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Earned media and the new Facebook marketing strategy

by on May 13, 2013

folded-ribbonA successful Facebook marketing strategy has a balance of paid, earned and own media.  It’s not enough to pay for Facebook ads and ask users to “like” your content, believing that it’s building your overall social media strategy and fan engagement.  Now, brands need an integrated approach that balances paid (Facebook ads), owned (announcements on Facebook) and earned (word-of-mouth, shares, likes and recommendations).   Earned media is the most valuable type of Facebook content because it’s authentic word-of-mouth marketing.

Why is earned media so important?

Just how valuable is this content?  Well, 78% of users trust recommendations from friends, while only 14% trust ads.  However, earned media is the most difficult type of content for marketers to develop because they can’t directly generate “likes,” shares and recommendations from their fans.  They have to rely on their users to organically create content and share it, comment or “like” it with their networks.

Also, the more recommendations and shares from your users, the more trust your brand will earn and the more engagement you’ll have on your Facebook page.  By getting your fans to do the sharing for you, you’ll get a lot more out of the campaign that a Facebook ad.  In fact, earned media campaigns have a longer life cycle because content sharing continues even after the initial campaign has ended.

So how do I get your users to share your content?  For marketers, this means creating campaigns that are designed for engagement and sharing activity from your fans.  Here are four easy ways to build a social media campaign to generate earned media:

1. Each user is unique

Brands are increasingly turning to branded applications (apps) on their Facebook page in order to boost organic conversations about their content.  According to a recent Facebook engagement study, users are more likely to broadcast their results if the content reflects their style, interests or personality. Top users of Facebook apps are likely to share their results for quizzes, pick-your-favorites and trivia.

When putting together your next social media campaign, think about how your users will express themselves.  If you’re putting together a trivia question, for example, think about how you can ask questions that allow users to express themselves or share an opinion.  Also, make sure that there is a button to share the results on their Facebook page.

2. Give them incentive to share

Popular Facebook campaigns – like giveaways, coupons and sweepstakes – are likely to get users to access your app, but the entrants are less likely to share this information on their Facebook wall.  Therefore, the earned media value of these campaigns is low because they generate less user engagement.

The reason that the entrants are not sharing your content because they have no perceived value to share. However, this does not mean that you should stop these campaigns entirely.  A robust social media marketing campaign includes constant updates and varied content that is designed to elicit different types of user interactions.

3.  Keep it simple

What are you asking of your users?  Do you want them to upload their own content, enter a sweepstakes or invite their friends to join your branded app?  Make sure the instructions for the activity is clear – your users have a short attention span and will quickly move on to different content if the activity is too confusing or time consuming.

4.  The age of influence

Not all users are created equal.  Marketers want to get users to share their content and grow their network, but they also want to make sure that they’re attracting the right people.  Make sure that you are recognizing the fans that are sharing your content the most and give them an incentive to come back.  Also, if you’ve asked users to enter a sweepstakes, recognize the winners on your page and give them the option to share that they’ve won with their network.

If you follow these simple tips, you’ll build seamless Facebook campaigns that generate more engagement than paid or owned media.  However, keep in mind that a successful earned media campaign is just one component of your overall social strategy – paid and owned media content is just as important to build engagement.

From → Brand

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