We’ve been around a few years now, since 2012 in fact. That may not seem like a long time but in tech industry terms it’s an age. That’s certainly long enough for us to have seen some different trends come and go and for us to update our business model….we’ve never ‘pivoted’ but we have refined our focus from time to time.
One of the main changes to our focus over the last 24 months has been from owned to earned content. What I mean by that is we have changed our marketing messages to highlight the ability of the Miappi platform to curate earned (user-generated content) and not just owned (brand created) content. The technology we use to discover, curate and distribute behind both types of content is identical but the difference between the two types of content is huge and marketers need to understand the difference.
What is owned content exactly?
Owned content is the content that a brand publishes to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter etc. The brand controls how it looks and how it’s distributed. This content might be paid advertising or it might be organic…i.e. shown only to the people ‘following’ the brand on social media.
If you as a brand have already distributed your owned content to social media then why would you use a service like Miappi to collect it again and redistribute it? Well there are a couple of very good reasons why that might happen. For starters, you get to massively extend the reach of that content beyond the walled garden of the social networks. You have spent time and resources creating this content so why confine it to the social networks?
Using a social aggregator you can collect all of your owned content, moderate and curate it and redistribute it to places where fresh eyes can see it…people that probably didn’t see it first time round on the social network….that might mean websites, live events, in-store screens and email campaigns.
Moreover, you are increasing reach in a second important way. Because you are sharing content from all your networks in a single curated ‘social magazine’, a load of people that e.g. only follow you on Facebook suddenly see what you’ve been publishing to YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. Assuming that’s different content your ROI has just increased by 300%!
There’s one more really compelling reason (perhaps the best of all) to redistribute your content using a visual marketing platform like Miappi: ~95% of your organic audience on social media never see what you publish. The social networks are keen to service up content from friends and family first as well as paid advertising. That leaves very little space for your organic posts to be shared with your followers. If you want to give that content a better chance of being seen then collect it again and redistribute it to the places you know your target audience are going to see it.
In broad terms then, that’s owned content. What about earned content? With all the benefits of owned content redistribution it might be tempting to focus only on that. If you did though you would be missing a big trick. The name of that trick is ‘social proof’.
So what is earned content & why has it become so prominent?
Basically, earned content, or ‘user-generated’ content (UGC) is any content (positive or negative) about your brand’s products or services that is produced by members for the public i.e. the people who have actually driven the car, taken that vacation, bought that phone.
This is the age of honesty. People want it real. It might not seem like that sometimes (post-truth era and all) but when it comes to marketing real is the new glossy. The lustre has come off the overly-slick marketing campaign and people want honesty. Some big brands have known this for decades of course. I love the example of AVIS car hire who in 1962 launched their famous ‘AVIS is number 2. We try harder’ campaign. This was honesty and it worked. Their sales rocketed.
It should come as no surprise that people believe their peers more than big brands. A brand will nearly always tell you that their product or service is better than the rest but if your friends are using a product or service and say it’s good then it probably is. In fact, in the social media age, even if perfect strangers are telling you it’s good you are more inclined to believe them – when was the last time you looked at TripAdvisor reviews? Pretty recently I’d bet. Even more ubiquitous are the ratings stars…TrustPilot, Feefo, Reevoo etc. If it hasn’t got a least 4 stars you’re walking away, right! That’s the power of the ‘social proof’ generated by earned content.
Where we come in
Miappi and other platforms like us also let you collect earned content. Just add a hashtag to the feeds page and behold all of the conversations around that hashtag start to pour into your dashboard….a stream of fresh (and free!) content saying things about your brand.
Okay, so not all the things people say about brands using hashtags are favourable and if that is the case then perhaps it’s time to look at making some changes. All information is useful after all. But for most brands who want to collect user generated content they will collect a mixture of good and less good comments.
Using Miappi a brand can then decide what to do with that content. They can carefully curate and moderate it so only the best bits are left or they can take a more candid approach and let the bad stuff through (not the profanities and spam content of course) to give a more balanced ‘honest’ view of their brand. However the client wants to use Miappi they can make sure that the content is distributed far and wide to different marketing channels where the social proof it provides will inspire new levels of engagement and conversion from the customer.
Take a look at our new report about how consumers react to earned content vs owned content. The stats we collected through our own consumer research as well as via other industry sources makes for compelling reading for any marketer looking for an edge in their next marketing campaign.