Social Media ... Where's the ROI?
2. Allow for Highly Targeted Communities
In building a social media solution, one magazine does not necessarily equal one network. Within your readership, there are multiple subgroups or niches of interests, and it’s most beneficial to users and to your bottom line to allow for highly targeted networks to develop online.
John Byrne, editor-in-chief of BusinessWeek.com, had targeting in mind when developing BusinessExchange.com, a unique Web offering that combines social media and content aggregation. Although both are owned by McGraw-Hill, Business Exchange is a completely separate brand from BusinessWeek.
It allows registered users to create business topics, aggregate content from the Web on those topics, and comment and interact with like-minded community members. In addition to user-supplied content, the site automatically pulls content for each topic from all over the Web including blogs, news outlets and Twitter. With more than 1,500 topics, the communities are extremely targeted. For example, there are dozens of topics related to Apple computers and dozens related to sustainability.
The specific nature of the content is valuable to users, who can stay on top of their varied interests, and it is also highly valuable to advertisers, who are looking for target audiences. “If you were interested in reaching an audience that’s keenly interested in ‘green’ topics, we can literally sell you the 24 topics we have, from solar and wind energy to hybrid cars and biofuel,” Byrne shares.
In the business-to-business arena, developing niche communities is a natural fit. “I think that most b-to-b publishers have really engaged communities already on their Web sites, on their digital events, in their face-to-face events and around their traditional print products,” comments Stephen Wellman, director of community and content for Ziff Davis Enterprise, publisher of eWeek and other technology-focused publications.
Ziff Davis has developed two community-based Web properties, Developer Shed (DevShed.com) and SmarterTechnology.com, that attract paid advertisers and sponsors. Both sites aggregate content from several of Ziff Davis’ print and online products, offer highly specific areas of interest, feature fresh on-site social features like forums, blogs and comments, and integrate with outside social networks. Wellman adds that the properties and their integration with Facebook and LinkedIn have also increased ROI by raising awareness for the company’s online e-seminars and virtual tradeshows.