How to Choose and Apply Social Media Tools: Two Publishers Share the Tools and Methods Proven Effective for Social Media

Article excerpt

Since social media was identified as a relevant tool to the publishing industry, magazine publishers have devoted many resources and an abundance of energy to finding and implementing the best strategies to solidify a presence in the sphere. Here, Michael Grover, UBM TechWeb's director of content operations & syndication, and Patricia Cesaire, the director of digital PR & marketing with Black Enterprise, share tools, strategies and observations of their successes (and a few missteps) in social media.

The Tools

Before entering the social media sphere, Michael Grover of UMB TechWeb believes it is of utmost importance to hone in what a company intends as a result from participating in the conversation. "Registrants? Traffic? Are you trying to build a third party community with third party credibility? You need to sluice out the different things you want, and hopefully you'll find one that will rise to the surface as the prime directive."

According to Grover, there are 700 million Facebook users, 106 million on Twitter and 100 million members on LinkedIn. This is an extremely large audience, and one with a diminishing attention rate as the marketplace crowds with competitors selling similar wares.

Once a publisher has established initiatives and joined the social media community, tracking campaign success and content sharing is often the next step for publishers. These results then become part of a base strategy for content production and distribution, as publishers get to see what is catching on among users.

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At UBM TechWeb, with products that include magazines, websites and social communities such as the newly launched BrainYard, Grover says a content tagging strategy has been important in guiding the social media strategy. An RSS feed is integrated into all UBM brands, so staff can track what brand is being promoted and to what channel it's being promoted to on the back end.

In order to keep team members in sync, Grover reiterates the importance of keeping a consistent strategy when tagging and tracking content. "It needs to be immediately understandable not just by you, but by other people in your organization, which will reduce the number of questions. Data is only good if you can track it historically; if you change your tagging, data becomes unusable."

UBM also utilizes a free online tool called Twitter Feed, which helps manage flowing information into Twitter. Grover says that while there is a similar service for Facebook from the Twitter Feed group, it is not efficient; instead, UBM uses RSS Graffiti for Facebook posting.

While the latest gadgets and tricks may seem appealing, Grover makes it top priority "to be vigilant to see if they're performing and how they're performing. I'm always testing products as they come up. [A product] may seem very promising, and then it stops working."

For posting on Twitter, UBM TechWeb worked with URL shortener Bit.ly to produce Twb. io, a custom URL shortener that allows the company to fit an entire headline into a tweet. Twb.io also supplies real-time tracking of tweets, and maintains branding that the standard Bit.ly shortener does not.

To monitor the social scene, UBM TechWeb utilizes Omniture, which is used to collect stats from UBM's web properties to track what social media hubs users are coming from.

Over at Black Enterprise, Patricia Cesaire says Omniture is used to generate reports concerning hot topics on Facebook, Twitter and its own social community for entrepreneurs (called Ning). …