Rather than think of social media as a competitor, publishers of print and online content should consider this as a useful set of online tools to promote their content, stay in touch with customers and raise their profile online. Here’s some practical ideas that pioneering publishers are already putting into practice, based on using social networks (Linked In, Twitter, Facebook), forums & Q&As and social content services (YouTube, slideshare, issuu…). The full version of this article is to be published in the May/June edition of InPublishing, but here’s a taster of how social media can actually help your publishing business.
1. Sourcing content
Twitter or relevant forums can be a useful source of content. Business zone (sift media) uses twitter for its members to contribute content during and after its live events.
2. Driving traffic
Placing snippets of content on social media sites can drive traffic back to the main publisher site. Rock Sound, a specialist music magazine, with over 20k twitter followers, now finds social media drives almost the same volume of traffic to its main site as google. Econsultancy have found that social media activity not only creates new sources of traffic, it also has a beneficial effect on their Google rankings.
3. Building relationships and growing commitment
Social media can help build relationships with casual visitors and gradually draw them into the core brand.
4. Researching new markets and finding new customers
In b2b publishing, Linked-in is a great resource for testing interest in new markets and products. Melcrum, a provider of events, content and networking for internal comms professionals, has used Linked-in to build networks and establish their business in Scandinavia and South Africa.
5. Building community and connecting readers
Creating groups on Linked-in or facebook can establish a media brand as an authority on a subject, and enable readers to connect with each other directly.
6. Providing customer service
Social media provides opportunities to solve customer questions quickly, and happy customers can share their experiences with their contacts. The Gadget show has used its facebook page to answer visitor queries, and Bike Magic uses twitter to answer reader questions.
7. Creating commercial opportunities
Placing editorial content on social media sites can create new commercial opportunities. Motorcycle news has a video channel on You Tube, and receives a share of ad revenues. Rock Sound have sold twitter campaigns to mobile advertisers.
8. Marketing events
Social networks can accelerate word of mouth and peers can encourage their contacts to attend. Involving prospective visitors in the content of the event in advance, and asking for their views has worked for consumer events such as the Gadget Show and b2b conferences run by SIPA and Incisive.
Look out for the full article in InPublishing for some more examples and practical tips. Social media is unlikely to be a quick win – many of the publishers quoted above have been experimenting in this field for two or three years. However, it is a great long term strategy if you have access to quality content and actively want to communicate with your readers. Do comment below if you have experiences to share, or join the Specialist Media Network on Linked-in to swap ideas with 240 other specialist media owners. Or attend the Specialist Media Show on 25 May; there are workshops and conference sessions on how media businesses can maximise the value of social media.
About the author: Carolyn Morgan runs Penmaen Media, a consultancy business that creates practical digital media and marketing strategies, with particular expertise with media businesses. Do contact us if you’d like an initial discussion on how to create a pragmatic social media strategy for your media business.