Leveraging Social Media as a Distribution Channel


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Presentation made during the 2013 Digital Media Asia Conference organized by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA). Targeted for news and magazine executives and owners on how the utilization of social media is different from that of brands, and how to grow a monetizable audience

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Leveraging Social Media as a Distribution Channel

  1. 1. 2013 Digital Media Asia Leveraging Social Media as a Distribution Channel Kien M Lee | SENATUS.NET
  2. 2. About Me 2001 - 2007: IBK Merrill Lynch; Strategy Deutsche Bank 2007 - 2008: Facebook Applications > 1 million users 2008 - Present: MD/ Editor-at-Large of SENATUS.NET ✦ facebook.com/senatus: ~ 70,000 subscribers ✦ special projects & advisory in social/digital media About SENATUS ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ facebook.com/senatus.net: > 780,000 fans Regional: > 100,000 fans each in Singapore, Manila, Jakarta, New Delhi; ~ 5 Million Pageviews/month Asia Digital Media Awards: 2010 (Gold) 2012 (Silver) Best in Online Media - Magazine Website Portfolio of FB pages ~ 1 million fans YouTube channel views ~ 700,000 views
  3. 3. Objectives ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ ✦ Not about how AWESOME social media is Not about my 17 year old son and his friends using social media to read news Not about “print is dying” About how to use social media to fulfill business goals About how to identify ways to maximize your returns on, and monetize your digital presence
  4. 4. Changing Media Landscape Evolved Consumption Habits Drove Digital Publishing ✦ Print & Traditional Media ✦ Digital Media (pre-2005) ✦ Social & Digital (New) Media Communication/Marketing Mindset Shift ✦ Brands Aspire to be “Media” Companies ✦ Media Companies Evolve to become Curated Channels Brands do not realize yet that a “monotone” editorial voice becomes stale very quickly Most of the thought insights and leadership discussions on Social Media are meant for product brands not for media companies; Our use-case is different
  5. 5. Print Media Strategy CONTENT READERSHIP DISTRIBUTION As a logistical delivery mechanism Places an upper limit (bottleneck) to readership
  6. 6. Consuming Digital Media Digital publications need to evolve to meet changes In the “pre-Social Media” Internet era, ✦ Website ✦ Search Engine Optimization ✦ RSS subscription or Browser Bookmarks With the advent of Social Media, ✦ Readers customize inflow of news on social networks ✦ “Influencer” effect: Each reader’s network of friends provides an exponential increase in distribution Social Media has become a direct distribution channel
  7. 7. New Media Strategy CONTENT DISTRIBUTION READERSHIP A distribution channel via social media is no longer a bottleneck, but can shape content and grow readership Opportunity to find and redefine “monetizable audience” Requires re-education of Stakeholders & Advertisers
  8. 8. Uses of Social Media For a Media Company, ✦ Branding Tool/Mechanism ✦ Growing Readership ✦ Selling Content ✦ Shaping Knowledge ✦ Influencing Opinions ✦ Sourcing Content ✦ Facilitating Discussions Media companies have been thrust into the roles of arbiters, moderators and mediators Challenge remains keeping brand identity separate
  9. 9. Types of Social Media Facebook Images, videos, text and links *algorithm-throttled* ✦ Twitter, Weibo Text, links, (some) images/videos *unfettered* ✦ Instagram, Pinterest Product Placement vs Product Catalogue *unfettered* ✦ ✦ YouTube, Google+, Tumblr, WeChat User behaviour on social networks differ; Facebook and Twitter remain the most effective for news publications
  10. 10. Content Strategy on Social Media ✦ ✦ Set the tone early: What kind of content you choose to build your social media presence with, determines the kind of readership and has monetization implications Leverage on pre-existing brand recognition, if any “Low Hanging Fruits” ✦ Breaking News (Elections, Disaster) ✦ Political & Social Issues (Scandals, Trials, Protests) ✦ Controversial editorial or reader submissions Do you want premium subscribers, readers, or trolls? A vicious cycle does not beget a virtuous cycle Are you maintaining the integrity of your brand?
  11. 11. Facebook: A Case Study Facebook by virtue of key factors, remains the best suited for a media-rich publication, e.g. SENATUS FB uses an algorithm (formerly “Edgerank”) which takes into consideration >1,000 factors to determine whether a fan sees a news feed story from an FB page FB focuses on facilitating “High Quality Content” ✦ Technical: Deploying the necessary “OG:” Tags ✦ How and whether FB users interact with your content ✦ Image-friendly; Lead with teaser to links ✦ Sharing links: FB has improved size of thumbnails ✦ Crowdsourcing; User participation; Citizen Journalism ✦ Community moderation and Insights tools
  12. 12. Which Numbers Matter? What are the business goals? At what stage of life-cycle is the social media account? ✦ Pageviews, Readers, or Engagement Rate? ✦ Enhance branding of publication? ✦ Drive traffic to increase ad impressions? ✦ Grow paying audience: Convert Freemium to Digital Subscription (Paywall)? ✦ Encourage mobile app download? ✦ Drive print sales? A strategy seeking large numbers on social media is a vanity exercise if it does not contribute to the bottom-line Key remains making your digital presence monetizable and harnessing social media to achieve that objective
  13. 13. 2013 Digital Media Asia Questions? Kien M Lee | SENATUS.NET kien@senatus.net facebook.com/senatus