Social Marketing vs. Social Media vs. Social Media Marketing vs. Societal Marketing Concept – Like Me, Buy Me!


What Is Social Marketing?

Let’s say a marketing agency is requested to brainstorm some great ideas on how to generate awareness about not driving while severely intoxicated. So, this agency will embrace similar marketing strategies as if it were marketing a product, but in this instance, it is working to achieve something unique with the way people think and behave, i.e., “don’t drink and drive.” This type of societal marketing benefits a large group of people. It helps to change their attitude in the way they approach the pattern or habit of drinking and driving and, of course, the underlying message is that it just isn’t a good act to practice. Hence, “social” marketing.

Other similar subjects relating to society could include any bad habit that needs to be broken, let alone ever started. This agency is attempting to cause some good things to happen for those who make up society. Although a state’s campaign such as the state I live in, may not have had to hire an agency to create an idea to run language on lit up signs above the highways regarding seatbelts–“Click it, or ticket.” This is an encouragement and it’s the law. They are encouraging you to change a habit, and one which could potentially save your life some day.

Importantly, social marketing is intended to help society as a whole and to bring about some positive changes. The societal marketing concept is a combination of running a campaign that includes both making a profit and doing something good that benefits society such as producing a nice health product they can buy. More information on this field is below.

The sign below is an example of social marketing.


The stop sign symbol is the unspoken word for “Stop, don’t do this.”

Take an image of a cigarette and add text that states, “STOP,” and you have an idea for a social marketing campaign.


Is Social Marketing the Same As Social Media?

The answer to this questions is no. Social media is electronic communication that can consist of content on or within any of the following examples:

1. Blogs such as WordPress;

2. Sharing photos on sites such as Photobucket;

3. Music or personal videos made and disbursed on YouTube; or

4. Sharing information on sites like Facebook.

When a company uses these type of mediums to grab the public’s attention to market their products which in turn produces sales, this is commercial marketing, but could also be referred to as social media marketing. For example, if a potato chip company creates a page on Facebook for the purpose of wanting visitors to remember that page, that company will work hard to create a brand name that will be embedded in future customers’ minds and hopefully generate sales. This action is also basically commercial marketing to increase financial value to the chip company. It also helps to establish a relationship with consumers. Let’s face it, there is an emotional attachment when engaging in communication on Facebook and smart marketers know this.

With social marketing, however, a group of people or an organization can use the similar marketing techniques as a commercial marketing agency might use, but the benefit is not intended to have the same outcome. It’s not geared towards just making profit; it’s looking to influence listeners or readers to act—change a behavior that focuses on something good for either a whole community, society or the environment. This being said, though, let’s say there is a company in your neighborhood which in the daily course of its business sells plastic cups for a profit, which does use commercial marketing. The cup company might decide to run a campaign where a percentage of their profit per bulk order of cups, for example, be donated to the XYZ Company that is trying to persuade people to stop drinking and driving. Maybe they’ll run ads on billboards with images of totaled vehicles to help create awareness of what message they are trying to achieve. This blends the commercial aspect as well as an added value of social marketing.

To recap, we have social media, social media marketing and social marketing. Target Style, for example, markets on Facebook. Remember, one of the primary goals of businesses being on Facebook outside of increase sales is to build a relationship with their customer base. These businesses want you to “like” them. Think of how many things you have seen on Facebook and noticed how many people are following something, like Tourism Island, which I do follow. You see it has thousands of people following it, so you join in. Yay! I’m going to follow too!

When you want to benefit society in some manner by lifting your reader or listener’s awareness to cause a behavioral change or even an attitude, and all for the good, this is social marketing. Social media can be used for social marketing, but remember they are separate fields. In short, social marketing is composed of goals which can bring about social change. Think of it as a campaign driven to make a difference for the good in society.

Imagine a type of behavioral change that could change your community or even a greater part of society as a whole. Where there is a societal goal that generates a lot of positive effects, this is social marketing. Think about the environment—does your neighborhood have standing recycling bins? This might have been part of a campaign to influence a behavioral change to recycle for the benefit of many neighborhoods which compose a piece of the environment. Social marketing involves a strategy to create change in society. It involves a plan wherein the goal is to try to influence people to respond. People involved with this type of marketing know who they are marketing to very well. This is closely connected to social marketing concept discussed below.

Jessica Rogers, Adjunct Marketing Instructor at Texas A&M University-Commerce and Southern New Hampshire University recently wrote on the socialmedia todaypage:

“Approximately 73% of Fortune 500 companies have a Twitter account; 66% have Facebook Pages. However, many of these organizations lack experienced personnel to truly unleash the power of social. According to a survey by Harvard Business Review of 2,100 companies, only 12% of those utilizing media feel they use it effectively. Further, online job postings requiring social media skills have gone up 87% from 2011-2012; there is now demand for proven social media professionals.”


When your family vacation is placed on YouTube, that’s social media. When a company uploads a video to persuade consumers to change a behavior, that’s social marketing. (Source:

A great example for a platform for social media marketing is … you guessed it … Facebook.


Follow me, like me, shop me!  (Source:

Market your business on Facebook.  Examples of companies who market on Facebook: Dream Furniture, Walmart and Macy’s. Author John Grisham even has a Facebook page to help keep his fans updated on his publications.


Example of a Company That Helps to Build a Brand Name Through Social Media Management

15 Social Media Concepts to Make You a More Marketable Social Media Professional in 2013 | Social Me

Oh…More Confusion—What is Societal Marketing Concept?

Okay, this is related to consumer marketing; however, the focus is on vendors who are providing a much better product for their consumers. This, in turn, benefits the well-being of society. The overall idea of societal marketing concept is to have those who market to the public take into consideration what is socially good for the public. A company utilizing this concept in which it creates a strategy to build a relationship with their consumers or potential consumers. It almost sounds like a win-win scenario if the company is increasing its sales and employs this concept for the betterment of their consumer base. They can be giving consumers something they want, but they also have to ensure that this “want” is towards their well-being.

The company, then, can become successful in a number of ways outside of just increasing their sales. They become popular by increasing awareness of their brand(s) and because the product(s) is good, consumers will return building that solid base. This really helps to build a strong relationship between the goal of the company and the customers looking for their products. Bear in mind, though, these products are designed to benefit their customer base with something good which also folds over into society as a whole.

A Good Example of Societal Marketing Concept–Companies Producing Organic Foods


Companies who market organic foods not only make a profit, but they are also performing a service to the public by providing healthier foods.  (Click here for source.)

“I [do not] get people, like they all want to be watched, to be seen, like all the time. They put up their pictures online and let people they [do not] like look at them! And people they’ve never met as well, and they all pretend [to] be shinier than they are – and some are even posting on like four sites; their bosses are watching them at work, the cameras watch them on the bus, and on the train, and in Boots, and even outside the chip shop. Then even at home – they’re going online to look and see who they can watch, and to check who’s watching them!” — Jenni Fagan, “The Panopticon”