Media Marketing Archives | Outsell
September 12, 2011

Earned Media vs Paid Media

Many dealers are missing out on important tactics for utilizing their marketing spend effectively. HubSpot recently shared a video comparing earned and paid media and how to best combine the two for a profitable outcome. Earned media is content created by you that can be shared to bring people back to your brand, such as blog posts and videos. Paid media is spending your dollars on using someone else’s media to bring in customers, like banner ads, Google AdWords, or Groupon deals. In the video available on HubSpot, David Meerman Scott explains that combining earned and paid media is far better than the worst mistake of focusing on paid media alone. For example, press releases are a great way for earned and paid media to work together, using sites like PRWeb that charge to promote your content but it is still your content. Since earned media should be the main focus, it stands to reason why social media has become so important, because that type of content is often free and easy to utilize. Ralph Paglia of Automotive Digital Marketing shared an article about the apathetic view many dealers have about social media marketing. Most dealers admit that they do not consider social media a must within their marketing plan, despite saying that word-of-mouth is one of their most important marketing tools, and social media is really just another method of that same idea. Reputation management is also a fundamental reason to pay attention to social and other forms of earned media.
“While offline forms of word-of-mouth remain critical for all automotive franchise brands, and certainly for small or locally based independent car dealers and businesses of all kinds, social media also plays a valuable role by giving customers a wider voice for their dealership experience reviews, product and dealer recommendations and helping to amplify that voice beyond their immediate circle of friends, family and colleagues.” READ MORE
The best way to leverage your paid media is to see where you can incorporate earned media into those dollars spent. Use services like PRWeb to spread important news about your brand with press releases. Maintain your usual advertizing and paid media practices. But also make sure you are a part of the conversation happening online, because ignoring this new word of mouth may cost you more of those paid media dollars than you might anticipate.

Leading the Conversation

Social Media and Online Marketing can mean something entirely different to different marketers as well as different industries, but for most the goal is the same, to drive more traffic to the company’s main website and potentially gain more customers and closer relationships with current customers.

The largest areas this is done regularly and successfully is through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, but what are the best ways to use those tools?

The key elements that come up again and again from professionals using social media is to have a plan, make sure the different aspects you are using are integrated, and listen to your customers.

Blogging as a company is different than running a personal blog. It can’t be about the hit count or the amount of comments on posts, if any, but about the content you are putting out there being relevant and important to the consumers who find their way to your site. What to write for a blog post is as important as who you are trying to reach. Customers aren’t interested in only hearing about how wonderful your dealership is, what specials are going on, or that great testimonial or customer experience.

Those things are great spaced out with other content, but people are fickle. They want variety. Too much of the blogosphere, Facebook, and Twitter, are filled with more of the same. Stay current on automotive news, trends, and interesting facts as well.

And please, don’t take the route so many other budding social media savvy dealerships have taken and fill your tweets with superfluous ‘What’s your favorite color?’ and ‘Tell us what you did this weekend?’ questions. That tactic isn’t original or relevant.

Do make your posts and comments fun, however. Social Media is supposed to be fun, that’s why people spend so much time there. Tracy Gold in her article, “What I Learned About Social Media from Angry Birds,” said it best:

“Sure, people read articles to learn what’s going on in their field, and they watch how-to videos. But no one is going to remember your brands’ boring breakdown of how to install WordPress. They’re going to remember the posts that made them laugh, and the tweets they think are clever. So if you’re just churning out the same-old, same-old content, stop it! Think about how you can make sure that you’re keeping social media the way it’s supposed to be: fun.”

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Spotlight on Social Media

Recently, Outsell had the opportunity to speak with Stephen Higgins, Social Media Manager for AutoNation. You can read the transcript of our chat below.

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