Social Media – New Marketing Opportunities

Developing new media systems for well-established media companies will include creating a new social media presence whilst also maintaining traditional practices. This is especially true for online newspaper editions that will be refreshed significantly more often than the morning and afternoon edition, in addition to print magazines which are updated more frequently than one time weekly. In addition, network television broadcasting stations are now posting their programs – although often with shorter and different advertising on certain websites.

When it comes to marketing strategies for creating social media presence on sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare, there is really no singular new media solution. This is because incorporating or moving towards new media in most cases will involve many different technologies, skills and techniques. As an example, for a retailer who would like to expand his or her business online this move might require the posting of logos and branding utilized in print documents to the digital format; the creation of a online business website: a domain name; developing a company weblog as well as the approach to use Twitter and Facebook; development of online marketing campaigns and also possibly inclusions of videos to be published on YouTube.

These days, most people are taking advantage of the opportunities to boost their business on these networks including online communities like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, because this is one of the most popular ways to carry out social media marketing. One of the main advantages of using these social media sites is that you will have an opportunity to reach a much larger audience.

Media marketers can also make use of social bookmarking websites, blogs, forums and rating or review websites. Additionally, this type of media promotion could be carried out through virtual 3D networks, news aggregators and social media sharing websites which allow users to swap music, videos and photographs.

What Is Social Media and How Can Publishers Get Started?

The number of hours Americans have spent on the internet has increased by 121% from 2005, as revealed in a study by North American Technographics Benchmark Surveys from 2005 to 2010. Most of this time is spent connecting with people, sharing one’s life and experiences, finding out the most updated information on any topic of interest – all using social media. As a publisher, this is an important tool in understanding your readers better, garner more fans and followers. Here’s the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of social media for publishers who want to start engaging readers using the latest technology available.

What is Social Media?

Authors of “A Complete Guide to Social Media” – Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein define social media as follows: “A group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, which allows the creation and exchange of user-generated content.”

Social media can take many different forms including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, micro-blogging, wikis, podcasts, pictures, videos and social bookmarking. Social media creates a platform on the internet to enable people to communicate and share information and resources.

What are the different types of social media options and who is using them?

Based on readers’ usage we have three of the popular social media networks, which are creating an interactive awareness for various magazine publications.

Twitter is a micro-blogging and social networking site, where users can broadcast to the world what they are doing, or what is on their minds within a 140-character limit. These broadcasts are also known as tweets and are not just limited to text sharing but also picture sharing through yFrog. By 2012, Twitter has gained over 500 million active users generating over 175 million tweets daily. Approximately 52% of all magazines have a Twitter account in the US and Canada alone.

It is one of the top 10 visited websites and is known as the ‘SMS’ of the internet. Tweets with web links are also used to drive traffic to the main site of the magazine.

Twitter has over a 100 magazines listed globally out of which the top 11 magazines have over 1 million followers each. People and Time are on the top of the list with over 2 million followers.

Facebook is the world’s largest social networking site with more than 900 million users in 2012. It enables its users to connect with friends and colleagues by sharing ideas, pictures, videos, web sites, blogs and any other web-related content. It is also the most popular way to make new friends and keep in touch with friends and relatives.

Facebook offers a more engaging option for magazine publishers with daily posts and sharing of links to their magazine page. This triggers ‘likes’ and discussions in the form of ‘comments’ among the readers, simultaneously letting the publishers know the readers’ perspectives. Playboy (4.4 million likes), Readers Digest (1.1million likes) and Parents (0.8 million likes) are the top three popular magazines on Facebook.

Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social media services in the world. Pinterest is a pinboard-style social photo-sharing website where a user can create and manage theme-based image collections such as events, interests, hobbies and more. The mission is to connect users through the ‘things’ they find interesting via a global platform of inspiration and idea sharing.

