Word of mouth communications and peer-to-peer dialogue often have a greater effect on customers, since they are not sent directly from the company and are therefore not planned. Customers are more likely to trust other customers’ experiences.[24] Examples can be that social media users share food products and meal experiences highlighting certain brands and franchises. This was noted in a study on Instagram, where researchers observed that adolescent Instagram users' posted images of food-related experiences within their social networks, providing free advertising for the products.[28]

Social marketing theory and practice has been progressed in several countries such as the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK, and in the latter a number of key government policy papers have adopted a strategic social marketing approach. Publications such as "Choosing Health" in 2004,[16] "It's our health!" in 2006 and "Health Challenge England" in 2006, represent steps to achieve a strategic and operational use of social marketing. In India, AIDS controlling programs are largely using social marketing and social workers are largely working for it. Most of the social workers are professionally trained for this task.[citation needed]
For that reason, you're probably less likely to focus on ‘leads' in their traditional sense, and more likely to focus on building an accelerated buyer's journey, from the moment someone lands on your website, to the moment that they make a purchase. This will often mean your product features in your content higher up in the marketing funnel than it might for a B2B business, and you might need to use stronger calls-to-action (CTAs).
Social marketing can be confused with commercial marketing. A commercial marketer may only seek to influence a buyer to purchase a product. Social marketers have more difficult goals. They want to make potentially difficult and long-term behavior changes in target populations, which may or may not involve purchasing a product. For example, reducing cigarette smoking or encouraging use of condoms have difficult challenges to overcome that go beyond purchasing decisions.
However, you can use paid campaigns to reinforce core messages that you’ve shared via organic posts. For example, if the company has been involved in a public crisis (think Volkswagen and the emissions crisis), then information you’ve provided to people who have contacted you can be used as part of a wider educational marketing program with paid ads to extend the message reach.
Much of the literature and case examples focus on operational social marketing, using it to achieve specific behavioral goals in relation to different audiences and topics. However, there has been increasing efforts to ensure social marketing goes "upstream" and is used much more strategically to inform policy formulation and strategy development. Here the focus is less on specific audience and topic work but uses strong customer understanding and insight to inform and guide effective policy and strategy development. Social marketing in most cases stands in contrast to business marketing and serves for society wellbeing. The techniques of this marketing are used for change of attitudes and behaviours of different audiences in public life[39].
Before we discuss social marketing further, however, it's important to have a grasp on the principles of commercial marketing, since that is what it's based on. As community health workers, or members of non-profit organizations, the idea might seem a bit odd. We're used to a completely different mindset. Terms like "marketing" may conjure up images of big business and corporate greed; they certainly don't make us think of programs to try to help our neighbors.

Finally, the last "P" is promotion. Because of its visibility, this element is often mistakenly thought of as comprising the whole of social marketing. However, as can be seen by the previous discussion, it is only one piece. Promotion consists of the integrated use of advertising, public relations, promotions, media advocacy, personal selling and entertainment vehicles. The focus is on creating and sustaining demand for the product. Public service announcements or paid ads are one way, but there are other methods such as coupons, media events, editorials, "Tupperware"-style parties or in-store displays. Research is crucial to determine the most effective and efficient vehicles to reach the target audience and increase demand. The primary research findings themselves can also be used to gain publicity for the program at media events and in news stories.


Businesses focused on increasing sales through content marketing should look at traditional e-commerce metrics including click-through-rate from a product-page to check-out and completion rates at the check-out. Altogether, these form a conversion funnel. Moreover, to better understand customers' buying habits, they should look at other engagement metrics like time spent per page, number of product-page visits per user, and re-engagement.
Identify the barriers to change: through interviews, surveys, focus groups or other methods, you'll want to find out what makes it difficult or unattractive for people to make these changes. Do pregnant women feel uncomfortable at the area clinic, or are they made to feel stupid when they talk to the doctor? Is the clinic too far away? Can they not take the time away from their jobs?
The personal finance site Mint.com used content marketing, specifically their personal finance blog MintLife, to build an audience for a product they planned to sell. According to entrepreneur Sachin Rekhi, Mint.com concentrated on building the audience for MintLife "independent of the eventual Mint.com product."[18] Content on the blog included how to guides on paying for college, saving for a house, and getting out of debt. Other popular content included in-depth interview and a series of financial disasters called "Trainwreck Tuesdays." Popularity of the site surged as did demand for the product. "Mint grew quickly enough to sell to Intuit for $170 million after three years in business. By 2013, the tool reached 10 million users, many of whom trusted Mint to handle their sensitive banking information because of the blog’s smart, helpful content."[19]
Promoting your cause doesn't need to take a lot of money. It can also take place through less costly methods, such as good old-fashioned word of mouth. Convincing people through a one-on-one conversation can be just as effective at changing someone's point of view as the best made commercial, or even more so. (Think about it. Which would make you get a tetanus booster: a television commercial or a suggestion from your doctor?) Word of mouth is a highly desirable part of social marketing.
Infographics. These are generally long, vertical graphics that include statistics, charts, graphs, and other information. If you need some examples, here are 197 infographics on the topic of content marketing curated by Michael Schmitz, head of Content Lab at Publicis, Munich. Infographics can be effective in that if one is good it can be passed around social media and posted on websites for years. You can get a professionally designed infographic by hiring a contractor on a site like oDesk or if you want to remove some of the risk you can go with a company like Visua.ly. A decent infographic will usually cost you at least $1,000 to have designed, but can cost several thousand dollars if you are hiring a contractor or agency to include strategy and planning, research, copywriting, and design. There is also the matter of promoting that infographic to bloggers and the media. Or you could set up a board on Pinterest and curate infographics on a topic related to your business. That is also a form of content marketing, and it costs nothing but your time. Hey, it worked for Michael.
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