When I was first asked to be a presenter for a social marketing webinar hosted by Texas System of Care, I wasn’t sure I even knew the difference between social marketing and social media. I quickly realized though, that most nonprofit organizations are implementing social marketing tactics, whether we realize it or not.
Social marketing’s primary focus is to encourage social good, and it uses tools like social media to engage audiences, create communities, raise awareness about social issues, and influence behavior. For example, you don’t use social marketing to sell a car or a condo, but you do use it to promote a 5K run benefiting children with disabilities or champion a bill that will provide health coverage to approximately one million uninsured Texans.
Thinking about how we use social marketing helps us better define how and why we communicate with our audiences. For the webinar, I focused on Texan Care’s online community and found we market to our networks through three main online channels:
- Social Media
While this isn’t mind blowing in and of itself, it was interesting to delve deeper and monitor the ways in which we share information through these three platforms. I found that common best practices, such as being personal, using visuals, and tracking metrics apply to all three channels. Additionally, to most effectively engage our people, it is important to reinforce the same content on all channels, and always make sure you’re tweaking that content to best suit its destination too.
For example, we may have an op-ed we want to share, and the images and language we use will differ depending on the platform:
- On our website, we will include the entire op-ed, include a link to the original piece, and most likely include a photo or infographic that highlights the op-ed’s key message.
- On Twitter, we will market the op-ed several different ways by using direct quotes, headlines, and popular hashtags that are relevant to the piece.
- On Facebook, we will often times use an image and try to engage our audience to comment or share by asking them a question and using more conversational language.
I’ve included a taster slide below, and you can view the entire presentation here. If you have any social marketing tips I haven’t included, feel free to let us know in the comments section!