Posts Tagged ‘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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Today, I was fortunate enough to get to attend the Social Media Club Conference in Orlando. I have really developed an obsession over social media over the last few months — I’ve been interested in it since I first started learning about it and experimenting with it five years ago. But now I see the real possibilities it brings to people, to businesses, to causes — and to magazines!

One of the recurring discussions today was how social media builds communities around a topic of interest, whether it’s travel or culture or movies or local government. This ability to gather people based on a niche interest has always belonged to magazines — not exclusively, mind you, but it was our badge of honor, our trumpet to advertisers, our flag to hoist. When Web 2.0 came along, some publishing executives embraced it while others quaked in their boots or minimized it as a passing fad those “teenagers” cooked up. Social media is such a natural extension of magazines, and I’m glad to see many media outlets finally getting their arms around it. (Many magazines didn’t adapt and ended up losing their reader base to the magazines that went to where the readers were.)

Some good examples of magazine-created social networks/platforms are Family Circle’s Momster, How Design’s blogs and forums, Martha Stewart’s Community, O Magazine Community and National Geographic’s Blog Central. Of course, several magazines have also ventured into the creation of apps for iPhone/iPad/Android/Blackberry, including Men’s Health, ESPN the Magazine and Cook’s Illustrated.

Publishing executives don’t have to wait for their once-a-month trip-to-the-mailbox impression; they can touch their readers every week, every day, every moment the reader wants to be touched. It’s really an amazing time, an era where a publisher can create content that lands not only on the printed page, but also on a website, in a blog comment, on a forum, in a status update, inside an app, as part of a tweet, and onto the pages of an e-book. Isn’t that amazing?

What other examples do you have of a magazine that has created a successful social media campaign or platform? Does the availability of niche content online make you read printed magazines more or less?

–Tyler Reed

Editor, The Sidebar Review