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At every critical moment on the path of exploring content on different digital distribution channels, magazine publishers should catch potential customers’ attention and offer them tailor-made value encouraging to visit their website. The goal is to build a loyal audience base, which will eventually lead to monetization on the next level of a sales funnel. The direct road to achieve it is through social media which are the best way to promote magazine brand successfully.

Have you ever wondered what factors affect people’s buying decisions? This process is mainly determined by the recognition of the brand or someone’s recommendation. Products you already know or heard about are taking precedence among the others during the purchasing.

Social media marketing is based on a similar mechanism – building brand visibility, getting recommendations and easy sharing function – all those elements foster recognition of the product by customers. For publishers, this is a perfect opportunity to present a piece of their content to a wide audience. It results in improving website traffic and generating more revenues whilst reducing marketing costs.

To turn all social media activities into gold, it’s necessary to know where to be and how to do it right.

That’s the main reason why we’ve started a series of articles dedicated to specific social media platforms. The goal is to equip publishers with proper knowledge that allows to make profits without sharing them with technology companies.

Facebook is our first shot. In just a moment you’ll find out that it can be your greatest friend in the social media journey.

Magazine publishers and social media – perfect connection?

The latest research of the publishing industry conducted by The Association of Magazine Media and collected in Magazine Media Factbook contains the conclusions showing social media as an important space for magazines:

  • the connection that magazine brands have with their social media fans is strong and, in the majority of cases, it surpasses the ties that social media followers have with the most popular non-magazine brand sites,
  • consumers are enthusiastically interacting with magazine media brands on social platforms.

The attendance on social media channels is a win-win situation for both sides: publishers and consumers. The key is to meet in the same places and… encourage the customers to relocate: to magazine’s website, company’s blog or brand’s mobile app.

Let’s be clear – it doesn’t make sense to create an account on every social media channel. It’s better to be in the right places than everywhere.

What exactly is the right place?

The best answer could be “where your readers are”. But what if I make risky assessments that some social media channels are predestined to holding specific types of content? Look. Is there a better place for a cooking magazine than YouTube? Or Instagram for a fashion magazine? Twitter for politics news? LinkedIn for a business magazine?

Even if there is some simplification in it, there is one thing for sure – every single one of the above mentioned social media channels is a solution that can provide the easy function of sharing the content on an unprecedented scale. Translating it into marketing language, there’s nothing else like free PR, which is driven automatically by users. The publishers’ role comes down to getting followers and making them fall in love with the content published on social media platforms.

Which one to choose?

The big three

The Association of Magazine Media studies shows that Facebook is the social media behemoth, and accounting for nearly half of the magazine brand industry active audience. Instagram takes the second place with 29% of industry fans and the highest registered growth rate for the last three years. Twitter is the third (24%) in terms of most liked/followed social network and still has about one-quarter of industry fans.

Facebook is the social media behemoth
The most popular social media platforms by editorial category

Despite the conflict with technological giants, publishers still indicate Facebook as the most important platform to build brand awareness and increase the audience. Half of the respondents also point Instagram (belonging to Facebook incidentally).

Facebook is the most important platform to build brand awareness and increase the audience
The most important social media platforms for publishers

The similar situation can be observed with news consumption, where Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms dominating in getting information category nowadays. Here’s how many people use these channels to consume news:

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are platforms dominating in getting information category

All the above mentioned research can be a living proof that it pays off for publishers to be on platforms like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. They undeniable dominate in the magazine industry proving that traditional newsstands are being replaced by social media newsfeeds for good.

These studies also show that there’s only one king at the moment.

The rest of this article is focused on showing good practices of social media marketing on Facebook that can bring publishers enormous results.

Facebook – best practices

Based on the popularity of Facebook, you can say that if you are not on this platform, you don’t exist. Well, actually I know many people without Facebook accounts and they’re fine.

However, this phrase can contain a grain of truth if we talk about magazine publishers.

Despite all controversial aspects of Facebook, the fact is that the majority of publishers choose this platform because it drives far more click traffic than any other. So it’s not about whether or not to be on Facebook, but rather how to be there and build a loyal audience, and at the same time preserve your independence and don’t share profits with this technology giant.

– What exactly is the publishers’ goal of being on Facebook?

It might seem that the number of followers, likes, and shares is the reflection of the brand’s success. In fact, this is only the first step to win. There’s much more at stake – increasing the engaged audience and more visitors on publishers’ own media channels. The art of being on Facebook consists of redirecting the loyal user to the website, blog or mobile app. Facebook should be a way to achieve goals, not a goal in itself.

Look how Essential Magazine Australia does it:

Magazine promotion on Facebook
Essentials Magazine Australia profile on Facebook.

Everyone who visits their Facebook profile, will first see the pinned post notifying that their magazine is available also via mobile app. This announcement appears also several times on their newsfeed among other posts informing about articles published on the website (with a link to it). Facebook is a place thanks to which users can explore the brand more, and the posts tell people what the magazine is about and how to get it.

There are several places on your Facebook profile (“about”, “story” sections) where you can place links to a website, digital kiosks, blog, app or, eventually, other social platforms. All this additional information can be shown in a graphic form or as a little text on the cover photo – visitors get the information that you’re active, easy to find and reliable.

There’s something else on the screen above that is worth mentioning – look at the upper right corner. Next to the standard “Send Message” button there is another one: “Use App”. I’ll say it again – the basic rule of using Facebook is to redirect readers to publishers’ channels which are full of high-quality content. The increase in traffic matters because it enables publishers to control their own fate. They have more data on user behavior, which enables them to better target readers with more content and offers for subscriptions, and encourage different actions.

