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The Next Big Thing for Marketers: Social Magazines

social magazine The iPad has become the poster child for a new emerging device category: tablet computers. Much debate about this new device and category exists, but the numbers don’t lie. In the third quarter, Apple sold more than 3 Million iPads , meaning they sold almost as many iPads as Mac computers. The success of the iPad has also led to an accelerated amount of competition. HP is planning to release multiple tablet computing devices that will run Windows 7 as their operating system, while Dell has released a tablet called the Streak that runs Google’s Android operating system.

Tablets Are Here to Stay

The iPad’s success has likely solidified the tablet as a consumer device category. This new device category that fits between a smart phone and a personal computer presents both challenges and opportunities for marketers.

Tablets provide a new way for people to consume and interact with media.  If it is easier for users to consume text, audio and video while on the go, marketers have new opportunities to reach and interact with prospective customers. The problem is that most marketers already have a full plate of tasks, and adding another screen to the mix will be a daunting task.

As marketers, we need to examine what we are currently doing and determine what we can stop doing to make time and resources available for marketing on tablets and mobile devices.

The Next Big Thing for Marketers: Social Magazines

flipboard

Today, Flipboard , a new social magazine application for the iPad, launched and has created sweeping buzz and conversation on the web. In less than a day, it has become the second-most popular free iPad application.  Flipboard turns an iPad into a social magazine. It creates different magazine sections from online news sources, Twitter, Facebook and curated content from online thought leaders like Robert Scoble .

Flipboard organizes tweets, links, blog posts and news articles into a digital magazine that readers can flip through with a flick of the wrist. Flipboard isn’t the first social magazine to be available for the iPad. Pulse , a social magazine that allows people to curate important news from 20 different sources has already become one of the most popular paid iPad apps.

3 Reason Social Magazines Are Important to Marketers

1. Noise Reduction - Many marketers today are working to get social opt-ins on Twitter and Facebook in hopes of getting their content included in the information stream of prospective customers. The problem is that, for many people, their social streams are filled with too much content, and much of it gets lost in the crowd. Because social magazines help to filter and better display social streams, it is likely less content will be lost to noise and companies will have better opportunities to connect.

2. A Return to Visuals - Successful traditional print and offline marketing has been dominated by great visuals and tight copy. Today Twitter streams, RSS readers and online news sources are dominated by catchy headlines and bullet points. Social magazine prioritize the value of powerful images in online storytelling. Blog posts with powerful images that help illustrate the message of the post will translate well to this new method of media consumption. Pictures now have a greater impact on who reads your content.

3. Social Segmentation - Many large companies still publish magazines and distribute them to their B2B customers as a method of nurturing and educating potential buyers. Social magazines allow potential buyers to create their own magazine that is most relevant to them. This relevancy means that potential customers are more likely to read the magazines they create instead of the magazines that marketers print and mail to them. Marketers will need to shift focus and make it easy for content to be included in social magazines by providing RSS feeds and aggregating content through social media.

We now live in a world in which every tablet owner has become the editor of their own personal digital magazine. Our challenge as marketers is to create interesting content for our perspective customers and provide simple methods for them to include it in their own social magazines.    

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