Not all types of social media are created equal.

As the social media marketing industry matures, so do the various types of content that marketers need to learn and master. No matter what platform you’re using, you need to be aware of owned, paid and earned content – and how they play into your strategy – suggests a new infographic from Tracx, which we’ve reposted below.

#1 Owned Social

Owned social consists of what people say to you. 87% of owned media appears on Facebook. (Instagram is responsible for 10%, and Twitter is responsible for the other 3%.) Keep in mind that the majority of your owned social will be created by people who don’t necessarily follow or like your page. Owned social may consist of users commenting on or sharing the photos and videos you post to your Facebook Page.

#2 Paid Social

This one’s simple. Paid social is what you pay for people to see. Paid social media accounts for 80% of all branded content. From boosted posts to branded Snapchat filters to advertising campaigns created in Facebook’s Power Editor, paid social can take on many different forms. Influencer marketing, which we’ve been discussing a lot lately on the BuzzPlant Blog, is where paid social and earned social intersect…

#3 Earned Social

Earned social media is what people say about you outside of your branded pages. Examples include:

  • Customer shares a review about your product on their Facebook Page
  • Customer snaps an Instagram photo of your store or product
  • Pinterest user pins one of your products to a board

70% of the social conversations about your brand take place on earned media channels. Earned social media is immensely important. In fact:

  • Earned social media is 40% more likely than owned to spur consumers to action.
  • Earned social delivers 4x the brand lift of owned content alone.
  • 92% of consumers trust earned media, while only 50% trust ads.

Earned Media Is King

While we’re big believers in needing all three types of content, earned media is the crown jewel. After all, anyone can connect their credit card to Facebook and generate paid social. Likewise, if you post enough organic content, you’ll eventually start getting some owned social. Earned social, however, involves real people having real conversations about your brand outside of your own platform.

Earned social media builds trust and establishes your brand’s authenticity. As my friend Joel Comm says, “Being real is the new currency.” In an age where consumers are skeptical about advertising and traditional marketing tactics, earned social media gives brands an edge. Check out the full infographic below for ideas on how you can build an earned social strategy.

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