Somewhere Between Twitter & Facebook

Ah, the microblog. To most people who know what this is, Twitter is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Limited to only 140 characters, content is short and sweet.

But that’s not the only microblog that exists! What about Tumblr?

When I think of Tumblr, I think of funny pictures and gifs that “normal” people post themselves or re-blog from someone else. I never thought that a magazine would take advantage of this!

But unlike your website and blog, your Tumblr page is more about communicating with your target audiences and less about broadcasting to them. Somewhere between your Facebook and Twitter pages, Tumblr brings your brand’s reputation, products and services to the public arena, creating chatter that goes on every day in homes or around the office water coolers.”

Today, Tumblr boasts 300 million monthly unique visitors. This is an extremely large number, and when thinking about places to advertise or promote your brand, I don’t know why someone would glance past this gold mine of a microblog.

Here are 5 magazines that use Tumblr to their advantage.

1. Vogue

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2. The New Yorker

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3. GQ Magazine

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4. Newsweek

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5. Entertainment Weekly

Screen Shot 2014-04-10 at 10.25.10 AMWith readers able to re-blog content very easily, this platform is similar to many other social media outlets. But why not use Tumblr to promote your content (as well as external content) and share images not seen in the print editions?

You may be thinking…wait a hot second, if my brand has a Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, AND Tumblr, is that too much? Well, yes, there is quite a lot of social media going on there, but as long as there is a method to your madness—I say go for it!

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Why Featuring “Real” Individuals Is Key

Many cosmetic companies take advantage of the popular YouTube beauty “gurus” and send them products to test and review on their channels. This is immensely successful, and a great way to get your company’s name out there. What if magazines did the same?

Image courtesy of Google Images

Image courtesy of Google Images

I have seen a few YouTube videos where girls have said “Oh! I’m in Glamour this month!” and then shown a sneak peek of the specific page they are featured on….this is sort of what I am getting at here. We trust our friends, and we all know that milennials trust strangers online like we would our friends. So if your friend was in a popular magazine and she said you should buy it… would you? Probably.

Image courtesy of Google Images

Kandee Johnson in Glamour. Image courtesy of Google Images

Image courtesy of Google Images

Blair Fowler (@juicystar07) in Seventeen Magazine. Image courtesy of Google Images

“The magazine medium’s essential strength lies in the active way in which readers choose and use their magazines. Magazines are an active medium, with the reader in control.

First of all, purchasing the magazine is a simple way to show your support of that featured individual.
Second of all, you purchased the magazine (the goal of Glamour, etc.).

By allowing the featured individual to tease the magazine online to their audience, you have connected the two, without the consumer even thinking about it. Featuring fabulous celebrities sort of does the same thing, but I think the difference is that people see the YouTube gurus as “real” and “genuine”, unlike some celebs.

Image courtesy of Glamour.com

Image courtesy of Glamour.com

 

For example, Michelle Phan (read about her here), an extremely successful YouTuber who has been featured by multiple magazines, still manages her own community communication, reviewing and replying to YouTube and Instagram comments, Facebook posts and tweets herself. ‘No one does it better than me because I’ve known them for six years,’ says Phan.” The little things, like keeping true to yourself, have created a brand for Phan. I truly believe that readers of magazines want to see these types of individuals featured, and that this can be a strong, driving force in their purchase decision.

Why Voice is Important

Sure, using social media to boost traffic is a great idea, but after 200 tweets of “20 Things You Should Be Keeping In Your Purse – ow.ly/12345”….. do you think people are really reading your content?

Most “normal people” on social media are simply posting about their day, sharing photos, or conversing with other people, not sharing links. Why can’t magazines do the same? Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine are all platforms for conversation. Not one giant RSS feed.

Authentic content requires an authentic voice. Esquire magazine’s web director, Matt Sullivan, is behind the voice of Twitter. He makes sure that the magazine’s social media voice is cohesive with the overall tone of the magazine itself.

“…it’s intelligent and authoritative, and yet it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Articles aren’t delivered in a “[headline] – [link]” format; they tend to be descriptive and, where appropriate, humorous. One-liners, etiquette “rules” and links to articles from other publications are interspersed with Esquire’s own web content.”

