When it comes to marketing there are three types of media—paid, earned and owned. Paid media generally refers to ads, owned media generally refers to anything that the company has control over—like websites—and earned media refers to media that others generate for you.
Social media, however, is changing everything. Owned media—such as websites Facebook, Twitter pages—can also be paid if they are established and run by agencies. Classic paid media—such as television and other ads—generally directs potential customers to owned media such as websites or social media pages. And if people don’t share this media it can end up being almost worthless, meaning that companies have to earn it.
Today’s consumers don’t just see ads and either buy or dismiss the product based on what they’ve seen. They review websites, hunt for reviews and ask around and—once they decide to make the purchase they search for ways to make the most of what they’ve invested in and then have the option to review it themselves. People are more likely to dismiss products that have little to no earned media around the web for those that are represented by lots of user-generated content.
This is why keeping your campaigns creative and interactive is important—you need this content. Offer people samples or trials in exchange for honest reviews; create engaging Youtube videos that people will share and discuss; encourage participation and communication via Twitter, Facebook and everywhere else communication is possible. If you or someone within your company or organization isn’t directly responsible for controlling the social media campaign, make sure that the agency managing it is doing all of these things and doing it well, because when your earned media is also paid it should really pay off.