According to Mashable.com, Pinterest is becoming the top traffic driver for women’s magazines. Style, home d├ęcor, food and weddings are amongst the most popular pinning categories among the site’s more than 10 million registered users, majority of who are women. Pinterest users turn to the website of lifestyle magazines early on for material, and many publishers moved quickly to harness Pinterest’s potential as a traffic driver by creating their own branded accounts.

How you can get started?

Brian E. Boyd, a social media expert and consultant, in his speech to the class of ORU, has presented four start-up tips to get started on social media networking:

1) Know what they already know

First, know what people are saying about your brand by using Twitter alerts. Magazines have used tweets to interact with their readers – tweets with questions can trigger a response from readers.

2) Create strategies for interactions

Start by creating strategies for interactions with people by using Facebook pages or video links. Organising any event to interact with the potential readers and your editorial staff also can be very informative in strategising for future projects.

3) Create a sharp message

Craft an effective and sharp message to get across to people. Many magazines on Facebook have their own pages containing posts that are very informative in letting the audiences know what the publication is focused upon. Facebook’s timeline has a new added feature – Cover Picture. A few magazines have used this feature to sum up the essence of their magazine in the form of a simple picture or a note.

4) Create interaction with readers

Interact with your readers to answer their concerns or create groups sharing a common interest. Twitter and Facebook receive amazing feedback in the form of retweets or comments. This helps a magazine to engage with their readers and stay updated on their growing expectations.

Social media is time consuming, so a steady investment in research on growing trends, well-planned strategies and learning interactions, social media can prove a fertile approach for Independent publishers with strong relevant content.

So What EXACTLY Is a Social Media Marketer & Why Do YOU Need One?

A Social Media Marketer partners with small businesses and individuals to help them grow their customer base, increase their sales, gain better customer and brand visibility and help create and maintain superior online marketing strategies.

Social Media Marketer (noun): An online cheerleader that helps foster brand recognition, creates a customer buzz and builds a positive reputation for you or your company through various social media channels (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, You-Tube, Blogs, etc.).

Back in the days when the Internet first started, people and businesses wondered why they needed a website and online presence at all. After all, only scientists and computer geeks were online and THEY weren’t their target audience. Eventually (actually WAY faster than “eventually”), people realized that having a website that advertsied their products was a good thing and websites quickly became an essential marketing tool.

As the web grew, and more and more people were online, websites needed to provide MORE. They needed to be interactive, they needed to allow a consumer, client or a “fan” (this is now a KEY idea) to get information from or ask for support from the company’s online presence.

Now, let’s move forward about 15 years. Suddenly texting and Twitter and Facebook have entered the online arena, and Web 2.0 development began. Blogs (Weblogs) started popping up everywhere. Although Social Media began with the younger, “hipper”, more social set it has grown exponentially year after year.

To be quite honest, my friend, we are at the beginning of the next Web gold rush. No longer can a static website that requires a person to find YOU do the marketing job of the past. The Yellow Pages are dead. The newspaper print subscriptions are dying. There is SO much going on online that is APART from surfing that JUST having a website simply will NOT do it for you or your company anymore.

At this point MOST people are checking their email, logging onto Facebook, reading their RSS Feed subscriptions and/or following people on Twitter. They are looking at You-Tube for fun or informative videos and sharing their links on Delicious (a social bookmarking site). If Facebook were a country it would be the SECOND largest country in the WORLD. Now that’s a WHOLE LOTTA traffic!

So why does this matter to you?

Because NOW you NEED to create a BUZZ online. You want to keep you and your business on the top of people’s minds. You need to market on a more personal or social level. AND you need to figure out HOW to get yourself set up, you need to MAINTAIN your social sites and you need to keep your sites from becoming static and stale.

A Social Media Marketer can help you figure out WHO your target audience is and WHERE your audience hangs out online. They will also help you figure out WHAT the best way to market to them is, through WHICH social networks and WHEN you should be sending out your updates for maximum impact.