Twitter is a great platform because it leads to quick and short conversations. However, other platforms are more difficult to manage; Facebook, for example, may require a little more information than 160 characters, but you don’t want there to be too much information that the reader gets bogged down in. The key is to write the content as if you were chatting with a friend.

Magazine’s use of social media also helps enhance the print edition. Editors often use information gathered from readers who post on social media in future editions.

“The lines distinguishing magazines’ print and online content, their social media projects and their advertising will probably continue to blur.

‘It might take 10 years until we figure out how to master this,’ said [Matt] Milner. ‘Social media transcends departments — it’s beyond edit, beyond sales. It will inform more and more content decisions in a good way, but it’s going to take a little while.’”

Although it seems easy, social media use can and should be strategic, and that’s something that can take a long time to figure out. When to post, what to post, and how to post in order to increase following and traffic is a mystery that few have grasped. Below is an infographic explaining the best and worst times to post on social media! Now you too can harness the power of good social media strategies!

Image courtesy of Social Media Today

Image courtesy of Social Media Today

How National Geographic Improved Following INSTA-ntly

Today, millions of young people sit on their phones reading Twitter, scrolling through Instagram, and clicking through Pinterest. But what grabs their attention? Tweets with links to magazine articles? Maybe. Tweets about free stuff or the chance to WIN free stuff? Definitely.

A survey done by the MPA revealed that readers love promotions and giveaways, and they are a big part of their interest in following a magazine on social media. Incentives of any kind will draw people to a specific user’s social media account.

According to Lauren Wasley, “Contesting can be highly effective when executed as part of a broader public relations and marketing campaign, but no campaign can rely solely on this tactic. What’s great about contests is they provide a way to reach new and existing fans through the channels they use, which today is often social media platforms.”

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A well recognized magazine, National Geographic, took advantage of the “giveaway” idea.

National Geographic also owns a cable television channel: National Geographic Channel. The channel broadcast a mini-series, called Untamed Americas. This show focused on the beauty of the Americas. National Geographic then challenged viewers to show them their “untamed America” by posting wildlife photos and landscape images from their own backyards (hometown, literal backyard, etc) on Instagram. Users just had to use #UntamedAmericas on their Instagram photos to be entered to win.

3 judges, Casey Anderson, Cole Rise, and Cynthia Drescher chose the winning photo (pictured below).

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The winner’s photo was displayed on Nat Geo’s website and they received Instagram-worthy prizes including (info taken from examiner.com):

  • a National Geographic camera bag filled with a Nikon D3100 SLR Digital Camera with 18-55mm VR & 55-200mm VR Lenses & basic kit
  • a Glif (a fantastic tool for iphoneography)
  • a subscription to National Geographic Magazine
  • a National Geographic Channel Jacket, Hat, Water Bottle, Binoculars
  • “Untamed Americas” DVDs
  • a limited edition signed print by Cole Rise.

According to PR News Daily, “Over 6,900 photos were submitted with the hashtag #UntamedAmericas in just over five weeks. Followers on Instagram increased by 55% from 10,781 to 16,817, average likes/photo increased by 205% from 126.2 to 384.81 and average comments/photo increased by 239% percent from 3.5 to 11.88.”

By just looking at those numbers, it can be seen how successful these contests can be. Magazines should be willing to try these contests/giveaways and reap the benefits!

Why Magazines Should Be Using Vine

In 2013, Twitter launched a new app, Vine, and it caught on with users like wild fire.

Courtesy of Mashable.com

Courtesy of Mashable.com

The app allows users to post 6 second videos, and allows them to use video techniques like time lapse to create humorous or informational video clips.

I wanted to research the use of this app with magazines, but when I went to search for information on the subject….nothing. Google failed me! I found a few things, but nothing that really related to the print magazine industry. This made me think. Are magazines not taking advantage of yet another form of social media marketing? I searched for some popular magazines on Vine, and lo and behold, they existed! However, most had not posted anything in many months. Two that had kept an updated Vine were Rolling Stone magazine, and Cosmopolitan magazine.

Rolling Stone has updated consistently about once a month for the last year. Their videos are mostly magazine cover teasers, or videos about a musical group or person. Check out one of their vines here.

