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Social media involves the use of social networks as marketing communications media. These websites often have users actively participate to determine what is popular. Social marketing is a tactic that taps into the growth of social networks, encouraging users to adopt and pass along widgets or other content modules created by a brand, or to add a brand to the user’s social circle of friends.
Social marketing has traditionally referred to the branch of marketing that is concerned with the use of marketing knowledge, concepts, and techniques to enhance social ends, as well as the social consequences of marketing strategies, decisions, and actions. This type of marketing is designed to influence the behavior of a target audience in which the benefits of the behavior are intended by the marketer to accrue primarily to the audience or to the society in general and not to the marketer. Social marketing can be carried on by for-profit, public, and private nonprofit organizations or by individuals.
Examples would be attempts to influence individuals to stop smoking (by the private nonprofit American Cancer Society) or report crimes (by the public U.S. Department of Justice). An attempt of one friend to influence another to go on a diet is also social marketing. Here you will find a collection of marketing news articles and research insights regarding social media.