If you’re looking for marketing techniques to create long-term brand loyalty or launch your company as the preferred brand in a competitive environment, you’ll want to use “social marketing” techniques that have proven to create long-term behavioral change. The terms “social media” and “social marketing” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Social marketing is a marketing strategy, while social media is a marketing channel or tactic. Social media is used in a social marketing campaign to engage a target audience in making behavioral changes and reaching the goals of the social marketing campaign.
The Differences Between Social Media and Social Marketing
Social media is a communications channel. The most popular channels are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter. These channels are used to promote a brand through ongoing engagement and online conversations. It’s a common tactic used by marketers – and can also be used to help execute social marketing campaigns. Social media is a tool – one that requires a strategy behind it to be used effectively. That’s where social marketing comes in.
Social marketing is also referred to as behavior change marketing because its goal is to change or maintain a person’s behavior for the benefit of the individual or community as a whole. Most people remember the Crying Indian ad in the 1970s that was used for the Keep America Beautiful social marketing campaign. That campaign used television, billboards, and the potential for a ticket for tossing out litter on the highways as an intervention to change behavior. Another example of social marketing is the Stop Smoking campaigns that started in the 1990s. These campaigns were effective in showing the damage that smoking can do to your body and successfully changed behaviors of millions of people, by using TV and print ads to show photos and videos of unhealthy long-time smokers. Today, social marketing campaigns use a variety of TV, print and social media channels to communicate their behavioral change messages.
Using Social Marketing Techniques
If you are looking to change the behavior of your target audience to purchase your product, service, become a fan, or promote your organization, you can utilize social science that is the essence of social marketing. A successful social marketing campaign will provide you a deeper understanding of your target audiences behavior, demographics, and psychographics, which will allow you to hone your message to reach your target’s psyche and create a platform for long-term success.
Social marketing campaigns are organized into four stages: (1) understanding the target audience including the barriers to change (or make a decision) and the motivations that can encourage behavior change; (2) message development and testing; (3) outreach and interventions; and (4) evaluation.
After phase 1, personas are developed to simulate the various members of your target audience. These personas are critical to the development of your communications platforms and messaging. The next step is to create and test messaging to resonate with the target audiences. In this phase, you should use in-person or digital focus groups to test your messages with real people. When creating the messaging you have to consider all the triggers that are needed for someone to make a change, which includes the pleasure/pain points people go through when trying to make the desired change. The easiest technique to use is to develop messaging that frames the desired change as fun, easy and popular. Research in human psychology shows that people are more likely to adopt behaviors that they perceive to be fun (i.e. beneficial to them – what’s in it for me?), easy to accomplish (break it down into smaller steps) and popular (other people are doing it too).
Once the messaging has been tested and approved, it’s time to develop your marketing communications plan and define what channels will reach your target audiences most cost-effectively.
The last step in any marketing campaign is an evaluation. Ultimately, you will evaluate overall performance (i.e. how many people took the desired action) after the campaign ends, but you should also be A/B testing your messaging and channels throughout the duration. This real-time monitoring will allow you to pivot your message and tactical platforms quickly to achieve your desired results.
If you are looking for a deeper relationship with your target audiences and want to use systemic behavioral change techniques to build market share for your brand, contact me at email@example.com get started!