Social Media for Social Marketing and Public Health

I’m back from leading the inaugural class of Social Marketing University, which was an amazing two days. The participants at the training were enthusiastic and knowledgeable about their fields, and we learned as much from each other as they did from me. I’m looking forward to offering SMU again, perhaps in the Spring or Summer, and I’ll be looking at other locations for next time as well (especially my favorite city of Washington DC). If you are interested in receiving announcements of future trainings, please send me an e-mail at

One of the topics that was received with the most enthusiasm at SMU was the discussion of how new social media and Web 2.0 applications are leading to the next generation of social marketing (or NextGen social marketing, to coin a phrase). If you are in the Washington DC area, you have an opportunity next week to catch one of the social marketing social media pioneers talking on this topic.

Craig Lefebvre, whose blog On Social Marketing and Social Change was the first on the topic of social marketing as far as I know, will be the featured speaker at the Public Health Communication & Marketing Program (pdf) at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services on September 27th at noon. Here are the details as announced by e-mail:

The Public Health Communication & Marketing Program at The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services is delighted to announce the launch of a quarterly lecture series focused on cutting-edge issues at the intersection between theory and practice. Each seminar will be a one hour lecture and discussion with a provocative speaker whose work is helping to refine the practice of public health communication and marketing.

The seminars will be scheduled for the second Wednesday of every quarter during the noon hour (except in the case of holidays or other special circumstances). They will be held on the GWU medical campus in Ross Hall, and webcast live.

Our inaugural speaker – September 27 at noon – will be Dr. Craig Lefebvre, an internationally renown expert in social marketing. Craig will address the implication of “social media” (e.g., MySpace) for social marketing and public health. An overview of his topic is below. Future seminar topics and lecturers will be identified on the basis of nomination.

To nominate topics or speakers for future seminars, and for additional information about the seminar series, please contact Dr. Ed Maibach (

The Implications of “Social Media” for Social Marketing and Public Health
Craig Lefebvre, PhD

“Social media” is the use of media to facilitate collaboration and interaction among people. These media can be seen as mere digital extensions of older forms of communication ( e.g. promotional campaigns based on word-of-mouth, viral marketing, “narrowcasting,” or “slivercasting”). However, thinking about these new media as just new promotion channels misses the essence of what the new media revolution is all about…using media to do new things, not using new media to do old things differently. These new technologies have implications for how we think about the public health behaviors, products and services we market; the incentives and costs we focus on; and the opportunities we present and places where we interact with our audience and allow them to try new things. The implications of social media are not confined to how we should think about our target audiences, but also includes how we should think about our colleagues, our information and inspiration sources, and the resources we attempt to cultivate to do our jobs bigger and better.

Dr. Lefebvre is one of the nation’s leading experts in social marketing and public health communication. For over a dozen years, he directed the Social Marketing and Health Communication group at Prospect Associates and American Institutes of Research, and before that he was Director of Interventions for the groundbreaking Pawtucket Heart Health Program. Craig is particularly known for his innovative and insightful thinking about how to enhance the impact of investments in public health.

It sounds like a worthwhile way to spend your lunch hour!

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