The shortest answer… YES!

Many conversations and articles on “social marketing” in the past 2 years have inspired me to think about and pay attention to the way people view its definition. And all too often, I notice that social marketing and social media are used synonymous.  Though Social Media is a wonderful resource for businesses, it is JUST that.

Then what exactly is Social Marketing?

Social marketing is the promotion of brands, beliefs or behaviors that have the opportunity and ability to make a measurable and substantial difference in societies. Often thought of as “cause marketing” or “marketing for good”; social marketing really is not about the use of social media, but is about changing the way people think, act and become motivated to create a positive change that is good for people and good for the planet.

Many health behavior change models & promotions and cause marketing campaigns… like the ever famous “TRUTH” campaign that was done by the American Legacy Foundation for youth-focused anti-tobacco education…fall under the umbrella of social marketing. There are many more to call out- but I think you get the point.

Since the rise of use and prominence of social media in the business and marketing world—this has been a challenge for us to overcome when explaining what we do. Though, we certainly are fluent in integrating social media into our planning and execution process for most social marketing campaigns, it is not the only element.

We use an integrated process of “marketing social impact” techniques and evidence based approaches of human behavior change models to implement success into our marketing campaigns.

So where does Social Media come in?

Over the past few years and in recent marketing campaigns, we have integrated highly productive social media efforts into our process to create success. Creating the backdrop through traditional media, creative messaging and great “ground game” efforts are the starting point. Then, with some extensive research, planning and messaging strategies- the social media component launches. Measurable added success comes from this technique.

The use of social media to blow out social marketing campaigns, in our opinion, is even better received than simply using social media for another “non-social” business model. Sure, increasing brand awareness and other promotions benefits from social media, however, when it comes to social brands, the ability to cross reference the social business venture, its product or service being offered and most importantly—the impact it is making—completes the circle of success. Incorporating the use of technology allows for significant increase of awareness, support and participation of certain initiatives. Everyone has personal feelings and connections to certain “for-good” initiatives, so get them involved! What better way than online, since that is where most people spend their time…AND it is economic for your budget. So…No, social marketing and social media marketing are NOT the same thing… but Yes, social media is a brilliant addition to the world of social marketing.