Social media questions for online publishers

A lot of our digital generation publishers are enjoying the benefit of the large audience created for them by their prominence in the social media. Notwithstanding, some are still trying to find their feet. They aren’t able to strategise properly, execute and incorporate their plan into a unified program.

Here are eight social media questions that publishers should be asking themselves:

•Do we have the right sharing buttons?

I got a mail from one new blogger who is eager to carve a niche. Excellent blog, great idea but the sharing buttons were misplaced and incomplete. This just emphasiswes the need for effective selection, placement and formatting of social buttons on all key templates, and customising those elements for different types of content.

•When is Facebook integration too much?

It is true that a high degree of Facebook integration can feel a bit like being assimilated into the Borg.  But the truth is there’s quite a handful of audience across all demographics. So you need to experiment. Like buttons, Open Graph tags (which much like Twitter formatting, need to be done right!) and reasonable use of Facebook Social Plugins have essentially become standard practice. The challenge for publishers is figuring out their level of comfort with frictionless sharing.

One interesting takeaway is that the user base and types of content that do well in Social Reader can be quite different from the main site. But that is proving to be an effective way to reach new audiences as opposed to creating a mismatch.

•Are we optimising our social media visitors’ experiences?

One thing to keep in mind optimally here is that as the social platforms vary, so does its user objectives. This includes comparison to search and direction navigation. By studying things like page views, time on site and click paths, publishers can gain insights and attempt to create optimised experiences for social visitors.

This might relate to the packaging or even selection of content and it can tie into advertising sales and conversion rate optimisation too. Thoughtful intent can be tricky but monitoring behaviour and activity often proves valuable.

How do we maintain active social outposts without sacrificing on-site community?

Considering the advantages of sharing links as an integral part of social media activity is a fantastic advantage for publishers. Unarguably, the increase of content marketing is determined largely by the fact that non-content businesses know that they need content to succeed in search and social.

As a result ,social sites have become important referral sources for publishers as opposed to taking away traffic. Publishers can also use off-site activity to their advantage by monitoring it to better understand audiences and come to up with new content ideas. In addition they can pull in user-generated social content into some sort of value-added package on their own site.

•What is the right blend of diversification?

Planning and engagement is key to social media success as much as strategy. Operational and applicable diversification applies to social media strategy as a whole and to the tactics applied to specific social sites. Take for a review, every media outlet has main profiles for the brand, but to what degree should they develop profiles for specific site segments, subjects and writers?

You must also determine the level of time and resources to be applied to various social sites? When is the right time to jump into new opportunities? Pinterest: Great Opportunity for Lifestyle Publishers and Brands. Diversification also applies to social activity and engagement itself, in the format of content, style, tone, frequency, timing, etc. Every publisher needs to carve a niche for themselves.

•How do social media impact SEO?

What I am trying to discuss here are just simple, actionable ways that publishers can leverage social media to have a positive impact on Search Engine Optimisation.

Considering this, Google Search Plus Your World is a large push towards greater personalisation through social connections and social activity. The key point being that Google+ pages allow brands to make those direct connections with users.

The same applies to individual writers through their social connections and the fact that Google is highlighting authors and looking at author authority in both Web search and news search. And beyond personalised search results, the engines look at social activity in aggregate to help evaluate the popularity or relative importance of content and the authority of sites and authors.

It is written that this is particularly helpful with breaking news and trending topics for which strong link signals are not yet present. So it is important to have well established brand and individual networks as well as a promotion plan for high-priority content.

•Are we following the right things to our success?

With measuring success, a good approach is to define specific goals both for ongoing social activity and for specific content and promotions, as well as individual social sites. It is the only way you can value success in a more meaningful way.

There are a lot of different things that should be measured and evaluated, but for publishers traffic is still the most important measuring stick. Other aspects like reach, activity, engagement and sentiment are worth observing.

•What’s to be reviewed?

What I mean here is the need for better collaboration between the marketing, editorial and technical teams. These three are very cardinal and are needed on a regular basis to keep up momentum. Social media cannot be a separate initiative; it needs to be integrated into a cohesive audience development plan.

If you are into publishing, organised social activities tend to fall into three categories someone once said: some things go great, some do OK to fairly well and the last third do not get much traction.

That’s a reasonable ratio; the important thing is to keep at and continue to experiment and learn.

The Punch – Nigeria’s Most Widely Read Newspaper

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