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Building strong magazine brands through social media

Building strong magazine brands through social media

Author | Shree Lahiri | Wednesday, Oct 12,2011 8:32 AM

Building strong magazine brands through social media

Leading editors from around the world spoke at length on how social media was being successfully leveraged by magazine brands in two insightful sessions on ‘The social media phenomenon, how magazines can benefit’ and ‘Magazine media innovation in a 360 degree environment’ at the 38th FIPP World Magazine Congress.

Create powerful social ideas is where the genius lies, is what the first speaker at the 38th FIPP Magazine Congress elaborated on, and the topic was ‘The social media phenomenon: how magazine brands can benefit’. Social media can build or destroy brands, and is a double-edged sword. The session looked how magazines can take advantage of social media. As Macy & Thomson put it, today “Consumers want it now, directions now, reach now, movie reviews now, personalised news now, secrets now.”

The concept of ‘Urgent Genius: a genius mindset’ was discussed and 4 tips on how this can be achieved. Firstly, adopt an editorial mindset and breed hybrid thinkers; for instance, create content in real time and host it on Facebook and he gave the example of the glitz and glamour of the Johnny Walker ad, where you get real time experience, and consumers got to create content. Secondly, it was important to “keep it fresh” and the best way of “keeping it fresh is through social media”. The third point was to “be genuine and relevant” and added a word of caution by saying, “it has to be genuine, otherwise there could be a backlash.” Lastly, “Grow your own fanboys, and sow the seeds”. It’s about growing community, about creating content that can be the idea.

Describing their publishing house as the biggest in South America was Sergio Zalis, Editor-in-Chief, Contigo, Grupo Abril, Brazil. They have a 40-year old weekly magazine and a website that had 54 million page views and an events platform. “We create news during the carnival and the sponsors bring in the revenue,” he said. Pointing out that social networks in Brazil were very potent, he described how the partnership between Grupo Abril and Facebook benefited them hugely. The Facebook carnival page, live feed, fun box were some tools they used to build on their reader base and in the five-day deadline, they had 105,000 people who became their friends. “Even I became a fan of Facebook, and I’m 62!” he said. The learnings were: strengthen your branding, offer different content, use synergy of different platforms, know your public and personalize relations with the user – are what they got at Contigo.

“Activate community” was propagated by Svida Alisjahbana, President, Director & CEO, Femina Group, Indonesia. “We are clearly the No. 1 user of social media in Indonesia,” she said. The chief editor has 3 Cs to take care of - Content, Community and Channel. She spoke about the Chief Community Officer, who manages many communities and in their case of their parenting magazine, they created communities, dialogue, support groups for young groups; similarly for their magazine that is targeted at young teenagers they set up ‘I Exist’. Their Woman’s entrepreneur programme facilitated women’s education and they got full funding for this, she pointed out. “In the end it’s all about aggregating community, empowering editorial team to send the message immediately and actively,” she summarised.

“I bring my speech, not my laptop,” is what Feng Xincheng, Executive Editor-in-Chief, News Weekly, China, said, as he took the stage. He spoke about how “in 2009, in Twitter we found the value of our brand. We are now talking to our fans. Our magazine has more followers, covering all ages.”

The second session was on ‘Magazine media innovation in a 360 degree environment’, where Juan Senor, UK Director, Innovations, UK, held forth, “Good journalists is good business.” He added, “Life was happier when apple and blackberry were fruits and tweet was just a tweet!” He emphasised on, “We have to reinvent the way we tell stories” and that “we are moving towards an app-based world”. Highlighting the fact that “Editorial and business integration is essential”, he presented “the holy Trinity: journalist, developer and designer”. Quoting the owner of Twitter: “Simplicity is the driver of innovation,” he signed off by saying, “It’s time to innovate, focusing on scarcity and simplicity.”

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