June 2, 2017

Photo Credit: @lllucasazevedo



The marketing and advertising agency is a crowded, competitive, and evolving market. So how does one rise above the rest? The answer is earned media. It positions you as bold, innovative, and consumer-focused. This blog will educate you on the competitive advantages of investing in this growing form of marketing with some how-to’s and do-not’s. Trust us, your clients will thank you.


Give the People What They Want

It’s no secret today that the consumer is in control. She researches endlessly, compares constantly, and always knows the best questions to ask. If this were a used car lot and you were the salesperson, the amount of educated questions would make your head spin.


However, since you wisely gave up control to the consumer, you need to play by her rules. And if you don’t know the rules, you’ll get left behind. But don’t worry, it’s simple. To successfully market in this dynamic, you need to behave like your consumers, which you already do (because you are a consumer as well!):


How do they learn things?

    • Most consumers get their information on the internet.

Where do they spend their time?

    • Consumers spend hours a day on social media.

What do they care about?

    • Consumers are influenced by their social media acquaintances.

How can my brand take advantage of this behavior?

    • To gain that competitive edge, you need to encourage and share earned media on social media, which reflects your social presence (i.e. website, galleries, reviews etc.).


Tools to Help Your Agency Compete

Social Listening Tools

As mentioned above, efforts should focus on building credibility through social media and your online presence. The first way to do this is to listen to the masses.


Tools like Hootsuite, allow you to listen to what people are saying about your brand and on what channels. This can guide the way you message, who you target and what specific aspects of your company are people latching on to.


User-generated content gathering tools

After you’ve put your ear to the proverbial ground, you will need to start capitalizing. Users on social media are a goldmine of authentic content. People like sharing what they buy if they are especially proud or disappointed in that brand. Think of the social media storm following the United Airlines incident — not ideal. But on the other end of the spectrum, think of ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the amount of money made that went toward research of the disease. Both are examples of the power of earned media, whether it be tweets or Facebook videos.


Tools like ShareRoot allow agencies and marketers to legally search, message, and acquire the content created on social media. Once acquired, those images and videos can be used as marketing or advertising material. This could potentially save your clients thousands, while giving the consumers the authentic content they’re asking for — truly a win-win.


With other marketers and advertisers missing the mark so often in terms of messaging, it only makes sense to have your client’s community do that for you. Sometimes, the best way to compete is to do less.


Live Galleries

The hardest part of running a website is getting people there. The second hardest part is keeping them there. When a potential customer arrives, she will want to know what you are selling, and how that can be used. Like we say around the office, “If you’re not a news site or porn site, who are you, and why should I care?”


Your response shouldn’t be a convoluted mix of advertisements and text, but a set of visual aides that evoke actual reactions. Take the South Bend, Ind. tourism site, for example. It’s tough to inspire a visit to the town known primarily for its Catholic university, yet when someone enters the site, they can see the variety of activities the city offers through its earned media gallery.



Find a UGC site that can build this for you. A professionally maintained gallery can influence many visitors, especially when someone visiting recognizes a post or even sees herself!


New UGC Tools to Look Out For

Companies that specialize in UGC are springing up everyday, and these are not just for marketers. Take GoKrazee.in, for example. They just launched MAAD, which stands for Making Awesome Ads. The app allows consumers to create advertisements for their favorite brands, virtually eliminating the generic ad agency.


Using tools like MAAD and combining that with earned media best practices, is a sure way to gather the most authentic content, for the smallest budget. The app is only for Android users at the moment of publishing this blog, so you might need to invest in a different platform if your audience uses iPhones.


How the Competition Stacks Up

We spend a lot of time suggesting how to do something and sharing UGC best practices. What might be more useful though is knowing what not to do. Here are some tips to help cut costs, and use your money in more efficient ways by holding off on certain conventional processes.


Ditch the Getty images subscription
Companies can spend hundreds of dollars a month for these images, most of which are just used as filler. Since the proliferation of social media, stock images have become used more for memes than to evoke any real reaction.


Reevaluate those expensive photoshoots.
Commercial photographers can charge anywhere from 
$60 to $300 per hour. Those fees start to add up when looking to sell different products. That doesn’t include the price of the model too. If your clients include travel agencies, hotel chains, CPGs or clothing companies, the amount of available content on social media will not only perform better than paid advertisements, but they will cost significantly less.


Avoid the blunders, and let your customers do the talking for you.
Think of all the terrible advertising campaigns recently. That McDonald’s commercial about the 
kid who never met his father, the Kendall Jenner Pepsi Ad, or the Victoria’s Secret: “The Perfect Body” campaign are all examples of how misguided some advertisers are when trying to connect with their audiences. The less you rely on reinventing the wheel when it comes to advertising, the fewer communication mistakes you will make.


The ultimate UGC tool...the ShareRoot Platform

ShareRoot is the most legally secure UGC platform on the market, and it is the only platform that automates the legal agreement process for acquiring rights to user generated photos and videos. If legal is a major concern hindering your UGC efforts, contact us today to learn how you can quickly and legally access rights to user generated content.

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