% capacity and attention, which I don't know anybody who would be comfortable saying that they have 100% capacity and attention set for their marketing, but let's say we've got 100%, I'm terrible at math, we have to make the math hold, let’s say we’ve got 100% available to us, it's not necessarily going to be 50-50 short-form, long-form, 50-50 social or my podcast.

Let's talk through what some of these percentages might look like. If you're somebody like me who's running an agency with long-term retainer contracts being at the center of my business model, I don't actually need to attract all that many people. I don't.

We add, I don't know, 5 to 10 clients a year when we talk about production and intensives. If we're talking about the Profitable Podcaster Mastermind, we maybe take that to 15 to 20 depending on how many people we put in the mastermind in a year, how many cycles we run in a year. But even at the high end in factoring in a small group program, I need 15 new people to say yes to me a year, and quite frankly, they don't all have to be new.

I have intensive clients who do Podcast Strategy Intensives with me two to four times a year. They love that. They don't need the ongoing support. They're happy with their production team. They just need to sit down and do the strategy work. Cool. Not even all of those spots end up being new people. There's a lot of retention. There are a lot of return customers and repeat business.

It's been the cornerstone of my business for almost 13 years now it has existed because it's way easier. I like working with people in depth. I like working with people for a long time. I like partnering with my clients and seeing the ebbs and flows and the evolutions. It delights me and so it's one of the things we really focus on.

What you may have noticed is I do a whole lot more long-form content than I do short-form content. In fact, in 2023, I didn't really post any short-form content the entire second half of the year. Maybe a couple of things here and there. That's it.

We welcome new clients, we ran a whole price increase campaign, all have that. The business still absolutely worked. Why? Because a lot of what I do is nurture. A lot of what I do is retain so I don't really need to attract that many. I also have other attract-ish elements like referrals.

Part of doing so much of this nurture is that even people who don't hire me refer me and refer my team. Our second cohort of the Profitable Podcaster Mastermind was a referral. I didn't even open that to the email list. I sold it to a group before and they were all referrals.

I had to do zero attract. All I did was convert because that referral had sent this group episodes of my podcast, episodes have my nurture tool. The referral person was the attract and the podcast still did its job as the nurture tool. Again, I got to spend a whole lot less time on social, but it's because I had those other pieces. I had something else helping the lift of attract. I build strategic nurture content that helps me attract even at a smaller percentage and a business model that allows for me to not need to attract as many people.

Let's flip this now. Let's go back in the Wayback Machine and go back to a time where I had a membership, which meant I was selling a large amount of small-priced spots. My business model was like a 180 from what my business model is now. I needed to spend a lot of time attracting new eyeballs because I needed new attention to hit my numbers.

I needed a lot more leads so that I could be converting a lot more people into a lower-priced product. That meant I spent a lot more time on social. The podcast still came out. The podcast still existed. The podcast has sold every offer except my very first initial offer and that's because when I launched my business, I was a virtual assistant. I don't know if you know that but I was a virtual assistant. That was the first iteration of my business.

The podcast launching really coincided with me. Not so much not being a VA but narrowing my focus out of admin and into marketing and social media. This podcast and every iteration of it has sold just about every iteration of my business. Every offering except that first admin-based VA stuff has been sold using this podcast.

The nurture was still there even when we sold a membership but I was doing, on top of this podcast, a lot more social, a lot more attract because I needed to get a lot more people in front of me, a lot more people listening to the nurture content that was this podcast, that is this podcast.

So my percentages needed to look different where now, my percentages can easily be, and again, we're making up these numbers for the sake of math, sort of 90-10 long-form to short-form. Back in those days, it was probably a lot closer to 50-50, if not 60-40, 60% being short-form and 40% being the long-form, 60% being that social content and 40% being the podcast content.

But what I want you to notice is that these look absolutely different. Borderline opposite. But because I understood the roles, because I understood my business model, because I understood my business's needs, I'm able to decide for myself where I need to show up and which form or place I need to focus on.

As we moved into 2024, I've been experimenting a lot more with social and playing with it a lot more because I can because I have the capacity to because my long-form content is dialed in. Then I'm able to make decisions based on content plans.

