In the age of hashtags and viral videos, can social media be a powerful tool for social marketing? As a digital communications specialist I’m keen on finding examples and best practices.
First thing’s first though – it’s worthwhile to clarify the distinctions between social marketing and social media marketing, as people often confuse the two.
Social marketing, as defined by the International Social Marketing Association, “seeks to develop and integrate marketing concepts with other approaches to influence behaviours that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good.” Social media marketing on the other hand utilizes social networking websites specifically as a marketing tool, to build brands, market products and services and broaden stakeholder reach. But it’s worth noting that the two approaches are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Different combinations of these approaches can be used in an organization’s marketing strategy.
Here, I’m concerned with social media as a tool supporting social marketing. With that said, I’d like to share the first of three examples that I believe exemplify this link in very creative ways.
The 2014 #LikeAGirl campaign, run by the feminine hygiene company Always, used a powerful video and social media to show that this phrase – which had become an insult – could be empowering. The campaign included elements of both social marketing and social media marketing, as described above.
Using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, people were encouraged to comment on and share the video, as well as the #LikeAGirl hashtag, together with examples of how the phrase can mean amazing things. A range of social media influencers – including celebrities and government leaders – participated. By the official end of the campaign, the #LikeAGirl video was viewed more than 90 million times, becoming the number two viral video globally. And there were 177,000 #LikeAGirl tweets in the first three months of the campaign. #LikeAGirl generated significant global awareness and changed the way people think about the phrase. Positive perceptions of the phrase increased from 19 to 76 percent among the youth surveyed. What’s more, two out of three men who participated in the campaign said they’d now think twice before using ‘like a girl’ as an insult. Read a case study on the campaign
Look out for two more social media for social marketing examples in a future post.