How Can You Leverage Social Media for Earned Media?


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How Can You Leverage Social Media for Earned Media?

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How Can You Leverage Social Media for Earned Media?

In the ever-evolving landscape of social media, we’ve gathered insights from 10 experts, including Content Marketing Managers and Founders, on how to creatively harness its power for earned media. From organizing brand-aligned social challenges to collaborating with social media influencers, discover innovative strategies that can amplify your brand’s presence online.

  • Organize Brand-Aligned Social Challenges
  • Empower User-Generated Content
  • Spark Conversations with Interactive Campaigns
  • Host Contests and Giveaways
  • Incentivize Customer Brand Ambassadors
  • Build Relationships with Niche Influencers
  • Host Insightful LinkedIn Webinars
  • Create Immersive Virtual Brand Events
  • Share Expertise, Not Products
  • Collaborate with Social Media Influencers

Organize Brand-Aligned Social Challenges

An innovative and currently underutilized strategy is organizing social media challenges that align with your brand’s values or campaigns. By inviting users to participate in a challenge that is both entertaining and relevant to your brand, you can encourage widespread sharing and participation.

This approach not only engages your existing audience but also attracts new followers through viral sharing, as participants post their own content related to the challenge, tagging friends and spreading the word organically.

It’s a creative way to generate buzz and increase brand visibility in a fun and interactive manner.

Marco Genaro PalmaMarco Genaro Palma
Chief Marketing Officer, PRLab

Empower User-Generated Content

In my experience as the founder and president of Raincross, leveraging social media for earned media goes beyond traditional marketing paradigms. It involves creating and nurturing an environment where your audience not only engages with your content but also becomes an active participant in your brand’s narrative. A strategy that has proven highly effective in this endeavor is facilitating and highlighting user-driven initiatives on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

For instance, we initiated a campaign where we encouraged our clients’ customers to share their unique experiences using specific hashtags related to the product. This not only resulted in generating a wealth of authentic content, directly from the users’ perspective, but also significantly amplified our clients’ online presence without the hefty price tag of paid campaigns. We took this approach a step further by integrating these personal stories into our website’s testimonials section and sharing highlights through our social media channels, underscoring the real-life impact of the products and services.

Moreover, by actively engaging with this content—liking, commenting, and sharing—we facilitated a ripple effect that galvanized even more user participation. This approach underlined the critical importance of fostering a sense of community around a brand, where each customer’s voice is valued and highlighted. The key takeaway from this experience was clear: when businesses shift their focus from solely disseminating content to empowering user-generated content, the authenticity and reach of their message grow exponentially, leading to significant earned media. Through strategic engagement and community-building efforts, brands can transform their social media platforms into thriving ecosystems of customer advocacy and loyalty.

Kevin WattsKevin Watts
President & Founder, Raincross

Spark Conversations with Interactive Campaigns

Leveraging social media for earned media is about sparking conversations. It’s about creating content so engaging that users can’t help but share it. Think interactive campaigns—live Q&As, polls, hashtag challenges. User-generated content is gold here.

Collaboration is key. Partner with micro-influencers. They have niche, loyal followings that, when tapped into, can amplify your message authentically. It’s grassroots growth in the digital age.

Don’t overlook the power of stories—both Instagram’s and Facebook’s. They are ephemeral, yes, but their impact can be lasting. Sponsoring stories with influencers can subtly introduce your product to a wider audience without the hard sell.

Lastly, use social listening tools. They’re not just for monitoring; they signal opportunities. When your brand becomes part of the conversation naturally, that’s when the magic of earned media multiplies.

Casey JonesCasey Jones
Founder, Head of Marketing, CJ&CO

Host Contests and Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are a great way to engage with your audience on social media and increase earned media coverage. By offering a prize or reward to participants, businesses can encourage them to share their experiences with their followers, creating buzz and exposure for the brand. This can also attract new followers and potential customers to the business’s social media pages, resulting in increased earned media.

John McdougallJohn Mcdougall
President & CEO, McDougall Interactive

Incentivize Customer Brand Ambassadors

I can say with confidence that there’s truly a huge power in social media, and not just when it comes to direct engagement, but also as a tool for generating earned media. A strategy that I’ve used for this is leveraging user-generated content (UGC) to boost brand visibility and authenticity. I’ve tried to encourage customers to share their own experiences with our brand or products on their social media channels. My team and I have been able to effectively turn them into brand ambassadors, thanks to this. It’s a great way of earning more social media recognition as well as better client relationships.

We continuously create campaigns that incentivize customers to post about their positive experiences with our brand. Sometimes we do it through contests, where participants share their stories or photos using a specific hashtag, or through direct encouragement in our post-purchase communications. The basic key is to make sharing feel natural and rewarding for the customer. This way, their friends will see this, and nothing is better than getting customers who already trust the brand. Other than that, new audiences coming into our social media can see that we cooperate with our clients and that we are reliable and good at what we do.

