Social marketing removes the barriers that marketers and sales people have been actively addressing since the beginning of time.

As a marketer I am certain you have heard that the average customer requires 7 exposures to your product before they begin to consider the purchase. As such social marketing is an excellent vehicle to facilitate that repetition of exposure – through friends’ conversations, through sharing resource links, and through ‘layered’ trust.

I was reading a supplementary report today about Social Marketing (this one from the purists). You likely don’t need it, but you can pick up your own copy free at Turning Point (from the Social Marketing National Excellence Collaborative).

To be clear, if you’re an online marketer or entrepreneur you might not know what I mean by ‘purist’ so allow me to explain. The purists state they coined the phrase social marketing and as such they own it. Their focus is marketing (online or off) to facilitate public health awareness and change.

An example may be anit-smoking campaigns. For years in North America it was cool to smoke. Eventually doctors, grandmothers, politicians, and other influencers told the world that it was bad for us, but it was only after years of educating the population of the dangers, celebrities and other role models spoke out, advertising and other media was ‘corrected’, that smoking became absolutely ‘not cool’. For examples of using social marketing for health, follow along at americanlegacy.org

Back to the report I was reading…

Three Basic Social Marketing Concepts

It’s clearly stated (and I agree) that you don’t have to be some marketing genius to succeed with social marketing. There are three basic concepts, principles and exercises to engage in, study, and understand.

  1. The first is to know your audience (we all know this right?).
  2. The second is to take action (make a declaration, take a stance).
  3. The third is to engage (in conversation).

Four P’s of Marketing

While working you will want to consider the four P’s of marketing (also ‘basics’). Product, Price, Place and Promotion. In the case of social marketing these four P’s are expanded in their meanings.

  1. Product does not have to be ‘buy my product’ in the case of social marketing. It could be a desired outcome such as bookmark my page, sign up for my newsletter, etc.
  2. Price does not have to be in US dollars. Price can be measured as any investment – financial, time, emotional.
  3. Place becomes virtual.
  4. And promotion becomes any channel used to reach your target audience.

Seven Questions to Create Your Social Marketing Strategy

Defining, designing and deploying your social marketing strategy begins with a series of questions. Of course the questions vary given the desired outcome and target market, but here’s a list to get you started.

1. What is the desired outcome of my social marketing campaign?

2. Who am I trying to reach? Who is my target audience?

3. How open are they to my message?

4. How long to gain the trust of my audience? What proof is required?

5. Who are they currently following/listening to/trusting?

6. Where do they engage in conversations?

7. What action(s) will I need to employ (7 interactions or exposures).

Six Phases of Social Marketing

TurningPoint describes social marketing as a 6 phase system, (1) describe the problem, (2) conduct market research, (3) create the marketing strategy, (4) plan the intervention, (5) monitor and evaluate, (6) implement and evaluate.

These points (phases) are an essential message to all entrepreneurs learning to market products and services online. It is no longer enough to simply create a website and throw some advertising at it, hoping it will take off. There is planning, research, strategizing, work and evaluation involved in true marketing.

What’s the point?

Do your homework, research your market, and write your plan before you engage in strategic social marketing activities – otherwise you may just be wasting time and energy clicking around the internet with nothing to show for your efforts.

Until next post,

Laura Childs