Social marketing is a method used to create activities which aim at changing the behavior of individuals. The events benefit the community as a whole. Besides, social media refers to the use of applications and websites that permit individuals to generate and share content via online platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
In both cases, the primary intention is to convey messages to the members of the public. Both of them aim to pass new ideas to the audience. Both the social marketers and the social media users must operate within the existing laws. Failure to act within the law will attract heavy penalties. The data generated from social marketing and social media can be used to forecast future trends in the area that the campaign has been aimed. Both platforms can reach a broad audience that is located in different regions.
Social marketing aims at influencing the public to change their behavior. For instance, advertisements on HIV/AIDS and anti-smoking campaigns. These activities aim at controlling the people to change their behavior. Also, social marketing aims at creating awareness about a particular issue. For example, it can sensitize the people on the consequences of smoking or engage in irresponsible sexual behaviors (Fertman, 2017). On the other hand, social media is used for social interaction and sharing ideas in general. In social marketing, one must come up with a brand, but in social media, it is not necessary. To sum up, social marketing has a specific target audience. For example, it can target commercial sex workers and the smokers. However, social media can be used by anyone for interaction purposes. Social marketing can use various platforms to convey the message to the target audience. For instance, the use of print media, mass media and billboards. Social media only rely on the internet to operate.
Strength and weakness
Social media tools are essential for purposes of conveying information because they can reach a broad audience. However, at times the users can be biased leading to the dissemination of inaccurate information.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of the Associate Director for Communication. (2011). The health communicator’s social media toolkit. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/socialmedia/Tools/guidelines/pdf/SocialMediaToolkit_BM.pdf
Fertman, C. I., & Allensworth, D. D. (Eds.). (2017). Health promotion programs: From theory to practice (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Chapter 8, “Communicating Health Information Effectively” (pp. 193-216)