Thanks to the social Web, anyone can publish their opinions for the world to see. As a result, word-of-mouth reaches further than ever, and brands have a tremendous opportunity to tap into their loyal customers and advocates to help spread their marketing messages through earned media.
But harnessing earned media can be difficult because, ultimately, it is consumers who are in control.
“Good brand content will be at the heart of any successful strategy,” said Nicole Perrin, eMarketer senior editor and author of the Insight Brief “What You Need to Know About Earned Media.” “Ad creative that resonates with viewers will help spur social sharing and online discussion, and offline experiences can also set people talking.”
Because earned-media postings come from real people, not marketers, consumers trust them more and view them as a major influence on purchase decisions. Nielsen Online, for example, found in April 2009 that more than 90% of Internet users in North America trusted recommendations from people they knew. Other top media were likewise earned rather than paid.
That extra trust makes earned media extremely valuable for brand marketers.
But companies must also be prepared for the negative side of the equation. “Social Media Misfires: How to Head Off Trouble Before It Hits” provides four case studies showing businesses what to watch out for—and how to stop problems before they start.
“Brands can be damaged by people who use Twitter to post false information or by employees who post prank videos on YouTube—the damage can come from anywhere,” said Tobi Elkin, eMarketer writer and editor and author of the brief.
“Failing to appropriately research a social media strategy and establish relevant best practices can end up costing a company dearly,” she said.
“What You Need to Know About Earned Media” and “Social Media Misfires: How to Head Off Trouble Before It Hits” are part of a series of eMarketer Insight Briefs focused on social media marketing. Available exclusively to Total Access subscribers, the seven briefs, along with a PowerPoint slideshow, answer the most common and most pressing questions that businesses have about social media marketing.
Total Access subscribers, log in and view the Insight Briefs now. Learn more about an eMarketer Total Access subscription today.
Check out today’s other article, “Hispanics Go Online for Trusted Info.”