How Social Media Works for Magazines

Posted: February 27, 2011 in Articles, For Editors, magazines, publishing, Social Media
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I’ve mentioned before how enamored I am of social media. It’s something I’ve been pushing at work for ages but haven’t had a lot of buy-in. Recently, someone has come in who is as excited about it as I am, and she let me go to our company’s biggest event of the year and Tweet and Facebook about it the whole time. The result? Hundreds of new followers and serious engagement from our people. That is amazing!

It seems like I’m going off track here, but I’m not really: I work for a publishing company, and because The Sidebar Review critiques magazines, I’m going to explain why it’s important for magazines to jump into the fray. (Most already have, but I still want to share my observations.)

  1. Our community was dying to connect and didn’t really know how. We gave them the “how.”: We had about 20,000 followers on our Facebook page before our big event. They occasionally chimed in when we asked them a question or posted a photo if they felt inspired. But in the last month, we have gained 3,000 followers, and they are posting everything — photos of their fish, their boats, bass pros; comments negative and positive; mistakes they saw on our website; questions about customer service matters; videos of them singing songs they wrote; and praise for their favorite pros. We had no idea how starved our audience was for more interaction with us, with the brand and with fellow fishermen. It was beautiful.
  2. Our brand has a “face” now.: Our brand is strong, but we’ve known for a while that people felt disconnected from us — like if they called or e-mailed us, they may or may not hear back, and if they did hear back, they may or may not hear from a human. Now, our readers have a direct line to us. One asked on our Facebook page if we would allow siamese twins to fish our tournaments as a single person then combine their catch; I replied, “One tournament entry per brain.” This guy thought it was hilarious. (I thought it was mildly amusing, but he really cracked up.) I think that guy will always remember our brand for that. And that’s important because people connect with people, not businesses; we’re finally a “people” again.
  3. Our followers feel special.: One Twitter follower commented that he was getting information faster from me through Twitter than through our auto-update website during the weigh-in. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but he felt like it was. I was recapping for him in an almost-live stream what was happening on stage, and he said he felt like he was there because of me. Another guy told me he and his family were at dinner but they were all crowded around his iPhone watching my Tweets. He felt like I was catering to him and his family when they couldn’t be near a computer. How cool is that?

We are so much more than a magazine. We always have been. But now our readers know that too. And that makes me beam with pride!

Do you connect with any magazines through social media? What has your experience been like?

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review

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Comments
  1. flyinggma says:

    I’ve never tried to connect with a magazine before with social media. I might be tempted to try if I knew how to do it. I’ve never tweeted before or watched how it is done. I also don’t know about StumbleUpon, Digg, or Reddit. It may be time to start reading up. Jeanne

    • Hi, Jeanne! The quick answer is, you can do it without any real knowledge; that’s one of the things that’s so great about it — low barrier to entry. You just search for your magazine/company, then leave a comment/question/suggestion. It makes it open to (just about) everyone. StumbleUpon, Digg and Reddit help you find articles of interest and post your own so others can find them.

  2. Lisa Reay says:

    Its amazing the difference that social media can make to a business! Businesses often want to use social media to interact but might not be quite sure how to do it! You’re right it often does make a business look human again as there is someone there to interact with the customer.

    Lisa

    • Thanks, Lisa! It is a little daunting at first for businesses to get their arms around (and still more daunting once you realize all the possibilities!), but just dipping their toes in the water helps — the rest we’ll all figure out! Thanks for stopping by.

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