What is a social campaign

Social campaigning

Social campaigning denotes two types of activities in social networks:

  • On the one hand, the term serves as an umbrella term for all campaign-related advertising activities of companies and organizations in social networks.
  • Second - and dealt with in this article - it describes advertising campaigns by social and / or non-commercial organizations in Web 2.0.

In contrast to commercial marketing, social campaigns usually indicate that they do not pursue profit intentions and do not address individual needs, but public concerns.

History of social campaigns

The foundations for the marketing of social activities and goals - in a modified form that are still valid today - were laid in 1952. The psychologist and communication researcher Gerhart D. Wiebe analyzed the question "Can Brotherhood be Sold Like Soap?" (translated as "Can social issues like soap be sold?") are central factors for the success of social campaigns in mass media (print, radio and television). After analyzing four social campaigns, he concluded that the more they pursued commercial marketing approaches and methods, the more successful they were. Based on his research, he formulated five key success factors for social campaigns:

  1. "Force:" The intensity with which a recipient (before and after receiving the campaign message) shares the goals of the campaign.
  2. "Direction:" Knowing how and in what form the recipient can participate in the campaign.
  3. "Distance:" The recipient's individual assessment of the effort with which the campaign can be supported or the campaign goal can be achieved.
  4. "Social mechanism:" The existence of a platform or organization through which recipients can translate their motivation into action.
  5. "Adequacy:" The efficiency of this platform or organization with which the actions can be implemented.

In the following years, further work and articles laid the foundations for the scientific analysis of marketing-driven campaigns by social institutions and initiatives. As early as 1971, the American economists and marketing experts Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman formulated: "Social advertising has become such a feature of American society that it is no longer a question of wether to use it, but how to use it." (Translated: "Social marketing has gained such importance in American society that the question is no longer whether, but how it can be used.")

The trend towards the definition of social marketing as an independent marketing field continued in the 1980s and 1990s. 1989 appeared with Social marketing by Philip Kotler and Eduardo L. Roberto, a first specialist book followed in 1994 with Social Marketing Quarterly, the first scientific journal specializing in the subject. The first social online campaigns were also implemented in the 1990s, at that time primarily via email lists, forums and websites.

Social campaign goals

According to Manfred Bruhn and Jörg Tilmes, social marketing is "the planning, organization, implementation and control of marketing strategies and activities of non-commercial organizations that are directly or indirectly aimed at solving social tasks." Source

Social campaigns can thus pursue one or more of the following goals:

  • The communication of overarching campaign goals (social issues)
  • Presenting social actors and institutions
  • Activating users online (e.g. for e-petitions, communication, etc.)
  • Activating users offline (e.g. for campaigns, protests, mailings, etc.)
  • Raising financial resources (Fundraising 2.0)
  • Creating a change in awareness / behavior in the user

Social Campaign Success Criteria

According to Brian Cugelman, the success criteria for social campaigns formulated by Wiebe in 1952 can also be transferred to web-based campaigns. His research showed that successful social campaigns must map the five criteria formulated by Wiebe as follows:

  1. "Force": This point is identical to Wiebe's original concept as the intensity with which a person shares the goals of a campaign is not technically justified but intrinsic in nature.
  2. "Direction": Campaigns have to convey their goals well, i.e. they have to communicate the goals of the campaign clearly and understandably in their communication (emails, links, social media and online advertising).
  3. "Distance": Campaigns must be as short as possible, i.e. the time required to search for and use the campaign's websites and online tools must be kept as simple as possible.
  4. "Social mechanism": The campaign must have websites and online tools with which users can act intuitively. Media breaks are to be avoided as far as possible (in other words: the Internet user must also be able to be active on the Internet).
  5. "Adequancy": Campaigns must have a clear and positive appearance and image and, in particular, convey a high level of credibility and seriousness.

Web links

  • Cugelman, B .; Thelwall, M .; Dawws, P .: "Can Brotherhood be Sold Like Soap… Online? An Online Social Marketing and Advocacy Pilot Study Synopsis", in: Persuasive Technology[1]
  • Eisfeld-Reschke, Jörg: 10 Success Factors for Social Campaigns on the Net (17.09.2010) [2]
  • Gromberg, Ehrenfried Conta: "The four fields of social marketing" (December 8th, 2011) [3]
  • Kotler, P .; Zaltman, Gerald: "Social Marketing: An Approach to Planned Social Change", Journal of Marketing, Vol. 35 (1971), p.3ff [4]
  • Wiebe, G.D .: "Merchandising Commodities and Citizenship on Television", Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 15 (1951-52), pp. 679ff