Posts Tagged 'Online Community'

Do We Have Enough Friends Yet?

A breakdown of how magazines are utilizing social networking to build brand awareness, enhance reader loyalty and maybe earn a dollar or two.

Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, Orkut, Friendster, etc.

Facebook apparently isn’t killing productivity and you can unblock these websites should your employer feel otherwise. However, the pope doesn’t think it is a good idea and it is making your teenage daughter depressed. So what should magazines do on social networking sites? At Allen Printing and Publishing Inc., we’ve been carefully crafting a plan to interconnect our print magazines, websites, and social pages together. Our official social strategy launch for HORSEpower Magazine should happen later this summer.  In the meantime we’ve been experimenting and examining some of the options these sites can provide.  In this post I’ll take a look at two strategies for publishers to captivate the masses.

Social Pages

HORSEpower's Fan Page

Facebook and MySpace ‘pages’ are the most common first step initiatives for publications. They allow pubs to create a free space where people can proclaim their love for the creator’s magazine. I’ve often been baffled by what real opportunities are here, it certainly is another great place to drop a back link to a corporate website. Discussion boards, wall posts, user photos are all cool, but a quick search of publications that have these free pages shows that very few users post media or text that can hold a reader’s interest.

The real gold of a social page is the collection of fans and friends. When users click ‘become a fan’ or ‘add me as a friend’ the owner of the page is able to send in network emails. It’s a great way to build an email blast list, which can be used to promote an advertiser, generate more subscriptions, or keep in contact with a fan/subscription base. The real questions are: Do in network emails burn out a users patience faster than traditional emails? Are in network blasts more effective than traditional email blasts at generating click through action? Do users read these blasts at a higher rate?

You’ll probably never know until it’s too late. I would recommend a conservative approach until you can measure the enthusiasm levels of your readers.

Follow me if you want to live…Or save big with instant promotions

Twitter PageTwitter users fall into two categories those who get it and those who don’t. Twitter is definitely for establishing a reputation as an expert. Businesses have used it to push coupons and the latest sales items on their e-commerce site, however the followings are usually pretty small. Promotions via twitter need to be big and not every day. A big juicy coupon now and then will help keep you sticky.

If you’re a text driven magazine there is an opportunity to have your writers publish and engage in targeted discussions with back links to your publication, advertisers, and highlights of what your readers are doing. If online community is a top priority for your publication promoting your readers is easily the way to go. I think advertisers will start beating down your doors if your readers are well promoted and engaged via twitter. I imagine twitter engagement as thousands of 140 character testimonials. “yes we read, yes we like, yes we buy!”

Get yourself several thousand followers and you’ve got another opportunity to sell text/link advertising.

I’m not sure if it’s working for the Wall Street Journal, but I’d try following Walt. He does have over 14,000 followers, I’m sure the sales department at WSJ has noticed this.

How are you meeting friends and influencing people online?

I’m curious to hear about other successful strategies for engaging readers for both brand building efforts and creating additional advertising revenue opportunities.
Post your thoughts below.