Social media and the management of it, is the topic of a lot of our conversations these days. Whether your goal is to sell more copies at the newsstand or to gain new subscribers, building a strong brand for your magazine is still the key. Your ability to gain new readers, and engage with your current, devoted readership, comes from your brand’s authority - and one of the best ways to build that is through the savvy use of social media.
You may be thinking that social media is the last thing on your to-do list and we hear from publishers regularly that they don’t have the time or manpower to dedicate to it. But it doesn’t have to be a crazy, arduous task. With some strategy and planning, creating your social content can easily be incorporated into your magazine timeline, resulting in that sought-after brand authority.
As magazine publishers, you are actually in an ideal position for populating social channels as you are already engaged in a dialogue with your audience. Social media is a natural extension of that conversation. Think of it like a dinner party with your audience; you wouldn’t read them a whole article from your magazine over dinner but you might casually bring up a great piece and give them a highlight or two.
Getting your magazine out there in the social universe doesn’t have to be a reinvention of your content - you already have the copy and images to work with. We suggest to our clients, that for efficiency and to maintain intent, it is optimal to create the content for your social channels while you are creating the magazine. Here are some strategies we follow when planning for a magazine’s social:
1. Choose your channels wisely.
You already know who your audience is so you can easily figure out what social channels they’re on and you can choose to be there too. Check out Futurpreneur.ca (http://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/2016/a-breakdown-of-social-media-platforms-and-their-uses/) for a great breakdown of who is hanging out where. We suggest that you only commit to the channels that you can maintain on a regular basis and if you find that you can’t keep up with one, delete it rather than letting it get stale.
2. Use a Strategy Roadmap.
(We have a template that is available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org) A roadmap will allow you to clearly define goals, objectives and initiatives. Having a plan for each channel is helpful - at K9, for example, we use Facebook for our fun, team-based posts and Twitter and LinkedIn we keep more business focused.
3. Define your voice for each social media channel.
Remember that this is the more casual dinner party chat so we recommend that you keep it short, simple and channel specific - what works for Facebook may not work for SnapChat for example. Give some thought to being consistent with both content and image treatment.
4. Create shareable content.
By creating useful and shareable content, you widen your reach as your followers repost, retweet, and ‘like’ your posts. This is incredibly valuable for your brand authority and recognition. Have a look at this example from Forbes Magazine - they’ve taken an article from their publication and created smaller, bite-sized pieces with related images. These are more appropriate in length for social and they are also shareable by their audience.
5. Be SEO ready.
For Search Engine Optimization, when you post an image to a social channel, you have an opportunity to create a title and description. We advise using words that relate to the topics that your audience is searching for. This is a great way to drive readers back to your social channels, website and ultimately convert them into magazine buyers. Look for our post on this blog next month for a more in-depth look at SEO and your magazine brand.
When in doubt of whether or not a post is appropriate for a social channel, ask yourself if it’s inline with your magazine brand. We have created a handy checklist for ourselves that we use in-house for our social content with questions like, ‘Is this information useful for my audience?’ and ‘Is this something my audience would share with their friends?’. With your brand voice front of mind, and some dedicated time to your strategy, you will be able to post consistently and grow your audience.
Norm is Creative Director and founder of K9 strategy+design and has 25 years of experience directing, strategizing and designing for publishing clients such as Rogers, Ski Canada Magazine, Alternatives Journal, Homes & Cottages Magazine and Metro News. Over the years, Norm has also assisted TELUS, Bell, Sirius, BMO Nesbitt Burns, American Express and countless entrepreneurial, professional and non-profit clients with their branding and communications opportunities.