This post is a recycling of some of my findings from our last assignment on branding. I’m not lazy, I just find it very interesting and worth sharing, I promise.
The website I chose to analyze was that of my employer, a certain local lifestyle magazine. It’s a free magazine that can be picked up on newsstands around the city. Sometimes they even get delivered to people’s homes as well. Basically, they’re everywhere. Due to the widespread availability of our magazine though, it’s impossible for me to see what kind of reach I have in town. People are taking the magazine, yes, but there is no guarantee that they are actually reading it, or if they are reading it, but skipping over my boring articles. All of our content gets posted on our website as well, but as a lowly intern, I don’t have access to the page analytics, and so there are no indicators for me there either.
But sometimes, if I’m very lucky, my lowly intern pieces get posted on our social media pages and I am finally able to see what great influence I command. And because I am excessively vain when it comes to my writing, I like to sit and watch the likes and shares pour in. But I end up waiting for a long time. My stories, along with those of my coworkers, never generate any kind of engagement among the social media followers of the magazine.
I’m only joking about my excessive vanity. As a second year communications student, I’m willing and ready to admit that my journalistic pieces aren’t that interesting. But I was a little suspicious when I noticed that the posts of my coworkers were also flying under the radar. I am in constant awe of our magazine’s photographer; she can truly work magic with a camera. Yet, none of her photos were generating any engagement on the magazine’s social media pages. Her own personal Facebook page however, which also highlights her professional photography skills, had a huge amount of engagement from friends and strangers alike.
After a little more Facebook creeping, I found a Facebook-based local history blog, which shares articles that highlight certain aspects of the city’s past. The local history section of our magazine is typically part of my territory as a writer, and sure enough, I found a huge number of my stories posted on that blog (with proper credits and links back to our website of course). These posts, identical to what had been posted on our own social media page, had dozens of likes. They had shares. They were generating conversations in the comments section below. The content clearly has an audience, but our own social media team, for whatever reason, is unable to tap into that audience. It could be the tone of the posts, or the frequency, or something else entirely. What IS clear, is that the current social media strategy isn’t working.
I’ve said before in class and in this blog that tools like SEO and KPI are useless if your website’s content is bad. But this assignment really opened my eyes to the other side of the coin: Good content is useless if you’re unable to market it using proper social media strategies.