How 5280 Magazine Sold Out Its First Book by Ramping Up Social Media
For the last few years, president and editor Dan Brogan and his team at 5280 magazine focused on building their social media following on Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, Instagram. Those efforts literally paid off last year after the Denver-based publishing company decided to produce and sell its first book.
When 5280 The Cookbook went on sale in October 2014, the magazine had 95,000 Twitter followers and 45,000 Facebook fans. This large audience gave Brogan a strong social reach to incorporate into a multi-platform campaign that also included web banners, email marketing, and print ads in their magazines.
The campaigns pushed people in two directions, either to the magazine's online store to order the cookbook (where the margins are much higher) or to local retail outlets that sold it. Likewise, social media pushed consumers toward both sales channels.
Each month, the 5280 team put three posts each on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The Instagram posts shared pictures of the book cover and pages from inside the book displaying featured dishes. Tweets incorporated the hashtag #5280cookbook, which a year later still pops up from time to time in the 5280 feed. Both Twitter and Facebook posts benefitted from influencer marketing, as many of the local chefs with featured recipes shared the 5280 posts, or wrote their own posts promoting the cookbook.
"Those posts helped a lot," said Brogan. "The sense was that the Facebook posts probably created the most chatter and likes, so we suspect those also translated the most into sales."
The campaign continued throughout 2015 with three more marketing pushes until they sold out toward the end of the year. The end result was the cookbook sold 9,000 copies on the newsstands and 4,000 copies through the magazine's online store.
"Social worked hand-in-hand with the other components and it definitely created a buzz about the cookbook," Brogan said. "We didn't know what to expect but we ended up selling 13,000 copies, which we are told by people in the book industry is great for a local market."
Social media sells stuff, which Brogan saw first hand by far exceeding even his most aggressive sales estimates. With new social media options like SnapChat and live streaming through Facebook Live and Periscope, publishers have more tools in the toolbox for promoting their products.
In the case of 5280, they reaped the rewards now for the time and effort they put in to building their influence on social media beforehand. A sizable audience that went both wide in numbers and deep in engagement played a role in the success of their overall marketing plan and added to their bottom line.
Ron Matejko is the President of Phoenix, Ariz.-based MVP Media, an award-winning digital publishing company. Matejko has 16 years of publishing experience in print, Web and mobile and has worked on the staff of two award-winning publications.
MVP Media publishes MVP Magazine, the first interactive sports publication, which won a Bronze 2010 Digital Magazine Award for Best Sports Magazine, besting entrants from 26 countries around the world, and was a finalist for Designer of the Year. MVP Media will launch its own magazines on the iPad in 2011.
MVP Media also helps existing publishers convert their print products into dynamic publications for the web and tablets. Visit the MVP Magazine website at www.mvptoday.com. Contact Ron by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @mvp_media.