All Essentials Australia Magazine profile speaks loudly and clearly that Facebook fulfills only the redirecting function, giving its traffic to external publisher’s channels.

Decide for yourself who is the winner here.

– What if you haven’t had a magazine app yet? What call-to-action button should you choose?

“Sign up” will be a great choice for most publishers. It is leading directly to an email newsletter signup form. This gets interested users immediately into a valuable interaction with you. If they click, you’ll get an email address. You can use it to build a database of email addresses – this way you would be able to stay in touch with them by sending news, sales offers and information about special events or actions.

“The New York Times” used this tactic. When you click the “Sign Up” button on their Facebook profile, you’ll be taken to the subpage informing about the newsletter’s benefits. There’s an option to see a sample of the newsletter when you move to the website – that way you know what you are getting into.

CTA button on Facebook
The New York Times encourages to sign up for newsletter.

Move your followers

Every publisher needs to be focused on converting casual visitors into loyal users and subscribers. Concentrate on those social referrals which are driving loyalty. Google Analytics flags this up in weekly stats. Start focusing on what content drives deeper engagement, which metrics drive a deeper relationship with your content, your brand and your business.

What if the number of Facebook followers is not reflected in the number of website visitors or app downloads?

Try to remind yourself how many times you have visited some brand’s profile, then you clicked “follow” on impulse and you’ve never come back.

When you start your journey with social media, every “like” or new follower makes you extremely excited. After a while, the number of impressions and website visitors ceases to rise, as well as the amount of money you have.

What’s going on?

Well, you don’t give enough reason for your fans to explore your brand more. The path from random followers to highly engaged users leads through creating an emotional connection and Facebook is perfect for this.

Make people feel special

Social media posts are incredibly powerful. It’s not only about engaging people. There is a whole scale of emotions, feelings and needs behind it.

The first example. Ask people about the next magazine number cover before the issue is ready. The post can include an easy copy with two photos – “which one is better in your opinion?” This simple idea gives people the power to decide, the expectation related to which one will win (“mine” or not?), and the satisfaction (when the result is be compatible with their wish). It’s natural that they will follow the action just out of curiosity.

The second example. Carry out a survey related to the topics readers want to see inside the magazine in the future. It makes them look forward to the next issue. When the work on the article will be in progress, gradually heat up the atmosphere: show a moving or a little bit controversial bit of the unpublished text which will for sure generate some discussion and make people look forward to reading the full version.

The third example. Show something that readers won’t find in the magazine: behind the scenes of the interview, your daily work, members of your team. People just like it! And have the impression that they get something special. It’s also a way to show your brand from a different side.

Regardless of the post type you choose, it should look good on smartphone screens, especially when you put photos or videos – 96 percent of active user accounts worldwide accessed the social network via mobile devices. Take care not only of the parameters and readability of the post but also about catching attention during fast scrolling by a thumb.

Hint: Vertical photography looks best on smartphones because it fills the entire space in newsfeed and thanks to that it focuses the user’s attention longer. Check before publishing whether Facebook has pixelated the graphics after it has been loaded.

Engaging and mobile-friendly posts concepts ensure that your Facebook users will be part of your magazine, and also its creators, someone important whose thoughts, needs and habits matter.

Being part of a project is as much important for people as belonging to a group.

On the way to getting loyal fans, you can go a step further and create a Facebook group that focuses on some topic your readers are engaged in. For example, New Yorker brought to life a group called The New Yorker Movie Club. In the description we read:

In this group, one of our film critics, Richard Brody, will share weekly movie recommendations and discuss them with our community of film lovers. We also hope you’ll use this space to analyze and dissect your favorite (or least favorite) movies of the season, as well as notable films from the past. Beyond Richard’s contributions, other movie-obsessed New Yorker staff writers and editors may even weigh in with their own thoughts!

Does it work? The group exists since July 10, 2017 and has gathered close to 30.000 members since then.

The New Yorker Movie Club – group on Facebook
The New Yorker Movie Club – group on Facebook.

A Facebook group you manage will let you create your own personal brand as an expert, and this is priceless! The point is not to sell the magazine issue and not to promote it when it’s out of touch. Participate in a discussion in a substantial way, encouraging others to trust you.

It’s more than being in touch with current or potential readers – observing them and what they’re talking about provides knowledge about their needs. It’ll give you much more information than any analytics or monitoring tools (without spending money).

You can say that the movie topic is right on the money. It is wide and has a lot of fans everywhere, even if they aren’t “The New Yorker” readers. It was extremely easy to collect members. I’ll venture a statement that every magazine brand can have its own fan’s group – there is always something that draws the attention of most readers. If I’m wrong, correct me and give an example of a magazine where creating a focused group is impossible. We like challenges.

If you decide to start a group, consider of CTA button on your Facebook profile. People should know about your initiative and this is one of the best ideas to inform them.

Look how “Just The Real News” did it:

Encourage people to visit Facebook Group
Just the Real News on Facebook.

If not Facebook, then what else?

The digital revolution certainly expanded the promoting and marketing possibility and Facebook is a leader as a social media channel for publishers.

There are a lot of reasons attracting publishers to social media: getting their magazine brand recognized, liked, and shared, generating more revenue, reducing marketing costs, gaining credibility, and, as a result, increasing the number of website visitors. Before you choose the channel, it’s worth checking where your target group is, and also figuring out… where your competitors are. If it’s Facebook, follow the tips above. If it’s something else, let us know so that we can prepare content which will turn you into a social media master in the publishing category.

Which social media channel do you want us to explore?

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