Can you monetise social media in publishing

I was recently asked to present on the topic of ‘Monetising Social Media’ at Magazine Week in Sydney.  The audience were experienced publishers who had moved into the digital world and looking to continue to evolve with the changing landscape.  I personally think the presentation title is a little misleading.  You cannot really monetise social media – but you can use it as a vehicle to drive traffic to your website to generate revenue.  This does work if done right as the Old Spice case study shows. In this case Old Spice was a dying brand but used new inbound marketing techniques (the audience opts into your network are via facebook, twitter blog subscriptions etc) with traditional outbound marketing (pushing a message out hoping the right audience finds it (print and TV advertising, radio, trade shows etc) to great success.

One of the biggest thing that impressed me was that the publishing companies in the audience had moved on a great deal in the last 18 months.  iPad apps, digitization were the norm and Michael Nielsen’s prediction in 2009 was being borne out:

Today, scientific publishers are production companies, specializing in services like editorial, copyediting, and, in some cases, sales and marketing. My claim is that in ten to twenty years, scientific publishers will be technology companies. By this, I don’t just mean that they’ll be heavy users of technology, or employ a large IT staff. I mean they’ll be technology-driven companies in a similar way to, say, Google or Apple. That is, their foundation will be technological innovation, and most key decision-makers will be people with deep technological expertise. Those publishers that don’t become technology driven will die off.

Michael Nielsen, Is scientific publishing about to be disrupted

Here is some of the presentation with evidence to show outbound marketing is becoming less effective whereas inbound marketing is cheaper and and has more impact (for traditional powerpoint format go to slideshare here


Thanks to @sandnsurf for the Peter Shankman quote and @iggypintado for the Old Spice case study