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Social Media – Paid Earned and Owned Media Explained

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The challenging business of generating leads-
Owned, Earned and Paid Media Explained


When it comes to Social Media Marketing, the universe is pretty vast. There are innumerable options one has when it comes to promoting content. There is no limit to the number of people your content can reach. To begin with however, it is integral to understand the various types of media. Once you are able to understand and appreciate this, lead generation will be a cakewalk. Here is all you need to know about various forms of media.


Owned is what belongs to you- something that you control and manage! Using your own Facebook pages and Instagram handles to drive traffic are examples of this. Since this is something that you own, you can reap various benefits. You can easily figure –

      • Who your customers are
      • What they like and what they don’t
      • Why they come back to you
      • Why they prefer your competitors

Since owned media is completely under your control, you have the power to experiment with it the way you want to.

How to manage owned media:

      • Communicate who you are: Since it is your own channel, you can leverage this fact to garner accolades towards your brand, without any constraints
      • Engage with your customers the way you want to: There are no restrictions to what you may or you may not do. So go frame your own norms and do your best to connect with your customers
      • Plan you content: Plan content for your website, blogs, and social media accounts. A variety of content could be developed to suit your needs.


This is the exposure you gain naturally in the process of marketing yourself. Something that you did not directly work for, but rather acquired automatically as a result of your hard work. It can be somewhat referred to as the recognition you receive.

How do you know that you are “earning” media –

      • Positive reviews
      • Reposts/Re-tweets
      • Shares

What makes earned media so amazing is the fact that minimal effort is required from your end. What is not so good about it is the fact that you have little to no control over it, and perhaps this is why things might just go out of hand sometimes. While earned media is most difficult to gain, it is also most effective. There is no limit to the number of people you can reach through earned media.


Paid is something that you purchase and then promote it on another channel. Ads are the most obvious example of this. Once you use paid media, you are in a way driving traffic to your website. The degree of control is lesser than owned media but more than earned media. At the same time, it helps you go viral like earned media, something that owned media may not promise.  So it is a win-win in most cases. You can advertise on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

The 2 most effective ways to engage in Paid Media Advertising are:

      • Promoted Tweets: Once you notice that a tweet of yours on your twitter handle is doing well and garnering attention, you can go ahead and advertise it so that it reaches more people
      • LinkedIn sponsored updates: Promoting gated content through LinkedIn sponsored updates is widely accepted as a great idea! This is because it takes the “time” factor into consideration. When your audience is on LinkedIn, it is beneficial to have some gated content advertised.

Understanding through examples

      • Owned – You Tweet about how effective your consultancy firm is in helping students fulfil their dream of studying abroad.

Since it is your twitter handle and you voluntarily decide to start this discussion, you OWN it!

      • Paid – You notice that this tweet is getting a lot of attention with people asking various questions. This is when you decide to approach various social media channels to advertise this tweet and pay them in return

Since this is something that you PAY for and in this is in turn advertised at a place that you do not own, it is paid media for you

      • Earned – You notice that a lot of people who engage in the chat on your twitter handle share this on their friends’ twitter handles.

Since you haven’t directly done anything towards this and people are voluntarily spreading the news, this is something you have EARNED

In all cases, the one who benefits is YOU! The one who garners attention is YOU! The one who reaches more and more prospective customers is YOU! And the one who generates more and more leads is YOU!

The key is to master how to effectively put each of the three to use. A good social media marketing strategy will account for each of these. A course in social media marketing available online and in multiple institutes all over the country will go a long way in helping you get things right for yourself. Driving traffic to your content will require effective management of your budget, time and effort.


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