Surveying social: Editorial heads share their favorite tools and platforms
Oct. 3, 2012 – The marketplace is filled with social platforms and management software for publishers to play with, from Facebook and Pinterest to Tweetdeck and Wildfire. But, what works and how are companies evaluating effectiveness? ABM talked to three b-to-b editorial directors – Mike Prokopeak of MediaTec Publishing, Lauren Van Zeyl of Scranton Gillette Communications and Richard Pizzi of MedTech Media – to get their insight on what they use, how they use it and the impact on their businesses.Mike Prokopeak, vice president and editorial director, MediaTec Publishing
Brands: Human Capital Media, Chief Learning Officer magazine, Diversity Executive magazine, Talent Management magazine, Certification Magazine
Hootsuite has been a valuable addition to our social media toolkit. This social media management system allows us to manage all of our active social streams – Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ – in one location. Because we also manage multiple publications, it also gives us one convenient place where our editors can go to manage our conversations across the different magazine brands. So it works on two levels for us: bringing together our various social media streams and doing it across multiple publications.
In addition to managing all of our social streams, Hootsuite also gives us rough analytics. While the data isn’t that sophisticated, it does give us a quick-and-dirty gauge on what readers are responding to, where they’re coming from and what types of content, headlines and editorial packaging appeal to different social communities. That information gets used by our editors to continually refine and repackage our editorial content.
Like many out there, we’re trying to figure out the return on social media, so I don’t have hard results to share. What we do know is that we need to engage with readers actively in multiple ways and not just through our traditional media. Hootsuite is both an efficient tool for developing and nurturing our social relationships with those readers as well as an effective means for our editorial team to gauge reader feedback and interest. Combined with our data gathering via Google Analytics, it offers us a pretty good idea of what motivates readers to spend their valuable time reading our content.
Brands: Residential Lighting, Home Fashion Forecast
Social media links account for 50 percent of the referral traffic to the ResidentialLighting.com website, so we take it very seriously. Half of that comes from Facebook, 40 percent of it comes from Twitter and 10 percent comes from Pinterest, a growing platform for our home furnishings marketplace.
Twitter has been the most valuable tool for us. @Reslightingmag has 2,900+ followers despite having a print circulation of only 10,000. While other platforms like Facebook connect you to people you already know (and vice versa), Twitter can expose your brand to individuals and organizations that may not otherwise know your publication, but who find your information valuable. It has also been an incredible and immediate source of industry information for us. Because it is so easy to post 140 characters (or link them to a story), we often first learn about breaking industry news from our Twitter feed. The ease of posting also enables us to be first with a story even as it is developing. We can get the headline out to our audience even as the details are taking shape and our full story is still being reported. Then we can link to that full story on our website once it is complete. We have also identified a number of sources that have led to great stories through our Twitter connections.
A Twitter anecdote: Two of our major trade shows once overlapped and many exhibitors at the first show had to depart early to set up for the next show. Because of this, several of them missed a major awards presentation at the first show. We posted award winners in real time on Twitter, and were later told that our feed was followed very closely. When you've got key players in an industry following your feed with baited breath, that's powerful.
Richard Pizzi, editorial director of MedTech Media
Brands: Healthcare IT News, Healthcare Finance News, Government Health IT, Healthcare Payer News, PhysBizTech, mHIMSS
The editors who work on our six primary brands use multiple social media tools, but the most effective have been Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. In b-to-b journalism, it's particularly important to use social media platforms that your audience and your sources do. MedTech's readers are, for the most part, executives at hospitals and physician practices. They are all over LinkedIn, and increasingly Twitter and Facebook in a professional capacity. Some of the newer, hotter platforms, like Pinterest, don't have as much resonance for our crowd. At least not yet.
The editorial team uses these platforms to help establish our brand recognition and reputation. Editors also use these tools to establish their own voices as journalists who possess special insight into the healthcare industry. Staffers often spot healthcare story ideas or news on these platforms, harvest sources within the ever-deepening social networks, pose questions for followers to answer and ultimately circulate our own stories. Editors find that these tactics spark conversation about our stories, which offers opportunities to cultivate sources for future pieces.
Our social media outreach efforts, undertaken by staff in both the editorial and new media departments, have led to significant traffic increases for our online publications. We are very diligent about monitoring which readers and industry insiders most actively promote MedTech's content and brand reputation without any encouragement from staff, and we try to cultivate these relationships. Indeed, by strengthening our relationship with readers and sources, social media has helped us gain broader recognition and respect among healthcare executives, and increased our access to news tips from industry insiders.
by Elizabeth A. Reid