Again, the TikTok I mentioned that I filmed earlier and released today that I am recording this episode is the seed I'm planting so that when this episode comes out, I can stitch that, reshare it, and say, “Hey, this podcast episode is out now. Here's where you go listen to me more in-depth version of this conversation.”

I'm able to do that because I know what podcast content is coming up downstream. Because I know strategically what I'm talking about and when. It's kind of irrelevant where because where is every. I'm not looking at a social plan, a podcast plan, a LinkedIn plan, a podcast guest plan, a blog plan, and a YouTube video, I'm not looking at all of those separately. I'm looking at what is my strategic content plan. Cool. Now how many forms of content can I create around each of these?

This is why in our production clients, we've got clients who do video. For our clients who do videos, we create Reels. For our clients who do audio only, more like this show, we create audio grams, which can be used as Reels. We have our show notes set up so it's really easy for you to turn them into captions to blog posts on LinkedIn like articles where you embed the video. There are so many options for where you can put that stuff and we create that because I want you to be creating long-form content and short-form content that's for each other.

That's what brings us back to this idea of attract and nurture. I can attract to the high heavens. If I don't nurture them, they're never going to convert. I can nurture to the high heavens. If I don't have content strategically built to convert them, I'm going to nurture them into just hanging out with me.

We have circled back to our friend's example except we friend-zoned ourselves in business. As service providers, we have friend-zoned ourselves into the person who gets a DM going, “Hey, I'm thinking about hiring this person who does what you do. Do you like them?” Because I haven't realized that you do that. I just know you know a lot about it. I didn't know I could hire you because we've nurtured too far. We've got to be making sure that this content is built to take them to the next step.

We have to make sure that the social content, the attract content leads to that nurture content, that nurture content is built to strategically nurture them in a direction of conversion, not just make them feel good about spending time with you so that they come back again next week. That's why we want to be doing any and all of this strategically.

This is why seeing a video that says content trends, they do long-form content so you go and launch a YouTube channel or a podcast or start writing articles on LinkedIn, no. This is why that doesn't work. This is why you do that for three months, six months, or a year and you're frustrated and burned out.

The conversation cannot be short-form versus long-form, social media versus podcasting, TikTok versus YouTube. What it has to be is what are the roles of these tools? What are the jobs of these tactics? What are the outcomes of these strategies?

Now strategically, what do I need? Where are my gaps? What do I need for this business to move forward? Now, which of these tactics, tools, and strategies do I want to put together, and what percentages to get me to my outcome? That's the conversation you actually need to be having.

If you'd like to have that conversation with me, I'd love to have it. We've got spots open now for our Podcast Strategy Intensives. I'm super stoked to get rolling into these in the next couple of months. We were focusing on the mastermind and we closed out last year focusing on production. I'm really excited to have some calendar time available again for these intensives and I cannot wait to sit down with you.

If you head on over to uncommonlymore.com/intensive, you can learn all about what happens. It breaks up into two sessions. I've actually got a podcast episode where we talked to Monica who went through this with me, so I will throw a link to that in the show notes as well so you can hear more about what happens in the intensives, and of course, there'll be a link in the show notes to book a chat with me to make sure it's a good fit, to make sure that this is the right next step for you, to make sure that we're not just having a shiny-object conversation but a “Here are my goals and here's how I get there” conversation. Yes, yes, yes. Book that time, again, uncommonlymore.com/intensive. I will see you next week.

Thanks so much for listening to this show. Remember that content consumption does not make changes, so commit to doing something from today's episode. Maybe it's taking action on what we talked about. Maybe it's reaching out to me and learning more about Podcast Strategy Intensives or what podcast production looks like with our team. All of that is over at uncommonlymore.com.

If you haven't yet signed up for The Podcast Newsroom, I want to remind you that is a great next step. If you're not really sure what comes next, hang out over there. Get those exclusive private episodes. That's over at podcastnewsroom.com. The last favor I will ask, because social proof is endlessly important for sure, is to leave a rating and review for the show. If you go to ratethispodcast.com/more, that's the easiest way to do it. But I would love to hear what you thought of the show, what you think of the show, and if the show has been helpful for you. I can't wait to chat with you. This is just the start of the conversation. Reach out so we can keep it going. Talk soon.

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