#PRSSANC: Social Marketing Isn’t Social Media; It’s Bigger

So, I may have gone into this session thinking it was going to be about social media (my one true love), but I came out with an understanding of what social marketing is and why it matters. Fran Bernhard of Ketchum gave an incredible presentation on the value of changing behavior. 

Don’t confuse social marketing with social media. Social Marketing is an application of marketing principles that we use to sell products to consumers to “sell” ideas, attitudes, and behaviors. It became a formal discipline in 1971. Today, social marketing is practiced globally. It is heavily theory based on how to change behavior. images

Research is important in all communications aspects, but it is especially important in social marketing.

  • Formative research
  • Audience segmentation
    • Beyond gender, race demographics to attitudes, behaviors.

Materials development have to look and feel like your target audience, or else no one will pay attention.

Media used is usually non-traditional vehicles. We have all seen the PSAs and billboards asking us to change something we are doing.

An important way to get the word out about the change in behavior is to engage partners. You want partners to be key people and organizations throughout the community. Partners give you access, credibility, resources, qualifications and excitement.

Like any other campaign, evaluation is the final step. You have to be able to measure whether or not any campaign was successful, especially something as important as a social marketing campaign.

Keys to Effective Outreach

  • Reaching people on grassroots level.imgres
    • Reach individuals one on one.
    • Ask how they would react in focus groups.
  • Know what trusted channels reach hard to reach audiences.
  • Speak the language of your audience.
    • Reaching Diverse Audiences
      • By 2050, almost half of US population with be non-white
      • And non-traditional
      • Reaching the hard to reach
        • Low-income
        • Rural
        • Seniors
  • You want to have people know what to do
    • Call to Action

What do you think? Tell me what your favorite social marketing campaign has been over the years. Mine? The anti-abuse campaign for children.



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