Social media has become such an integral part of our daily lives that it has completely transformed the way we communicate with each other. And like every medium that capture consumer attention, brands have stepped in to accelerate the way social media affects our buying habits. There are few industries that have been left unaltered, and SEO and PR certainly aren’t unaffected. leverage-social-media-earned

Earned media has recently emerged as an effective way to gain exposure from media outside of your own organization. It’s a new form of word-of-mouth marketing that helps brands find new customers based on recommendations from those they trust most. It’s the marriage between SEO and PR. One of the most effective ways of doing this is through social media.

Take away the guesswork

When it comes to integrating earned and social media, where do you start? The first step to that is identifying where your audience actually is. There’s nothing wrong with a little experiment to figure out what works for your audience—but to serve them well, you have to know them. It won’t do you any good trying to plaster Pinterest with your content if your audience prefers to hang out on Twitter or LinkedIn. Instead of hoping your content will be found someday, branch out and find the right platform to engage with your audience.

With social media, there’s no one size that fits all, and that allows brands a degree of flexibility. You could start with a single exploratory tweet, or a series of Facebook posts, to see what works for your audience without wasting a large portion of your marketing budget.

Leverage your influencers

No matter how great you think a piece of content is, it isn’t going to promote itself. Don’t be afraid to leverage your social networks to increase exposure to your work. More people sharing your content increases likelihood that you’ll find the people who need what you offer most—and that can help your brand gain trust from current and potential customers.

Don’t be afraid to ask others to share your content; the Internet is full of outlets willing to share your offers with their audiences. A positive relationship with social media influencers can go a long way when they realize you care about their success as well.

You don’t own your social posts

You may be thinking, “Isn’t social media just another form of owned media?” After all, you control the messages you post to your brand’s social platforms. But if Twitter decided to shut down today, every tweet and piece of content you shared would completely vanish, as well has any sort of social proof you earned on the platform. As long as another entity has control of your content, it’s not owned.

Earned media allows brands to consistently drive traffic and leads that are both qualified and ready to engage in some form. It takes effective PR skills to put in action and results in SEO benefits. To learn more about Earned Media and how you can get started, download our Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media today.

Image credit: Jason A. Howie