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Magazines use social media

Magazines use social mediaIt’s a fact: traditional media has embraced social media. Magazines that have pitchable editorial content are actively using both Twitter and Facebook to represent their brands online. Engaging with their readership and potential audience online is now a widely accepted practice. Across all sizes and types of magazines that Vocus Media Research tracks, we have found that about half of magazines have a Twitter handle, a Facebook page, or both.

52.7 percent of all pitchable magazines in the U.S. and Canada have a Twitter handle.

47 percent of all pitchable magazines in the U.S. and Canada have a Facebook page.

50 percent of American and Canadian top-tier magazines have a Facebook page, while 48.6 percent have a Twitter handle.

Among the higher circulation magazines, about two-thirds have both a Twitter and Facebook page. The lower circulation magazines tend to favor Facebook usage over Twitter, but not by much.

10 percent of magazines appear to be using Facebook exclusively, which doesn’t sound like such a bad plan. The Economist points out that while most readers are coming to online news websites through Google, Facebook is the second biggest traffic-generator.

For Twitter handles by state, we found that region made a difference – 240 were active in California but only 284 in New York and four in North Dakota. In the Mid-Atlantic region (Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia), about 112 magazines had Twitter handles. These numbers are in line with where magazines are based, mainly on the East Coast. And if you think age affects engagement with these magazines, you would be right. Teen Vogue’s Facebook page has 813,147 “Likes,” while AARP’s magazine page only has 99.

Some magazines are using their Facebook pages to interact with their fans, while others are simply using it as a marketing landing page to provide more information about the publication. Magazines using it for two-way communication are getting more Likes than those who don’t. Whole Living magazine for example uses Twitter and Facebook to communicate a message almost every day. Its Facebook page has currently received over 23,000 Likes. This healthy lifestyle magazine under the Martha Stewart Living umbrella posts recipes and tips on getting beach-body ready. Sometimes it posts several times a day, while other days go by with no posts. When the magazine does add to its Wall, posts are usually more than 140 characters, longer than Twitter’s allowance. On July 8, it posted a link back to the official Whole Living website with a rundown of the magazine’s favorite eco-friendly blog posts from across the Web, which four people Liked and three people commented on. Whenever a link is posted on Facebook, the social networking site automatically pulls and posts a selection of content, making it easy for a magazine to hook readers, who can then follow the link to an official website. Anyone can read three or four pages of older posts, but to read more than that, you have to log into Facebook. Twitter, however, does not require a login. Most of Whole Living’s tweets are blog post announcements with corresponding links, plus the occasional Whole Living iPhone app free giveaway. This magazine has over 15,900 Twitter followers and a circulation rate base of almost 700,000.

Another lifestyle publication, Self Magazine has more than 119,000 Likes on Facebook and almost every Wall post has a comment, though not all comments come from readers or subscribers. Evelyn Height has “Liked” this page but her subscription ran out awhile ago. “I have too many magazines to catch up on, and no time to do it,” she told inVocus in a Facebook chat. She found the magazine’s Facebook page one day after her subscription had ended. She was logged in and the News Feed suggested she check out Self’s page. While she may not have time to read the magazine, she says she does have time to read its Wall posts. Self also has a very active Twitter account with 64,660 followers and several self-help tweets each day. The magazine has about 1.5 million subscribers, Height not currently being one of them.

If you think only consumer magazines are fit for these platforms, think again. If you’ve got milk, you’ve got Western Dairy Business, a trade magazine with a monthly circulation of about 12,000. Its Facebook page was launched in March and has 24 Likes. In addition to posting industry announcements, it’s also linking back to articles with information about consumption: “Milk consumption decreased 35% when flavored milk was removed from schools.” Nobody seems to have Liked that post.

What people do seem to like is interactivity. Austin Monthly not only posts articles and surveys, but also lets anyone post critical feedback, like the comment it received about calling someone a masseuse instead of a massage therapist. The magazine promptly responded in a “Thank You” manner, making the correction in the magazine and directing people to vote for their favorite spa. Almost 4,000 people Like the page of this magazine, which has about 35,000 subscribers

Harrisburg Magazine builds on its small local community by asking questions about local activities and posting calendar events. While this Pennsylvania title might be small, with only 436 Likes, it updates on a daily basis. Its Twitter handle is less active with only 29 tweets and a bit over 50 followers, but this may be a reflection of what social media tools their community is actually using.

In Kansas City, monthly magazine KC Small Business is a brand under the media umbrella of Thinking Bigger Business Media Inc., which had its own Facebook page until the magazine changed names in February of this year. It used its Facebook page to communicate this information stating “KC Small Business fans – we’re trying to move all our fans over to our COMPANY fan page – Thinking Bigger Business Media. We changed the name of the magazine to Thinking Bigger Business in February! Please like the Thinking Bigger Business Media page. We’ll be closing this KC Small Business page at the end of the week. Thanks so much!!” Wall posts under the parent name cover everything from how to get organized to Chamber of Commerce updates. The monthly magazine has about 12,000 subscribers.

According to Facebook’s press page, “People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.” Many magazines with content to fill and distribute are capitalizing on that fact and making active use of their accounts. “More than 30 billion pieces of content (Web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) shared each month,” according to Facebook, and some of that content is coming from magazines. Business Insider states that there are 56 million accounts on Twitter following at least eight Twitter handles. However, as the previously mentioned Economist article notes, “Twitter is where the newsmakers are.” Perhaps Facebook is where the news consumers are, which is another reason why magazines have established a firm presence there in 2011.

–Rebecca Bredholt

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