Advance your social media skills and career


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Course Introduction

Take the Hootsuite Social Marketing course and develop foundational social marketing skills to grow followers, engagement, and business results.

Strategies and Tools to Consider

Now that you know what you want to accomplish, let’s take a look at the various strategies that will help you define the how. You can think about these different strategies as belonging to one of three categories - PAID, OWNED, and EARNED. 

Paid Strategy

A paid strategy refers to social ads strategy such as boosted Facebook posts and Promoted Tweets. You can boost certain messages that were popular with your audience organically in order to give them broader exposure. This in turn may result in greater earned media in the form of shares and comments on your content. 

Owned Strategy

The owned component refers to branded properties you control and can leverage strategically such as your website, blog and social channels. A content strategy would fall under this umbrella - for example a tourist attraction might choose to publish a top-10 series for locals on their own blog and then promote these through their social channels in order to help increase brand awareness. 

Another owned strategy to consider is employee advocacy. This strategy consists of empowering your employees to amplify your brand online and become active participants in the conversations that occur about your services and products. 

Earned Strategy

Earned strategies are often the most credible as they refer to the exposure your brand earns through public acceptance and a strong emotional connection with your business. This includes word of mouth recommendations from previous customers, positive conversations around your products or services, endorsements by influencers and coverage by media outlets. A strong monitoring and engagement strategy that proactively aims to foster goodwill with potential visitors would fit under this umbrella. Setting up search streams on Twitter to find people who are looking for things to do on the weekend, answering questions about the best time to avoid lineups or get the cheapest tickets, or offering a discount to those who might be hesitant to visit are all good tactics to incorporate into your engagement strategy. These positive interactions will increase the likelihood of someone recommending your business to their friends and those authentic recommendations are a powerful tool for increasing your brand’s reach. 

Partnering with relevant influencers can also be part of a persuasive earned strategy as it allows you to spread your brand message to people who share the same interests as your target audience. As an adventure attraction, you might form relationships with well-known local extreme athletes or bloggers who write about exploring the city. 

Lastly, a brand ambassador program that fosters deeper relationships with your most valued customers is another strategy you can adopt. Hootsuite’s course on Growing Your Online Community gets into greater detail about how to build meaningful relationships with both influencers and advocates. 


If you’re developing your social media strategy from scratch, consider the tools you’ll use to support its workflow. This may include Hootsuite for listening, engaging and measuring your interactions, Kapost for curating content your audience may find interesting, or Vimeo for sharing videos. Take stock of the tools your company may have purchased already and those that have been tried and rejected. 

A successful social media strategy will incorporate multiple elements of the Paid, Owned, Earned model to achieve its goals. While the elements all work together, it’s important to take the time to define and systemise how each separate element contributes to your social media objectives so you can test their effectiveness over time. 

Looking for more? Check out our blog and learn how to create a social media strategy in 8 easy steps!