Saturday, February 4, 2012

5 Ideas for Fortune on social media

Fortune Magazine these days appears to be making a concerted effort to beef up its online presence, and in addition to its efforts to ramp up the multimedia content of its franchise lists, the magazine is looking to put some dedicated energy into social media.

I've thought a lot about Fortune's lists (see that post here) and decided to put together a few ideas I had about improving the brand's social media presence as well. 

At close to 500,000 Twitter followers, readers clearly have a ton of interest in following what the magazine has to say in real time, and I think more can be done to capitalize on those relationships.

1. Lists: One great way to easily maximize the value of so many Twitter followers would be to create lists with every existing feed for the companies that show up on each franchise project (@FortuneMagazine/100Best, @FortuneMagazine/40under40, etc.), as well as CNNMoney and Fortune feeds. 

These can be embedded in various parts of the website and people can follow them on their various Twitter management applications. Such a thing can be easily integrated into the iPad app, the splash page for the list itself, and can be referenced in the hard copy of the magazine to direct people to the online content and give some real-time immediacy to the print product.

2. Outreach: There is a great opportunity to use social media to create content by asking the magazine's half million-plus followers who they think are the most influential businesspeople on all of those social media platforms (G+, Tw, Fb) and use the answers to create a new list of the 50 who get the most votes as a 50 Most Influential on Social Media or the Fortune 50 Social Media Stars or some such. With so many followers across multiple platforms there is a great multiplier effect with this sort of effort.

3. Quora: For me, Quora is the next big thing in social media, and I think there is huge potential for Fortune to build the brand and attract new classes of followers there. There are currently 3600 users who follow the Fortune magazine topic, but there is no Fortune magazine account. 

Many of the questions under the topic (which sees new posts pretty much daily, sometimes multiple times a day) are people looking to discuss the current issue or who have questions about methodology, or why a certain decision was made about a certain story. This is a great opportunity for an official Fortune account to answer those questions and provide a bit of transparency to the process, all while creating interesting answers to readers' questions that are sure to get disseminated on other platforms. 

This is another great way to generate content as well, since the social media editor could get those questions answered by the relevant Fortune staff members (the cover artist, the photo editor, the list editor, the graphics person) on camera, and those videos could be put on the Facebook page (where "behind-the-scenes" content works very well) and other channels.

4. Video: Such behind-the-scenes videos could also be put on a YouTube channel, which Fortune does not currently have (though there is a specific Fortune MPWS account). While Fortune's video content appears on the CNNMoney YouTube channel I think a dedicated Fortune channel would pay significant financial dividends from ads as well as other gains in terms of visibility. Because the content just sits there and doesn't feel the effects of age as much as on the chronologically organized Twitter and Facebook, some good SEO-friendly headlines on the many evergreen Fortune videos can just sit on YouTube and be watched forever.

5. Twitter timing: As a basic Twitter strategy, I think the every-three-weeks publishing schedule of the magazine allows for an approach focused on a week of reflection and promotion of the latest issue, then two weeks of questions, contests and preview of the upcoming issue. This would take place over the ongoing strategy of "from the archives" links, promotion of new posts on the website (as well as RTs of Money and CNNMoney posts of course) and reactions to the news from writers and staff.

** See part 1 of this exercise: 11 ideas for the Fortune 500