Adult Positive Social Norms Campaigns Are Important, Too!

Adult Positive Social Norms Campaigns Are Important, Too!

If you have read our blogs, you know that we have shared steps on how to conduct a Positive Social Norms campaign for youth, but adults can benefit from this type of campaign as well! Here’s a short recap of social norms and the purpose of a Positive Social Norms campaign.

What are Social Norms?

They are the behaviors, attitudes and/or standards that the majority of people in a group think are acceptable or unacceptable; the norm. What people do is influenced by what they think others are doing. If people think that a certain behavior is typical or the norm, they are more likely to participate in it because they believe most are doing it, and they want to belong.

However, sometimes a norm or behavior is misread or misperceived, and people think that others engage in risky behavior much more than they really do.

What is a Positive Social Norms campaign?

A Positive Social Norms Campaign is a way to clarify or correct certain misperceptions of norms and promote positive social norms or behaviors. Positive Social Norm campaigns typically are media campaigns that attempt to influence behavior by altering the perception of a ‘norm.’ This is done through messages supporting the healthy choices that are already being made.

For example, we have surveyed over 4,000 adults in Gwinnett County over the past few years, and from those results, we know that over 70% of Gwinnett County adults think that MOST teens drank one or more drinks of alcohol in the past 30 days. In reality, that’s not true. Only 10% of high school students in Gwinnett County report drinking one or more drinks of alcohol in the past 30 days, according to the 2017 GSHS 2.0.

Here’s the message that we created for our Adult Positive Social Norms campaign to help correct the misperception that MOST teens drink.

Do you want to address the misperceptions among adults in your community? Start planning your Positive Social Norms campaign today! Just follow these easy tips.

TIPS for Creating YOUR Adult Positive Social Norms Campaign:

  • Create your own survey for adults to identify the misperceptions in your community
  • Collect surveys via online or in person at community events
    • Provide incentives to have adults participate (gift cards, etc.)
  • Tabulate your data
  • Compare adult perceptions to data of teen 30 day use (or other data based on your community)
  • Identify if there is a gap between adult perception and the local data
  • Identify partnerships, can include local partnerships
  • Create campaign message
  • Test message with other adults
  • Order materials (banner, poster, pens, etc.)
  • Brainstorm where the message can be posted (parks, school athletic fields, newsletters, water bill, radio PSA, local TV show)
  • Involve your community partners whenever you can, and make it a collaborative project (using your partner’s logo, etc.)
  • Map your locations (Google Maps, National Geographic Maps)
  • Compare trends from year to year, event to event
  • Depending on data you collect, continue to expand message or create a new one
  • Use your community partners for feedback
  • Share your findings/results in the community via social media, newspaper or other news outlets

Social Media Platforms that Are Available for Your Use:

Social media platforms are a great way to help bring awareness to a Positive Social Norms campaign. The great thing about social media is that it can often be effective because of its daily use by numerous people. Positive Social Norms campaigns are ever evolving and so are social media platforms, which in turn, make social media campaigns an easy outlet to make use of. Social media is typically free to use as well as free to create, making it budget friendly. Some common social media platforms that are used often include:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Snap Chat
    • Snap Chat filters, used through location services
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • GooglePlus

Adults are the number one influence in a teen’s decision NOT to drink, so help fill in the gap and get the message out to adults in the community that their actions matter!

RESOURCE DOWNLOAD: Adult Positive Social Norms Campaign Packet

For more information and resources on how to conduct the campaign, contact Michael Davis at

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