People oftentimes feel the urge to join communities and groupings of other people for communication, support, and a sense of belonging somewhere. However, while we long to unite with others, companies and businesses may use this opportunity to contribute to the communes, to unite people based on the common interest around certain products, and even to promote those products.
Definition of Community-Based Social Marketing
Comprehending what community-based social marketing defines may be a bit challenging. And there’s an explanation why. The term is most prevalently implemented not in the sphere of business and commerce but in the segment of social interactions and commune-related projects for a more sustainable way of life.
Therefore, in the broadest sense, community-based social marketing implies a specific set of tools, functions, and actions that are directed towards influencing certain communities and inspiring their members to behave in a certain way. Ideally, they are supposed to act in a way that will result in leading a more sustainable life or at least will motivate them to contribute to the society’s efforts to induce positive changes.
After a community gets used to a certain activity and adopts it (thanks to the techniques of community-based social marketing), its members may start promoting this activity as a whole, increasing the chances to influence more people. This may explain why marketing techniques and tools are being employed not only in the commercial sphere but also in a social one as well. Using simple but potent marketing tactics, community leaders may be able to deliver their message more effectively, thus making a stronger impact on the commune members and inspiring them to act.
However, in business, community marketing emphasizes a bit different aims. All of the marketing forces and efforts are still centralized around a community, a group of individuals. However, in this case, those individuals are the existing customers of a certain company or brand. In such a scenario, the community-based social marketing implies developing a brand presence and engaging a community of customers with it, providing means of interaction and a basis for discussions.
Community-Based Social Marketing Involves Four Steps. Here They Are
Implementing social marketing steps within specific communities of people requires precise planning. The whole process is generally divided into four steps:
- Defining the barriers. And we are not talking about the barriers that are not allowing a community leader or a company (if social marketing is implemented within the communities formed around their interest for a product or a brand) deliver a specific message to the commune. In this case, the barriers prevent the community members from engaging in a needed behavior. Therefore, establishing and defining those barriers should be the first step since it will determine the path of the future strategy.
- Planning and developing a strategy that might help overcome the previously established barriers. This step requires very specific preparation. Each program or campaign ought to be developed with a focus on those barriers.
- Employing the program and implementing it across the community. This means using the needed marketing tools and executing the market-related techniques in order to stimulate a certain behavior in people.
- Assessing the effectiveness of the strategy. During this continuous stage, it is required to study the response and the feedback, both in commercial and non-commercial scenarios.
These four steps may be applied to stimulate a certain behavior in both a community that is supposed to lead a more sustainable life and a community that is united by a common interest related to certain merchandise or brand.
Key Community-Based Social Marketing Tools
Just like any other form of marketing, the community-based one also has its own peculiar tools. Each of them is effective on its own but has a stronger impact when combined with the rest. These tools are:
- Prompts. These are the simple reminders that serve to bring to mind the behavior that is expected from a community and its members. In commerce, they may take a form of pictures with an engaging text. In marketing within social groups to motivate a sustainable behavior, the car stickers may be used as prompts, for example.
- Commitments. This means creating a pledge, a situation in which people can promise to stay committed to a certain action or behavior.
- Norms. This tool involves establishing specific norms, under which community members should act.
- Vivid communications tools. Again, these instruments may be employed with a commercial purpose as well. They involve images, videos, appealing messages, and so on.
Community-based social marketing is among the most potent, influential techniques. That’s why it may be used for various purposes. However, it still requires some effort and a lot of strategic planning.