Magazine 360°: top ten magazine brands for social following

Social media has become a major part of how we live; getting our daily news, peeking into other peoples’ lives, and seeing how one could renovate your kitchen, or perhaps your bathroom.

For magazines, the digital space is another way to engage and draw in audiences, with the ability to utilize different social media platforms for their own strengths.

According to the MPA Magazine 360° tool, social media is the second largest channel behind print, making up almost 30 percent of all Magazine 360 touchpoints.

Looking at the top 10 brands for social following in January 2018, no particular magazine category stood out with home and garden, current affairs, women’s lifestyle and fashion and beauty all having almost equal offerings.

Home and garden magazine Habitat by Resene was the overall leader for brands in terms of largest social following, as of January 2018, with a social size of 458,796. Social media following incorporates New Zealand Facebook reach, YouTube Reach, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap chat and Pinterest followers.

This was followed by Bauer Media’s digital hub for Women’s Lifestyle Magazines, Now to Love, with 406,094 and then Homes to Love’s  356,112 strong following.

To be the brand with the largest social following is an exciting achievement, says Leigh Stockton, digital/assistant editor for Habitat by Resene.

Four years ago, when Stockton joined the magazine, the brand was only on Pinterest and there wasn’t a social media strategy in place for the website – but this has changed immensely.

“This is four years of hard work, research, listening to feedback about what works and constant tweaking. It’s nice to see the results.”

One of Habitat by Resene’s accomplishments has been YouTube DIY videos, based on colourful and simple tasks that are easy to achieve using Resene testpots. These range from making a flower wall to a half-circle headboard.

“We’ve had over two million views. People are sharing them beyond New Zealand. It’s one of our biggest successes,” says Stockton.

Instagram is an image-based app, so it makes sense the top three brands in terms of followers are those which have an image-based outlook. Home and lifestyle magazine homestyle had the most followers for Instagram with 47,200, followed by Your Home and Garden with 39,770 followers and Fashion Quarterly with 35,673 followers.

Alice Lines, homestyle’s magazine editor, says the platform adds greater value and reach to its print, online, eDM and social offerings.

“Our audience finds it easy to interact through the app, and we like that each post enables us to gauge the success or appeal of our in-mag content by our followers’ reactions too.”

In terms of homestyle’s social strategy, she says on the consumer side the magazine uses it as a discovery tool, as a channel to communicate directly with its audience and as a platform for competitions.

“For our clients, it’s a vehicle for extending and diversifying the reach of our integrated content. We keep our messaging consistent to reinforce our brand and ensure our posts work together seamlessly across both editorial and commercial content.”

According to Magazine 360°, Facebook is the number one social media across all brands, accounting for almost 75 percent of all social touchpoints (74 percent). Woman’s Day’s Digital Hub, Now to Love was the top for Facebook reach averaging 404,397 over three months, with Bauer’s home and lifestyle digital hub at 337,174 and Noted at 273,040.

Editor of Woman’s Day Sido Kitchin says she appreciates that social channels allow it to reach, engage and build direct relationships with way more people than just its print readership. 

“On Facebook, we have almost 78,000 followers and this channel is mainly about communicating the latest celebrity news with our audience, but lifestyle stories, photo galleries and real-life reads also perform well there.”

Kitchin says she is keenly aware social media platforms are a place to reach completely new audiences and potential readers.

Woman’s Day is about entertainment, escapism and information and so are our social channels…I value the direct feedback from followers and readers on social, and I can use this to curate future articles for the magazine.”

For Twitter numbers, there were two obvious leaders – current affairs/lifestyle magazine Metro and business/creative industries magazine Idealog – which were miles ahead of other brands with 67,644 and 50,300 followers respectively. Coming in third was NZ Listener with 16,058 followers.

As magazines continue to benefit from social media followings, and audiences increasingly rely on digital to find out what is happening in their communities, the space is one that will be watched in the years to come.

This story is part of a content partnership with the MPA.

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