Blog: Let’s Get Social!


Social Media is a potent force in marketing. With Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube dominating the viewing habits of people across the globe, it has been hard for magazines to keep up. But you can use social media as a sales tool! How? Well, as Inovva’s resident social media expert, let me walk you through some tricks and techniques that I’ve utilized for clients in the past!

First, there are a few rules that apply to all social media platforms. 


  • Always have a visual component. People will scroll right by your post if they just see a block of text.
  • Never use clickbait. Nothing turns people off faster than a headline like: “500 reasons why the earth is round. Number 360 will shock you!”.
  • ABC. Always Be Current. Keep your eyes on the news, and make sure your scheduled posts aren’t going to play into a negative narrative.
  • Build that e-mail list! One simple way of growing your list via Social Media is to add a “Sign Up” button on your Facebook page. Another great way is to create regular Instagram stories that link to your newsletter. And the easiest way is to simply post about free trial issues, and link to the sign-up page!
  • Avoid the hard sell. You need to use your social platforms to gain the trust of an audience before you try to force a sale. They can just unfollow you if your posts are too pushy. It takes long term planning, patience, and a dedication to content creation. But it will more than pay off in the end.

Now, let’s get more specific.


The grandaddy of the current crop of social media sites, Facebook is where you go to interact with friends and family you don’t get to see in the real world often enough. So how can you use Facebook to your advantage?

  • Contests! Photo contests in particular always draw attention. Not only will it increase viewership to your page from friends and family of the photographers, but if you feature the winning photos in your next issue, it will also increase sales as those same friends and family buy the issue. And then you use the amazing content inside to push them toward subscribing. 
  • Give them something for “Free”! Offer an exclusive online item, only available from your magazine, for free. And all the user needs to do to get it is sign up for your newsletter. It costs them nothing, and you gain another potential subscriber.

The two-hundred-and-eighty character platform is a behemoth of social media. Populated with everyone from politicians and movie stars to moms and corporate executives. But how how can you generate revenue from Twitter?

  • Find a partner. No matter what your magazine covers, there’s likely a celebrity (major or minor) that’s interested in it. Reach out to them, create a sponsorship deal, and have them mention your magazine in their tweets. One recommendation from a trusted source is worth a thousand paid ads.
  • Constantly monitor the feeds of influencers in your demo. If there’s an opening for you to break into the conversation, do it! It’s free, and suddenly all their followers know who you are. And then don’t be bashful. Have those “Special Free Issue” tweets ready to go!

Pictures! Pictures! Pictures! If your magazine has a lot of amazing photos, this is the place for you. So how do you make the most of Instagram?

  • You can’t embed links in general Instagram posts, so always have a live link on your profile, and direct users to use that at the end of each post.
  • Tease us! You can include a lot of text on an Instagram post, so it’s a great place to give users a preview of an article, and then direct them to your website to subscribe!
  • Utilize the Polls feature within your Instagram Story. This is a great way to engage your audience, and give them a sense of ownership and pride in the magazine! It’s also a lot cheaper than commissioning costly market research.

“Wait,” you must be saying, “We’re a magazine. How can a video site help us?” You’d be surprised! YouTube has a massive audience of people, and they’re not all watching cat videos. Video essays, and educational videos are incredibly popular. And you just so happen to have magazines full of content waiting to be made into videos. How do you make YouTube work for you?

  • If you have a long, detailed article in your next issue, release a short video that gives just the highlights. And then direct your viewers to check out the magazine to find out the whole story. And each video should begin and end with a CTA.
  • Even if no one who watches your videos ever subscribes to your magazine, you can still earn revenue from YouTube. Google AdSense will pay you for each view, you can promote other products you may sell, and you can even develop branding deals with outside companies in the same market!

Isn’t that just for recipes and motivational slogans? No! Pinterest has over 250 million users and has been described as a “catalog of ideas.” So its a dream location for special interest magazines! 

  • Post Top-Tens, and special content that is exclusive to you, ensuring that the viewer knows that you are the best source for this content.
  • Insert direct links in each photo that lead to your newsletter or subscription sign up page. This way viewers are just one click away from becoming members!


All of this effort would be for nothing if you can’t convert your social media followers over to being paid subscribers, though. But it is easier than it may seem. For decades, magazines have sent out free copies to potential readers to entice them into subscribing — it’s a very successful strategy. Similarly, if you offer free content via your social channels, you can achieve the same result, without the cost of shipping! 

With traditional outreach methods, you’re relying on people suggesting your magazine to friends and family… and then hoping that they read an issue, visit your site, and subscribe. But if someone shares an article via social media, friends they didn’t even know would be interested get to see it as well. And instead of going through a multi-step process to check out your publication, they’re already on your site… with a big “Subscribe Now” button looking them in the eye. 


-James Somerton

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(Originally Published via Magazines Canada.)