Social media is a powerful channel for connecting with existing and prospective association members. To market well, you must meet your customers where they are — which likely includes their favorite social media platforms. Today, there are several social media giants that have captured the attention of generations of people. In fact, recent data suggests 58.4% of the world’s population uses social media, with an average of nearly 2.5 hours of social content consumption every day. Knowing the audience is there is only part of the story. To engage with readers — potential and existing — and increase journal subscriptions, you must first understand some core tenets of social media marketing.
How can social media support increased subscriptions?
Social media provides an outlet for short, digestible content that individuals can consume quickly and regularly. Although the various platforms may deliver content in specific formats (e.g., video, graphics, text), they all align with a singular purpose: to connect, engage, inform, and entertain. For associations, this means a channel to not only share news, events, research, articles, and more, but also a platform to engage with existing and prospective members or journal subscribers.
There are many advantages to using social media to promote your journal. For example, your association can:
- Distribute original, engaging content to reach and expand your audience.
- Share the knowledge and expertise of your authors with a broader audience by bringing articles to the public and mainstream media, extending the real-world impact of scholarly research
- Reach a targeted demographic for low or no cost.
- Increase article traffic and online downloads of original content.
- Facilitate discussions, gauge opinions on key questions, and generally engage with your target market in real time.
- Increase and retain readership and paid subscribers.
Attracting and retaining journal subscribers begins with demonstrating value. Social media delivers an audience. It’s up to your team to share, engage, and demonstrate value. With a consistent voice and quality content, your association will not only build brand loyalty, but subscribers and members as well.
Key tips for effective social media promotion
Promoting your association and your journal on social media requires commitment. Posting inconsistently or without a clear strategy will net poor results. To maximize your return on investment in social media promotion, consider adopting the following tips:
- Be consistent. Share your content on a regular cadence.
- Be mindful of the chosen social media platform. Craft content that will resonate well on the chosen platform.
- Be discoverable through tagging. Incorporate appropriate hashtags, or tag relevant individuals or companies to increase visibility and credibility of your content.
- Be inclusive. Leverage your network and internal resources such as employees, board members, or association members to extend your reach.
- Be proactive. Establish a social media marketing plan for your journal. Be sure to regularly assess its effectiveness and adjust tactics as needed.
Which social media platforms should you use?
The most important social media platforms for your association to use are the ones your members or prospective members use. If you’re not sure which platforms they use, it’s perfectly all right to ask them. You also may choose one or two social platforms to test and go from there.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular social media platforms.
- Often associated with personal engagements between family and friends, the platform also has a professional component and has grown in popularity as a venue for making purchasing decisions. Associations can create a professional page, share content, and invite subscribers to “like” and “share” posts on the platform.
- Touted as the professional social networking platform, LinkedIn offers a variety of benefits for associations, which can create branded, professional pages. Employees and board members can link their involvement with the association to their personal profiles, and members and other interested individuals can “follow” the association to stay current with the latest updates. LinkedIn also offers groups, articles, courses, and more to further expand and enhance your experience.
- If video is a strong component of your association’s strategy, YouTube may be a great option to house and share it. Create a video library on YouTube for your association. You can easily share links to the videos or embed them into other media, such as email, other social platforms, or your website.
- Quick, bite-sized messages with links to full content do well on this fast-moving social platform. With posts limited to 280 characters, associations must keep messages clean and concise. Hashtags and images are a great way to increase visibility on this platform as well.
- Focusing primarily on photos and videos, Instagram offers associations a fun and creative way to engage with members. Associations can create a profile on the platform and begin sharing content on the site. There’s also an opportunity for live video that associations can leverage to engage with their audience in real time.
- A conversational wiki site that allows registered users to pose questions, engage in discussions, and more, Reddit is a great option to share content and ignite debate or discussion.
- A scholar-centric collaborative social network for STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) research, ResearchGate is a good venue for building professional relationships. This could be a great platform to solicit new authors or entice new readership.
Cost of entry into these social media platforms is free. Paid enhancements and advertising opportunities are available as well and may help increase the reach and efficacy of your social strategy.
Attracting and retaining members and journal subscribers requires a multifaceted approach, with social media as an important component. Developing a social media strategy that includes the social platforms your association will invest in, as well as the cadence, format, and editorial calendar for social content, is essential to your success.
Contact your Sheridan or KGL representative for a consultation or visit our contact pages (Sheridan contact page / KGL contact page) to learn how we can help streamline and simplify your publishing processes.