Social media marketing is constantly changing with new networks, new users, and new best practices. But one part of social media marketing that’s often overlooked is the four types of social media and where you should be focusing your marketing efforts.
By four types, we mean owned, earned, paid, and dark. Your social media posts most likely span all four of these types – some without you even knowing about it. With the rise of social media, consumers took control over the online conversation around your brand and you had to get active to encourage positive press and mitigate any bad news. Now, it’s time to own your messaging through these types, or at least the ones you can control, by understanding how these types of social media work in your favor.
Think of your owned content as content you control 100%. These are the photos you take and share, the posts you publish, and any content you create for your site that you share on social media. You control the messaging around owned social media and it should encourage others to share the same message.
It’s important that your message stay consistent across all the networks but also flexible to meet each network’s best practice. For example, on Facebook you could post a photo of a breakfast item and have the text, “Won’t you come join us for our delicious breakfast? This is Jenna’s homemade cinnamon French toast and only available on the weekends. Don’t forget, breakfast is served daily from 7 – 10 a.m.” Now, you can use that same photo for Twitter but that text is just too long to fit. You would need to cut it down to something like, “Can we tempt you with our hot, fresh cinnamon French toast? Find it during the weekends at our breakfast, from 7 - 10 a.m.!”
You can grow your reach and influence through your owned posts by understanding what your audience likes and what it doesn’t care for by looking at the engagement rate. The engagement rate shows how many people reacted (liked, commented, or shared) to your post divided by how many people saw it. Posts with an engagement rate of 5% or higher shows value in that content and content that is similar should also perform well.
Now, earned content is outside of your control as these are posts by others talking about you. That doesn’t mean you can’t jump in to add to or redirect the conversation but these posts are the property of other users.
Earned social can come in the form of reviews, check-ins, blog articles shared on social media channels, and so on.
Of course if you see that others are talking about you online you should take the opportunity to jump in and thank the poster and add to the conversation. Not only does it show that you’re monitoring social media for mentions of your brand but that you’re active and willing to engage. Remember, social media is not a one-way conversation!
This one is a little self-explanatory as this type refers to your social media ads on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram. Perhaps you want to drive awareness for an upcoming event or encourage new audiences to book a special package at your property.
Facebook and Instagram are the easiest platforms to develop and run ads on and Facebook continues to invest in its advertising platform to target the right users and serve up dynamic content (content based on their online behaviors or search history).
Just be sure to use Google’s URL builder or a link shortener like Bit.ly to track clicks from your ad.
It’s not bad social media and this one isn’t typically self-explanatory but in a nutshell it refers to social media traffic that can’t be attributed back to the right source – such as a link shared in a text or instant messenger platform or in an email. It’s social media sharing that’s private so you can’t track where it originated from. Some studies have shown that dark social could be responsible for up to 70% of link sharing but analytics will put that traffic in the direct category – the same category for people who type in your website’s URL to get to your site instead of using a search engine.
Dark social media isn’t a bad thing, but if you want to make sharing links, publicly, back to your website easier, you should have social media share buttons like ShareThis installed. Have all the major networks and an email option so you can track those website visitors accurately.