This Guest Post is written by Rebecca Bredholt, of inVocus, and a follow up to her initial post on magazines' use of Facebook as discussed in #MagChat.
The reality is that more and more magazines are using forms of social media, like Twitter and Facebook, to promote their brands and build a community online. Since tracking magazines every day is what we’re doing at Vocus anyhow, we recently added the ability to track what brands are also doing on Facebook and Twitter. As we plugged in this information, I was shocked to see such a high percentage of magazines actively engaging on Facebook. While it didn’t “feel” like most magazines were using the platform, the research shows otherwise.
We looked at magazines that have “pitchable” editorial content in North America and found that about 10 percent of magazines appear to be using Facebook exclusively (i.e., not using Twitter in addition). Categorized by state, you’ll notice that New York has the highest number of magazines using Facebook.
Overall, 47 percent of all pitchable magazines have a Facebook page. With all the staff cutbacks in recent years, magazine staffs are already busy. Is adding Facebook management to their daily tasks a waste of time?
Not at all if you read the recent study from The Economist (July 7, 2011 print edition). You’ll notice that Facebook, after Google, is where people are going online for news.
Facebook’s press site claims that users spend billions (not millions) of minutes perusing content each month—granted some of that “content” is simply pictures of friends and family. My prediction is that magazine brands have seen this data and concluded, “We’re content providers. If we put our content there, maybe it will be read and shared.” Turns out, they might be right.
Facebook released a study on July 13, 2011, about which posts from journalists garner the most feedback and referrals. While our research looked more at the outlet level, not editorial contact, the fact that Facebook is even investing time in this data is compelling.
Not all magazines using Facebook are posting information under the brand title. Some are sharing the page with other magazine brands under one publisher. Westchester Home magazine, for example, is listed under Westchester Magazine’s page next to Westchester Weddings and 941Inc., additional brands under the Today Media Inc. umbrella. However, Wall Posts on the publisher’s page do promote and share content for Westchester Home, such as calls for entry into their design competition. The Wall Post says “Winners of our first Design Contest will be featured in Westchester Home's winter 2012 issue.” As busy as these editors are, they’re investing time into Facebook and Twitter because they’ve learned it’s where consumers of content are spending their time.
With about 52.7 percent of magazines using an active Twitter handle, it’s not long before more titles join the activity. If 50 percent of North America’s top tier magazines have a Facebook page, while 48.6 percent have a Twitter handle, soon the other 50 percent will have to take a close look at whether or not their titles/brand should have one too. Smaller publishers don’t appear to be that much more reluctant (46 percent of what we call small tier publishers have a Facebook page), so involvement doesn’t depend on size, really.
More industry professionals seem to be agreeing that a multi-platform communication approach is the best way to keep their brands in the forefront of everyone’s mind, regardless of whether or not their Facebook fans are also subscribers.
Learn more about Rebecca and her work at Vocus here.