4 Examples of Earned Social Media Tactics to Apply Today

Learn to leverage influencers and SEO for greater brand recognition beyond paid ads. Find out why developing an earned media strategy is so cost-effective.

Earned media is a powerful, overlooked social media strategy you should be using. An earned media strategy allows influencers, consumers, or businesses to amplify your brand on their platforms with genuine endorsements. This article shares some effective strategies to boost your earned media presence. If you use these tactics, you’ll find they can help boost your organic exposure and enhance your digital marketing efforts across the board.

First, What Is Earned Media?

Earned media is content created about a brand, person, or organization that does not directly result from paid advertising. Earned media can be exposure through blogs, news articles, positive reviews, and brand mentions on social media. One of the fastest-growing methods for this type of word-of-mouth marketing is user-generated content (UGC). UGC is excellent at showcasing genuine, positive reviews of your products on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and LinkedIn. UGC is usually honest, thoughtful, and most importantly, shareable.

Earned media is an incredibly powerful form of marketing, as potential customers who aren’t familiar with your products hear about how great your products are from people they trust.

Benefits of Implementing an Earned Media Strategy

Earned media can amplify the power of your owned media (content you create that lives on your website, social media platforms, or other brand-owned spaces) and your paid media (paid advertisements, PPC ads, etc.). In short, owned and paid media are most prosperous when you have earned media to back them up.

The benefits of a successful earned media strategy are tangible and long-lasting:


Compared to paid media, where you pay for display ads or other marketing campaigns, or owned media, where the price of producing and hosting the initial content is your primary cost, earned media is a cost-effective strategy with high conversion rates.


Offline news articles, podcast mentions, and social media posts shared by content creators with a passionate following are all valuable ways to get your brand name in front of new markets. Typically, influencers spend a lot of time and care curating a highly engaged audience and building up trust with their followers, so a social media mention of your brand in their stories or a reel showcasing a new product of yours they’ve been enjoying can dramatically boost brand awareness and, eventually, overall sales.


Consumers are bombarded with ads every day. Ad overexposure has left many potential customers wary of traditional marketing tactics. Savvy customers hesitate to buy a product or service without first hearing feedback from a trusted source. Generally, these customers will seek online reviews on platforms like Yelp or look for YouTube Videos or Tweets that mention the product, service, or brand. When your audience has easy access to media content touting your value, you will likely see a big bump in new customers.

Foundations of an Earned Social Media Strategy

Developing an earned social media strategy should combine data-driven approaches and expert industry knowledge. Your system should focus on:

Quality Content

Your owned media content marketing strategy should prioritize high-quality content. Attracting high-quality earned media starts with the content your brand produces. The quality of third-party testimonials and referrals rarely rises above the quality of the content you create. Customers and other businesses are more likely to promote well-executed content they deem worth sharing, so make it easy on them. Whatever type of media you’re producing should be something users relate to and want to engage with and, therefore, feel excited to promote, share, or review.

Customer Experience

Nothing beats a product or service with outstanding customer care. It’s been the same since the early days of digital marketing—people are ready to promote brands that care for them, and they’re equally ready to disparage businesses that don’t. Ensuring your customers, industry partnerships, and everyone else have an exceptional experience will serve you well in the future.

Strong Branding

Branding is storytelling. Having a clear, concise brand story that is consistent across all channels will boost your earned media strategy. By maintaining a thorough branding strategy across all social media channels, ads, and connections, you can help the individuals and teams producing earned media on your behalf get the right message to the right audience every time.

Applied Metrics

Earned media is just as analytic as other forms of media. Use data-driven decision-making to ensure that your earned media is having the impact you want it to. With powerful tools like Google Analytics and Hootsuite at your fingertips, it’s easier than ever to quantify how your owned, paid, and earned media are doing. Using data to better understand your target audience, campaign performance rankings, and conversions helps you design better content going forward. Collect data and use it to inform your future decisions.

4 Examples of Earned Social Media Tactics

Now that you know the fundamentals of a successful earned media strategy, consider a few examples of concrete tactics you can easily apply.

Tactic 1: Earned Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is an interesting facet of earned social media because it can exist as both a paid and an organic strategy. While many influencers partner with brands to create product ads, an unprompted, unpaid social media mention from these content creators is often more valuable, as consumers can trust that their opinions are true and unswayed by the exchange of money.

Tactic 2: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO ensures customers and outside organizations can easily find your owned media. As we stated before, earned media is more likely when your existing content is easy to share. Having content that is easy to find with Google, YouTube, and other search engines is the first step in that process. When others want to talk about your business but can’t readily find relevant content, your chances of getting that earned media are reduced. Accessible organic media made possible through optimization makes it easy for others to reference your business, earning you more media.

Tactic 3: Industry Outreach and Public Relations

Concentrating on relationships in your field can help you with media coverage, industry trust, and more.

Whether you connect with bloggers in your niche, reach out to industry podcasts as a guest speaker, or contact journalists for press releases, the more your voice is heard, your name mentioned, and your service boosted the better your earned media results.

Tactic 4: Utilization of Multiple Distribution Channels

You can earn better media when your content is accessible through more distribution channels. 

Posts on your Facebook page can deliver results there, while your brand’s presence on Twitter can lead to consumer retweets, and Instagram infographics with optimized hashtags can produce influencer reposts. Using the variety of media formats at your fingertips for your content strategy gives you the large-scale reach you want and need for superior earned media.

Don’t know where to start? Take a page from our book. We utilize omni-channel distribution. A method that maximizes the benefit of multiple media outlets, including social media, television, digital, and out-of-home media. By publishing original content across many distribution channels, our partners see the tangible results of action-driven organic content that feeds their earned media.

First Media’s Earned Media Strategy

Earned media can be a powerful part of any marketing strategy. If you develop a thoughtful strategy and implement the right tactics, your team can achieve a boost in reach with high-quality earned media.

At First Media, our experience in earned media gives us the insight and capabilities you need to improve your brand’s success. With a trusted ability to reach the right audiences at the right time, our resources can simplify the earned media process for your brand.

Learn more about how to become a First Media partner and enjoy the earned media tactics we’ve refined for industry-leading results.