GQ and the Integration of a Social Media StrategyCase Study by George Gehring and Gina TovarAdvanced Social Media Marketing | 12/20/11MISSION STATEMENTGQ is the authority on men. For more than 50 years GQ has been the premiermens magazine, providing definitive coverage of mens style and culture.With its unique and powerful design, the best photographers, and a well ofaward-winning writers, GQ reaches millions of leading men each month andis the only publication that speaks to all sides of the male equation.Today, GQ is a true 360-degree brand with platforms across all mediachannels: print (magazine, special interest publications); online (GQ.com);tablet (iPad, Kindle, Fire); and social (there’s an editorial presence onFacebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare, Google+). There is no mobile app.GQ considers the following brands amongst its competition: Esquire, Details,Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Wired, and Vanity Fair.EDITORIAL vs. ADVERTISINGIn magazine publishing, there’s a separation of church (editorial) and state(advertising), and at GQ, that divide can often be quite pronounced when itcomes to each side’s different objectives and initiatives.The advertising side of the magazine is made up of sales, marketing, andpromotions, and collectively sells space to advertisers in the magazine andonline, and develops added-value programs for advertisers. Added-valueprograms run the gamut—from events and bonus listings in book to inclusionin e-newsletters and sweepstakes/contests, etc. To remain successful andrelevant, GQ/Advertising must continually conceive truly integrated ideasand incorporate all media: print, web, mobile, social, and events. As of now,GQ/Advertising’s presence in social media is essentially nonexistent.While GQ has proven to be a successful magazine, in today’s medialandscape there are opportunities to leverage new media that aren’t beingaddressed. Social media, in particular, is not being maximized to its fullpotential by the advertising team. Increasing ad revenue is alwayschallenging but is possible with the strategic use of networking sites; we knowthat consumers often engage with brands via social networks like Facebook,Twitter, and Foursquare. This fact justifies the need for a formal social mediastrategy that’s managed by a team of digital media specialists, including acommunity manager, a designer, and a writer.Social Media Engagement of Editorial and AdvertisingAt the moment, most of the social media outreach from GQ comes from theeditorial side of the business. In the social sphere, GQ’s editors are on
Facebook (196K+ fans); Twitter (“GQ Magazine,” 118K+ followers and “GQFashion,” 135K+ followers); Tumblr; Google+; and Foursquare. They postupdates to release new content and to drive traffic to GQ.com. They also postpictures from events or parties highlighting celebrities or VIPs. But there is nomention of brands that advertise in GQ.On the advertising side, GQ has a Facebook fan page (“GQ Events” with 10K+fans). They post once or twice a day but the tone is more “promotional” than“conversational” and rarely does a post elicit a comment or a “like.” Thecontent on the page is not current, nor is there a community managercultivating, tending to, or engaging the audience.The Integration of a Social Media Strategy DirectorWith the integration of a social media director, the focus on an importantaspect of media today will be managed effectively, adding value not only tothe consumer who reads GQ but also to the brands that advertise in it.The integration of a formal social media strategy would unequivocally providebenefits to the magazine’s advertisers. Here are some strategy objectives:• Develop guidelines for content creation so that the GQ/Advertising’s socialmedia channels have clear objectives (e.g., increase numbers of followers)• Build anticipation for events with conversations promoting events early on• Feature post-event pictures, video, comments, etc. in an effort to keepconsumers engaged with GQ and its brand partners• Generate revenue by creating campaigns that include social media outreachas part of the integrated program (e.g., GQ will tweet or post FB updates 100times on behalf of Gillette over a three-month period)• Measure effectiveness of the social media strategy and the opportunity toreact and make changes as needed• Engage GQ’s consumers; cultivate relationships with influencers• Follow GQ advertisers; RT/comment on their posts• Connect multiple advertising brands, helping to leverage one another (e.g.,a retail store, like Bloomingdale’s, that carries a particular brand, like Diesel,that might be having a party)• Work with PR to highlight large-scale events, parties, and launchesSome factors and questions to consider:• How would the advertising team build a social media following that’sseparate from editorial’s followers?• Is it worth it to have two separate followings—one for editorial and anotherfor advertising?• What social media platforms would be most valuable to GQ/Advertising?Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, others?
• If there are two distinct social media identities for GQ, is it a benefit ordisservice to readers?• Value proposition: Given the investment of time and resources, does it makesense to create and manage a different channel for advertising? How timeconsuming would it be to create different content for each channel? How muchcan a small social media team handle?• With a much stronger social presence, a crisis management plan would haveto be developed and integrated. Would those responsibilities fall under PR orthe social media team?APPENDIX AGQ TOTAL AUDIENCE: 6,612,000Median Age: 34.3Age 18-49: 82%Median HHI: $72,738HHI $100,000+: 31%Male 73%/Female 27%Attended/GraduatedCollege: +70%Employ. Status: Professional 50%Marital Status: Single 63%/Married 37%GQ.COMMedian Age: 34.9Age 18-49: 84%Median HHI: $82,912College Grad+: 97%Avg Unique Visitors/Month: 2,043,481Total Pages Viewed: 64,738,700