Carrie Kerpen (@carriekerpen) is the CEO and co-founder of Likeable Media.
She was our opening presenter at the most recent Social Fresh social media conference, in Orlando July 16-18, 2014. Her session focused on owned media, and the value of bringing your social content back to an owned channel.
To Truly Own Your Content Is To Step Away From The Social Network
Carrie has a great story about how her mom disagreed on many things while she was growing up, like always taking photos of her with messy hair (come one mom), but they share a true love…
… A love of all things Oprah.
Oprah is a great example of owned content. Ironically, even her Oprah Winfrey Network TV channel is called OWN.
When Oprah started her own network, she wanted more control over what she was doing. She wanted more control over HER CONTENT. But it took Oprah focusing on the kind of content that resonated with her audience for OWN to go from a lagging channel to success.
It is important for organizations to learn what their customers truly connect with. And it is important to own that content whenever possible.
Don’t Own The Message, Own The Medium
Carrie reminded attendees not to be concerned about “owning your message” or what your community says about you. “We all know that is a fleeting goal of marketing past” she said.
But, because of the reality of social networking present and future, Carrie directed marketers to look seriously at the where their content lives and what value their business gets, both today and far into the future, from the placement of content on social networks only.
As an example of the motivation behind this type of thinking, let’s look at Facebook organic reach over the last 2 years. These numbers are from Likeable Media customers.
Organic Post Reach has seen quite a down turn over the past 3 years. In September 2011 it was 40% and by December 2013 we saw it down to an average of 8%. This puts a spotlight on the need to own our social content.
When we put all of our money and time and content into social networks that change TOMORROW or go away TOMORROW, there is a need for a shift.
Two things that are inevitable in social media.
1. The tools will change.
The way we market on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter this year will not be how we market on those networks in a year from now. You are likely testing marketing on social networks today that will not be here in 1-2 years.
2. Networks will continue to monetize through brands (NOT users.)
Social networks will not ask users to pay. It is the businesses trying to access those users that will pay for the social networking infrastructure.
Building off these two inevitabilities, Carrie asks “Why don’t we focus on owning our own content? We feel we need to spend time where the community is (Facebook, Vine, Twitter), instead of thinking through where the content will benefit our business the most.”
It is important to spend time on the social networks where your community spends its time. “That is not wrong” as Carrie says.
But the ideal is to have this content also live on your owned website. So then the community comes to you and shares your message out to the social networks for you.
The sharing is key.
A blog is the most recognizable form of this owned content that allows your brand’s community to share from.
Carrie recommends a couple other methods for owning your content. In this article we wanted to focus on just one of those recommendations, one that might not be as widely used as blogs, the micro-content hub.
The Microcontent Hub
A microcontent hub is exactly what it sounds like. It is a website or section on your brand website where your community can go to add, discover, and/or share microcontent.
As an example of a microcontent hub, Carrie points to Fruit of the Loom’s Father’s Day GIF registry. For a Father’s Day campaign users could send Dad fun animated GIF ‘vouchers’ through an OWNED microsite.
“When you think about great content to share, you don’t really think about your underwear website,” Carrie said while introducing this unique Fruit of the Loom example.
All of a sudden, through this campaign, Fruit of the Loom’s website wasn’t just a place for underwear. They created an entire content hub. It was the place to start your day happy.
Here is an example of one of the gifs you could share with the message “Dad would start everyday this way if he could”:
Another example of a microcontent hub is the Snickers website. They combine all the social content created for distribution across the web with user generated content from fans.
The site embodies great Snickers marketing images with a splash of their fans’ passion.
Disney made it’s own version of a microcontent hub with a promotional website for the feature film Maleficent. The website was designed to house a ton of preview content from the film, as well as original art related to the movie, that you could not find anywhere else.
And of course it was all one click away from being shared across Tumblr and other social networks.
A section of the Nine West website, their social gallery, is dedicated to featuring fan produced content around the brand. The heavily Instagram inspired page spotlights user images using the hashtag #9WWEDOSHOE.
They call it their Shoe and You Gallery and encourage fans to tag their photos in order to be featured. They also connect the photos to the products in the shots.
“We want to give the community something to talk about. If it’s valuable, it will be shared,” says Carrie.
“It’s not that you can’t share your message, but think about giving your community a reason to visit your website AND share your message. If you do that, you will see far greater rewards.”
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