Cosmopolitan has uploaded more often, and has also created a funny mini-series called #CosmoWeatherGirl (click here to see a vine!). They show a cute blonde telling jokes or complaining about the polar vortex that was this past winter. I don’t think I could categorize their vine channel like Rolling Stone.

Of the two, I thought users would be more inclined to subscribe/follow Cosmopolitan-like vine accounts because they showcased personality. At least I would be! But Rolling Stone boasts at least 50,000 more followers than Cosmo.

Many magazines have not taken advantage of this app, but there are tons of tips all across the internet discussing how to use Vine for companies and businesses. I have compiled a few here for your enjoyment.

Tips for Using Vine (according to Sprout Content):

  • Content should be intriguing and genuine.
  • The message needs to be short and sweet. 6 seconds is all you have!
  • Content should be visually engaging.
  • Use hashtags!
  • Share your vines on other platforms.

What to “Vine” (courtesy of Website Magazine):

  • Behind-the-scenes of events (whether special, or daily).
  • Previews of content/products
  • Flaunt some humor.
  • Get staff members to contribute.
  • Re-vine.
  • Thank your customers!

You may be thinking, sure, this all sounds great. But WHY do magazines need to adopt yet ANOTHER silly app to try and connect with the reader?

Well, would you rather read a 500-word article on…let’s say a beauty product (could be featured in Cosmo) or watch a cute 6-second video that sparks your interest (and perhaps directs you to an article about it)? YouTube has skyrocketed in popularity. Users love watching videos! Vine isn’t dead yet, people. Analyze your target market, and then determine whether this simple app is worth your while.

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Courtesy of Social Media Today

#IAMPORTER: How Net-A-Porter Listened, Learned, & Launched

Porter-Magazine-Debut-Issue

Image courtesy of fabsugar.com

The main focus of this blog was to take a look at how print magazines use social media to assist them in the promotion of their publication. And it has been said many times that this industry of print magazines is slowly dying, and that social and digital media is the future. So why would a successful luxury ecommerce site, net-a-porter.com, feel the need to delve backwards into the print industry?

Net-A-Porter was launched in 2000 by Natalie Massenet. The idea of online shopping was not nearly as intriguing as it is nowadays.

Image courtesy of Vogue Media

Image courtesy of Vogue Media

“In the first four years,” Massenet says, “there was a lot of desperate hand-wringing, tears and pleading with brands… You’d go through a pitch and say: ‘And then you can click and buy it from pictures and it’s delivered anywhere in the world.’ And they’d listen and they’d nod and then afterwards they’d say: ‘Just tell me one more thing: where is your store?'”

Now, Net-A-Porter is a desirable location for all luxury brands—Stella McCartney, Gucci, Chanel, and many more.

So, let’s go back to my main question—why did Massenet desire to enter the print industry?

After listening to their consumers, the VP of publishing and media at Net-A-Porter said that they discovered many people do not read digital versions of magazines on mobile devices, and she thought that perhaps it was because these magazines don’t offer an easy way to shop. When you read a magazine, you want to be able to find what you see on the page quickly and easily. Porter allows just that. They have integrated their website with the print magazine, and with the swipe of a finger, readers can shop the best fashions that Porter has to offer on net-a-porter.com. Check out this article to learn more about the reason behind the launch of Porter.

Check out this interview with The Business of Fashion’s Inman Amed. Yes, it is 37 minutes long, but after watching the whole video, Porter makes so much more sense. These three women really have a passion for looking out for their constituents and it shows in this interview. [An abridged version can be found here.]

The magazine is published 6 times a year, and as stated in the interview, the magazine is not made to be “disposable”. It is designed to be a magazine you are proud to display on your coffee table and keep for a long time (perhaps this is why it comes with a $9.99 price tag). The Net-A-Porter group knows precisely who they are targeting, women who love luxury, and the design of this publication definitely mirrors that target market’s lifestyle.

How did Net-A-Porter create buzz for their new publication?

Simple. User Generated Content.

Net-A-Porter hosted a contest, the prize being an $8,000 shopping spree on net-a-porter.com. All users had to do was download the “I Am Porter” app from the App Store, take a selfie with that app, and post the result on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #IAMPORTER. By allowing users to be cover models for the magazine, Porter captured the essence of their constituents and learned about them. They created excitement and conversation before the magazine even launched all by taking hold of the “selfie” craze that is sweeping across social media.

