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The Risk of Social Media Marketing

The Risk of Social Media Marketing
Written by publishing team

Ecommerce marketing decisions are tough. Advertising, SEO, social media, content marketing – they all involve getting a message out to the audience. But depending on the channel, the marketer may not have control over the message, its distribution or even the audience.

Thus, the media channel classification model can help marketers to think about communications in an integrated way. One such model is PESO – paid, acquired, joint, owned.

By organizing tactics into paid, earned, shared and owned media, you better understand who creates the promotions, who owns the audience for the promotions, and who controls distribution.

modes Content public distribution
to push Your business creates content, advertising or promotion. Develop a third party audience A third party that controls the distribution of your content.
happened The client, company, or journalist creates the content. The client or journalist developed the audience. The customer or journalist controls or influences distribution.
Mutual Your business creates content or promotion. Involve your business and a third party in developing the audience. A third party that controls the distribution of your content.
owned Your business creates content or promotion. Your work has developed the audience. Your business controls the distribution of your content.

weight vs. PEO

Social media platforms are an important part of integrated ‘co-marketing’.

However, some socially minded marketers disagree, favoring three media distinctions over four of PESO and grouping cross-media platforms—for example, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok—in the “owned” category.

One could argue that reducing PESO to PEO still achieves the goal of helping people think about communication strategies. But it is wrong to assume that any company owns its own social media content. It is harmful if it means that the company is overemphasizing a channel outside its control.

point of distinction

When marketers apply the PESO model, it is important to consider content, audience, and distribution. These three points differentiate media channels and help define how content and advertising work together.

As the table above shows, your business “creates” owned media content and shared media. Either way, your “work” has grown the audience. But your business has no control over what social media platforms do with the content, and despite the growing followers, the company cannot easily take that audience or transfer it to other channels.

She wrote in 2017, “Shared media describes content that your business creates and is distributed to an audience developed by your company via a platform owned or controlled by someone else.”

This control is the main difference, which is why social media is not “owned”.

Organizing marketing media into paid, earned, shared and owned provides an understanding of who creates promotions, owns the audience, and controls distribution.

Account Suspension

As proof that companies do not have their own social media channels, consider account suspension.

All social media platforms reserve the right to suspend, ban or remove accounts. Specific policies will vary, but any company can post heaps of great content, build thousands of followers, and suddenly lose access to an account, content, and audience.

This happens daily for small businesses.

Content removal

Social media platforms can remove individual posts. This is common for YouTube creators, for example.

When a creator criticizes on YouTube, it is common for the criticizing party to file a copyright complaint, stopping the criticism immediately and forcing the creator to work through the arbitration process.

Business, too, is being shut down. The fact that YouTube and other platforms have content restrictions and often remove individual posts confirms that social media is not “owned” in the normal sense.

Creator’s Economy

Innovators and the so-called creative economy also show that society is not something that companies or individuals can “own”.

While content creators can monetize their content on a particular channel, they do not own their audience or distribute their content. YouTube does. Or does TikTok. Or Instagram does, etc.

For example, in 2019, several YouTube creators complained that the platform’s efforts to comply with the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act unfairly impacted creators’ income. YouTube can limit ads and, therefore, revenue sharing on any content it considers “made for kids” regardless of what the creator intended.

Recently, YouTube creators have been concerned that Google will allow its contract with Roku to expire, reducing views, ads, and income for many channels.

Content creators often encourage their audiences to sign up for email newsletters or communities to counter this issue. If they want to increase their income, creators must exit the platform. Hence another example of why social media should never be ‘ownership’.


The final rationale against classifying social platforms in the “owned” category is that it could erode their popularity. MySpace and now-defunct Friendster were important competitors on Facebook at their highest. no more.

Nothing guarantees that Facebook, Instagram, or any other social site will survive the next five or ten years. Some legislatures and Web3 advocates are seeking to dismantle and replace these platforms.

doesn’t have it

When companies start thinking that they own social media content and audiences in the same sense that they own a blog or email list, they risk losing control of content and customer relationships.

The PESO model aims to help marketers think about communications in an integrated way, to use all four channels appropriately.

Social media is certainly an important part of this mix, but ultimately a company’s content should make a home on its website(s). The customer relationship should be direct, not via an agent like Facebook or TikTok.

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publishing team