Every online publication knows social media is one of the best marketing tools and one their visitors expect.

The problem is determine which of the many networks is right for a specific publication. Choosing the best social sites is key to reaching the target audience.

Online publications are finding the best results with only a small handful of sites. It’s always better to limit social sharing to a small number of sites instead of trying to use every available network.

Reader Sharing

No matter where your clients choose to share their content, their readers are likely sharing the stories they read on Facebook or Twitter. It’s important for any online publication to have social share buttons for at least these two networks. One study found 38.6% of readers tweeted, 33.8% liked and 26.7% shared on Facebook. LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+ all received less than 1% put together.

Facebook Rules

Facebook rules the world of social sharing, but other networks may be better due to their increasing growth. The Association of Magazine Media recently began gathering data on which networks worked best for social sharing with magazines. It’s not a big surprise that Facebook came out on top.

The 2014 study was based on data from 166 magazines between August and October. Nearly half of all the followers from these magazines came from Facebook, coming in at 198 million. This high number alone makes Facebook a must. Odds are, if readers are sharing content on Facebook, they’ll expect to find the online publication there as well in order to better keep up with the latest site updates.

Twitter Comes In Second

If Facebook is king of social media, Twitter is the queen. The magazines in the study had a combined audience of 86 million. While not nearly as large as Facebook, it’s important to note that the Twitter audience grew by 3.4% in three months while Facebook’s only grew by 2.4%.

Once again, it’s one of the most popular networks. Readers expect to find their favorite online publications tweeting out the latest stories. With Facebook’s newsfeed often unreliable in showing the newest updates, Twitter is a good alternative for ensuring breaking news isn’t listed after a story published two weeks ago.

Google+, Pinterest And Instagram Bring Up The Rear

Your clients aren’t limited to the two social giants. In the study, Google+ accounted for 69 million fans, Instagram came in at 20 million and Pinterest was extremely close with 19 million. While the latter two might not seem impressive, the two sites are still rapidly growing. In comparison to Facebook, the two image based social networks are still in their infancy. The Instagram audience alone grew by 10.4% during the three month study.

A Look At Glamour

Glamour has a strong social presence and utilizes Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Vine and Instagram. The magazine even has its own YouTube channel. A case study into how popular Glamour is on each channel discovered the magazine had:

  • 4.35 million Facebook followers
  • 643,000 Instagram followers
  • 965,000 Twitter followers
  • 148,606 Pinterest followers
  • 3.5 million Google+ followers
  • 33,000 Vine followers
  • 197,000 YouTube subscribers and 46 million views

The publication uses a different approach on each network to appeal to each individual audience. For instance, images are used with every Facebook post, but not every Twitter post. With Instagram, they focus just on fashion and celebrities with high quality images.

The approach works well for them. It’s also a prime example of making the most of multiple networks. Your clients don’t have to use all of these, but using several allows them to reach out to a wider audience. Your clients could even market different areas of the site on each network.

Finding The Right Networks

Social network buttons are usually placed at the top or side of the publication’s pages to allow readers to easily share the site with all their friends and family. The same is true with each individual story. Pick 3-5 networks and use analytics to determine which networks are working best for the publication. It’s also a good idea to move the social share buttons around if they’re not performing well. A layout plugin helps make rearranging elements like this easier.


Online publications don’t have to be everywhere. They just need to be in the right place. Suggest limiting the number of social sharing buttons on a website to make it less confusing for the readers. Sticking with the most popular networks is usually best. Only add in others if readers begin asking for it.

Do your clients want to experiment with social share placement and number of social networks? Help them by installing the Conductor plugin today for faster, better layouts for any online publication.

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