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Image courtesy of nikitakarizma.com

iamporterimages

Image courtesy of nikitakarizma.com

Here is a snippet from an interview Massenet and Yeomans had with Life + Times about this app.

“L+T: Tell me a little bit about the app you launched to help get the word out there about the first cover for PORTER. 


NM: We have this brilliant mobile team who has this dangerous ability to go from idea to execution quite quickly. When Lucy and I started talking about the name PORTER, we were at the shows and afterwards while we were re-capping we would say ‘that’s so Porter’ or ‘she’s so Porter’ and what not. We started using the word to describe things and with our app, we wanted to tease the cover. So, we used this mentality. It just seemed like a natural thing to do.

Lucy Yeomans: What’s so interesting to me is that before we even released the cover, we already had 4,000 women (and men and dogs and cats) that had already been our ‘cover models.’ It feels very democratic and very real… and very now. I was shocked by how global it went and how quickly… and it’s not stopping either. You can be ‘Porter’ anytime. This issue is all about ‘A Celebration of Incredible Women’ and the app has worked to our advantage.”

Net-A-Porter is also present in about 11 other social media platforms. Each platform’s approach is different. Twitter is more news-driven and focuses on service, while Facebook is more like “a dinner conversation, in which interesting, light-hearted banter is welcome but blatant product pushing would be jarring and alienate audiences,” according to social media manager Michelle Sadlier.

I am excited to see what the next issue of Porter has to offer, and how it continues to keep the best interest of the “Incredible Woman” in mind, as well as create genuine content by listening to their readers through social media platforms.

Porter-Debut-Cover

Image courtesy of fabsugar.com

Understanding Audience: How Better Homes and Gardens Did It

When Pinterest first debuted in 2011, not many companies saw the potential benefits it could deliver. All except for digital editorial manager of Better Homes and Gardens, Kaelin Zawilinski. Both BHG and Pinterest are based in Des Moines, Iowa, and some staff at BHG opened Pinterest accounts very early on in the site’s development. This started it all.

Founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann. Image courtesy of inc.com

Founders Evan Sharp and Ben Silbermann. Image courtesy of inc.com

After realizing how novel Pinterest was, Zawilinski took advantage of it. In Marketing Land’s “5 Questions With” interview, Zawilinski said “BHG.com is filled with highly pinable content so it made sense for our brand to be on this platform. Around this same time, we saw Pinterest jump from our 116th social referrer to the top five, and since September 2011 it has been our No. 1 social referrer.”

Pinterest Board

Example of boards BHG created. Image courtesy of BHG Pinterest.

As with any social media platform, working out the kinks comes with time. Zawilinski even admits that the content that their audience prefers was not what staff originally predicted. By focusing on broader themes (rather than niches) with pins, they have been able to gain a very strong following. Perhaps this is also because of the extreme “pinability” of Better Homes and Gardens’ images. No matter the reason, BHG harnessed the ability to see into the minds of their readers and constituents—a feat of which any company can be jealous.

Pinterest also makes it easy to track what readers are interested in, thus allowing editors to change content to better target readers. The site also lends itself to attract a younger audience, and girls who repin images from BHG may not even realize that they are slowly being introduced to the brand.

Pinterest Stats

Image Courtesy of Marketing Land

Armed with newfound knowledge, Better Homes and Gardens decided to host a “Pin & Win” contest early in 2012. Customers had to sign up for Pinterest if they had not already, and create a board to pin images from BHG.com onto (user generated content). Requirements were set and the contest was advertised across all other social media platforms. According to Bill Mickey of Folio Mag, “by aggressively participating in new digital platforms like Pinterest, the company is reaching out to a potentially new universe of customers.” BHG has over 500,000 Pinterest followers and over 100 categorized boards, a home décor fanatic’s dream.

By being brave and testing a new social media platform early on, as well as utilizing user-generated content to better acquaint themselves with their constituents, Better Homes and Gardens has proven how important it is to be “…agile and flexible and ready for the next platform to emerge…” a proud Zawilinski stated.