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Top tips for owned media

By Paul Wilson

Owned media are the media channels that you control. This can be your website, mailing lists, emails, blogs and social media accounts.

When you’ve got it working well, it can make a huge difference to your business.

Annette Ellis, strategic communications advisor and CEO of Cannings Purple, says she sees businesses of all sizes miss opportunities because they don’t understand that owned media (content that you develop yourself and promote on your existing channels) can be done so effectively and efficiently.

“It’s the low hanging fruit for small business owners to build a following and to give customers timely, relevant and useful information. By doing that you keep your brand front and centre and equally you’re providing a service and building goodwill,” Ellis says.

“So, this café down the road is sharing their secret muffin recipe with me and I’m thinking these are great guys and they’re giving money back to charity and doing days for kids and doing all sorts of wonderful things.

“If I have one dodgy meal there, I’m less likely to get on to Facebook and shout from the rooftops that they’re awful, than I am to approach to the manager and say ‘mate that wasn’t the best meal I’ve had and I’m disappointed’ and give them an opportunity to rectify. So that’s why we do it.”

When using social media, there’s no point to being on every channel and it’s time consuming. Use the primary channel or channels that your customer base uses. Research demographics as well as marketing tips.

Here’s a starting point:

Facebook: This is good for smaller businesses that are more retail focused. In Australia there are more people aged 40+ on Facebook than there are under the age of 25.

LinkedIn: Good for businesses who are in the professional or technical services space. “So, if I’m an engineering company in Wangara and I want to let people know about the services I have on offer, I stop and think: ‘I’m looking at engineers, procurement managers, designers in the Perth area’ and I can be quite focused in my message,” Ellis says.

Instagram: Good for companies like fashion retailers.

Twitter: This is where journalists, academics and politicians hang out, and is where a lot of journalists get their breaking news.

Youtube: It’s the second biggest search engine around the world and its fastest growing demographic is 35+ and 55+, while 37 per cent of the 18-34 year-old demographic use it.

Once you’ve decided on your channel of preference, then you need to think about what you’ll tell people. Think from your customer’s point of view, not necessarily yours.

If you’ve won an award, you might think that’s what you put on social media. But how much can your audience engage with that?

Be creative. Post that you’ve won an award, you’re celebrating, and you’ve got a special offer for the first hundred people who come into the shop, or that you’ll do four hours of free service for the next client who rings.

Ellis says the end user really wants to know ‘what’s in it for me?’. “People don’t want to be sold to or spoken at.

Give them something of value,” she says. “It’s about the right content, the right channels and the right target audience and that’s seldom the same across any two businesses.”

“So, if you are that bakery down the road, do you want to talk to the entire community, or do you want to target the mums and teenagers who are going to pass by on their way home and have specials on cream buns from 3-4pm,” Ellis says.

“It’s about being really clear about who your audience is and being forensic about reaching them.”

She argues it is understanding the minimum that you need to do to get the results that you need to achieve.

These are her tips for social media:

Familiarity: Get familiar with your chosen platform/s. Ask your teenagers. Get a social media advisor. Understand what the channels can and can’t do.

The more you know its capabilities, the more you learn, the greater your ability to harness the opportunities and manage the risks for your business.

Who: Just as you wouldn’t task your receptionist to do an ABC interview, get someone skilled and knowledgeable to write your social media content. You are putting a message into the public domain.

The content: Your message still needs to be great content for it to be noticed, read and retained.

Planning: Your content needs a strategic plan. What are we saying? Is it an authentic conversation? Does it add value to the audience I’m targeting? Is it well written? Is it timely? Is it interesting? There are different models related to what type of content goes on social media and when.

Ellis says a basic graduation of stakeholder engagement is a round of three posts – inform, consult, and engage:

  • Inform: Say this is who we are, this is what we do, therefore we matter.
  • Consult: Ask your customers questions. What do you like? What do you want more of? Where do you shop? How often do you buy? Again, be creative.
  • Engage (involve, collaborate, empower): You could say “here’s something we’ve developed; can we show you? Do you want to come in and try it? Come to our open day?”.

Owned media are the media channels that you control. This can be your website, mailing lists, emails, blogs and social media accounts.

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