This fall, I had the opportunity to attend Content Marketing World and Dreamforce. At both events, I networked with smart marketers, heard some great speakers, and came home feeling excited, reinvigorated and full of great ideas. Feeling reenergized about my work is a great feeling, and I didn’t want it to stop. So, I decided to make an effort to attend more professional networking events in Chicago so I can meet and learn from even more smart folks in my field.
The first event on my agenda? Social Media Club Chicago’s October meeting. Social Media Club is a worldwide organization with local chapters that connects folks who are passionate about social media. The October meeting billed itself as an “Earned Media vs. Pay to Play Smackdown.” Basically, a panel of social media experts – including the former head of social media for McDonald’s – debated the merits of earned media vs pay-to-play.
So, which side was the winner in this lively debate? If you ask me, there was no winner or loser. Instead, this “smackdown” simply reiterated what I think most folks in this business already know: there’s no “one size fits all” social media strategy. You’ve got to find out what mix works for your company and your audience. In addition, rather than thinking paid vs. earned media, we need to start thinking paid + earned media. I’d argue that you need both elements. Why? Earned media is powerful. A Nielsen study found that 92% of consumers around the world trust earned media more than all other forms of advertisers. But there’s no denying that paid media can definitely play an important role in getting your message heard by the right people, especially on a channel like Facebook where organic reach continues to decrease for brands.
The Social Media Club Chicago October event provided a great opportunity to network with other social media professionals and hear from some smart marketers. I definitely plan on attending another Social Media Club Chicago event in the future.