The first-place winner in last year’s SIPAwards for Best Social Media Success Story came from Mary Bart of Magna Publications. (The deadline for entering the 2014 SIPAwards is this Friday, April 11.) I was happy to see this morning that the Facebook page for Magna’s Teaching Professor, which increased its likes from 621 to 1584 in 2012, now has 3,948. Their success continues to build.
We’ve talked before about the importance of finding the right social media for your audience. What social are they on? But that audience can vary even within your subject, depending on event and product. The Teaching Professor has found that their audience responds to inspiring (and humorous) photos and quotes on Facebook, in addition to links to their blog posts and conferences. For Faculty Focus, a website for effective college teaching strategies, Twitter drives the most traffic. They now have 5,978 followers, 2,000 more than the end of 2012. Bart posts almost every day.
Magna also has had success with LinkedIn. In spring 2012, they created a private, invitation-only LinkedIn group for paid attendees of a two-part online seminar. Parts one and two were broadcast months apart, with a pending court decision in between. They encouraged the 145 people signed up to discuss the issues among themselves and submit questions for the presenter to answer during the live seminar.
Following the first one, the presenter provided the group with written responses to all the questions he didn’t get to and returned to offer updates whenever there were major developments. Leading up to part 2, they did it all again, soliciting questions, answering them during the seminar and then returning to close out any remaining or follow-up questions. Group members were very satisfied with the interaction and access.
This seems like an excellent way to sell—and provide extra value for—a webinar series. Not only is your audience taking part in the seminars, but they are getting access to a special group that they couldn’t get otherwise. Then in the period between the webinars you could send non-subscribers a look-what-you’re-missing email.
The SIPAwards give you a chance to earn accolades for the quality work you do. For us, it’s a chance to find out and share what members are doing. Social Media Success Story is one category we could use more entries. Best Use of Video and Best Website are two more. If an aspect of your website is accomplishing something of note—a landing page that’s converting, a confirmation that’s upselling, a Q&A page that’s getting noticed, even ads getting lots of clicks—we’d like to know.
Other categories? Many of you conduct webinars; we want to see the marketing plan you’ve used for successful ones. And did you launch any new products last year? If so, did those have a winning marketing plan? Best Investigative Reporting used to be one of SIPA’s most-entered categories, but my guess is that most publishers no longer have the time and money to do strong investigative pieces. If I’m wrong, please show me. Are you taking advantage of mobile, whether it’s an app you created or a special design? Again, we’d love to see.
The deadline is Friday. A new automated system makes entering easy. Check out all the categories. Said one past winner: “Winning after being judged by a jury of your peers is very satisfying in itself, but frankly and perhaps more important, is that the award is a distinction that has helped me build credibility with clients, which is important in this extremely competitive field.”
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 as managing editor. Follow Ronn on Twitter at @SIPAOnline