Of course, after you get this content going, you must engage with it. We do this by reposting it on the brand’s official channels, giving credit to the original posters. This not only amplifies the reach of positive messages about the brand but again: it strengthens the relationship with customers by valuing their input and stories.

This UGC strategy transforms ordinary social media interactions into powerful endorsements. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways of catching the eye of followers and traditional media outlets looking for authentic stories to cover. The result is a multi-layered earned media strategy that has boosted our brand reputation, enhanced customer loyalty, and statistically increased visibility across platforms.

In essence, by harnessing the authentic voices of our customers, we create a dynamic and engaging presence on social media that naturally leads to increased earned media opportunities, showcasing the brand in a genuine and positive light.

Rasa UrbonaitėRasa Urbonaitė
CMO, Breezit

Build Relationships with Niche Influencers

An innovative social media strategy I’ve used to drive earned media is identifying and building relationships with both micro-influencers and industry analysts.

Unlike traditional PR, which focuses heavily on mainstream publications, I’ve found that cultivating organic advocates across social platforms generates more authentic buzz and referral traffic over time.

The key is getting my content, insights, and data assets directly into the hands of respected figures with loyal niche followings. I maintain a spreadsheet of relevant voices across my target topics, then share relevant announcements and data with them well ahead of any press release.

Not only does this exclusive ‘first access’ build goodwill, it prompts more shares, citations, and conversations around our announcements than any one outlet alone could provide.

The credibility and word-of-mouth ripple effect from respected industry voices provides compounding awareness. And the relationships become valuable sounding boards for designing future content with resonance. In many ways, social influencers are better catalysts than traditional media alone when aiming for organic visibility and engagement.

Brian MeiggsBrian Meiggs
Founder, My Millennial Guide

Host Insightful LinkedIn Webinars

Organizing a series of LinkedIn webinars with thought leaders in the field, talking about pertinent subjects or sharing insightful analysis, draws in reporters and bloggers looking for expert commentary for their pieces. We position ourselves as a go-to source for industry knowledge and thought leadership by marketing the webinar series on social media and inviting journalists to join. This leads to earned media attention and enhanced brand credibility.

Arman MinasArman Minas
Director, armstone

Create Immersive Virtual Brand Events

From my extensive experience at UKi Productions, an innovative way to leverage social media for earned media includes the development of immersive, brand-specific virtual events that magnify user engagement and content-sharing potential. One profound example of this was our approach to product launches and high-end private events, where we integrated live DJ sets, interactive Q&A sessions, and real-time engagement strategies through platforms like Instagram and Facebook Live. This approach not only showcased the product in a dynamic and engaging manner but also encouraged participants to share their real-time experiences with a broader audience, significantly enhancing our clients’ visibility and brand reach.

A critical aspect of leveraging social media for earned media is harnessing the power of storytelling through user-generated content. For instance, during our gender reveal events and product launches, we encouraged attendees to create and share their content using event-specific hashtags. This strategy effectively turned each participant into a brand ambassador, amplifying the event’s reach and generating authentic narratives around our clients’ products. By curating a gallery of shared experiences from these events, we not only increased the content’s lifespan but also fostered a deep connection with and among our audience, demonstrating the brand’s impact on their personal moments.

Moreover, my role as the entertainment director at The Breakers’ HMF enabled me to observe and implement another innovative strategy: creating exclusive behind-the-scenes content that offers a glimpse into the event planning and execution process. Sharing this content on social media platforms not only piqued the interest of our followers but also humanized the brand, making it relatable and engaging. This transparency and the insider look into the intricacies of event planning fostered a sense of exclusivity and anticipation around our events, generating organic conversations and increased interest across social networks. This approach highlighted the importance of authentic and engaging content in driving earned media through social channels.

Kirill BasovKirill Basov
Founder, DJuki

Share Expertise, Not Products

Credibility proves paramount for us as an impartial software review platform, so we allow expertise to represent our brand on social channels rather than engaging in overt self-promotion. By adopting subtly helpful tones—sharing insights, not selling wares—our earned visibility compounds through assistance rendered.

We primarily educate audiences on navigating a chaotic web technology landscape via bite-sized tips and lightly humorous observations, rather than through formal corporate missives. Followers feel connected to a seasoned guide through the madness, not to a faceless business.

Robert BrandlRobert Brandl
Founder & CEO, Email Tool Tester

Collaborate with Social Media Influencers

Utilizing social media for earned media can be super-successful in generating publicity and engaging with your audience. Influencer partnerships are a great example of this. Collaborating with social media influencers can help you share stories with their audiences, with whom they have created an intimate and valuable relationship. These collaborations can also drive organic engagement, which is key to the growth and conversion rate of your sales.

Kate ChervenKate Cherven
Marketing Specialist, United Site Services

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