What Goes Around: The Cycle of Social Media

Think back to your elementary school days. Along with a lot of other things you learned in science class, you can probably picture the water cycle:

  1. Rain falls, filling lakes and rivers.
  2. That water evaporates, returning to the atmosphere.
  3. Eventually, enough of that water collects and weighs enough to fall as rain once more.

Cycles are a common feature in the business world as well. Everything from individual stores to whole economies go through them.

We’ve talked before about the benefits of a social media presence to your dealership, and why you should be leveraging not only your organic presence but a proactive paid strategy, as well.

But that can be easier said than done. If you never take a step back to see how your social media marketing strategy works in a cyclical way, it can be difficult to figure out where to begin.

Let us help you identify the three parts of the cycle.

Earned Media

In a lot of ways, earned media is like your reputation – it’s what’s being said about you in the marketplace (think word-of-mouth, or, more appropriately for these times, online review sites).

On social, this takes the form of sharing, mentions, reposts, reviews, recommendations – all the ways that potential customers interact with your brand away from your oversight. Because of that, earned media is the channel potential customers trust the most.

The critical question is: are you influencing the conversation people are having about you? Even more fundamentally: are you monitoring what’s being said about your brand?

Influence the conversation for the positive with quality, curated content, boosting your page rankings and SEO strategy and ultimately steering traffic to two places: your organic social presence and your website.

Owned Media

Once you’re influencing through the trusted medium of earned media, the potential customer’s next stop should be your organic presence on social or your website – two forms of owned media.

Here you put the definitive stamp on your brand, and the message you want visitors to come away with.

As with all stages of the Social Media Marketing Cycle, quality content is key to pulling off valuable owned media that engages, informs, and presents actionable insights for potential customers.

Owned media also presents your first opportunity to engage directly with customers, meaning a thorough understanding of your target audience and the best ways to meet their needs is critical.

Paid Media

Your paid advertising efforts on social complete the cycle. With a focused paid strategy based on data-driven targeting, you can reach both:

  • Potential customers who have either been drawn in by your organic presence or who may now be directed to it
  • Repeat customers who are satisfied with their experience and then spread the word via earned media, in effect becoming influencer marketers for your business

Once again, the best use of paid media is to promote quality content in order to both drive a positive reputation in earned media and direct potential customers to your organic presence, or owned media.

Conclusion

Like all cycles, your social media marketing strategy is self-reinforcing: start doing one part well, and the other parts get a little easier, until eventually you have a sustainable system for driving traffic and profit in place.

  1. Monitor and influence the conversation people are having about your brand.
  2. Engage customers with quality content that demonstrates you’re ready to meet their needs.
  3. Target and retarget potential and repeat customers with useful, actionable offers that drive traffic back once again.

If you’re ready to graduate from science class and go all in on a cyclical strategy for social, talk to one of our consultants at 855.NKD.LIME or email info@nakedlime.com.