The Social Media Time Commitment: How DO Niche Publishers do it??

Is social media a giant time-suck or does it have real value for niche publishers? Tim Hermes explains.

So I’ll start by saying my personal social media efforts are lacking.

Unless you’re Kim Kardashian, or other made-for-TV celebrities who have oodles of time on their hands, keeping up with social media posting from a corporate perspective is daunting. Many people perceive social media as a fun hobby or a casual, person-to-person experience. But in the publishing world it can be serious business and even a single-character mistake can have a profound effect. For example:

Just finshd a bd conversatn w XYZ Cmpny 2day. Need more discuss. #XYZ
Just finshd a gd conversatn w XYZ Cmpny 2day. Need more discuss. #XYZ

Can you imagine if your editor made a mistake like this if they were in a hurry?

As you see, a single character typo can change the tone of a tweet (bd=bad vs. gd=good.) And once it’s in the social-sphere, there’s a problem. The example above can be seen as a stretch, but hopefully makes the point. Attention to detail when posting is critical. And sometimes auto-correct is NOT your friend, as I’ve learned first-hand.

The other challenge is “velocity” – the amount of posts your team makes. The more posts you make, regardless of the medium (Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram) the more traction you get and spread a wider net through shares and retweets. To be truly effective a company really needs a marketing team that has the bandwidth to spend a serious amount of time on social media, daily. If not, your social media outlets will be under-used and will not have a strong impact. And let us not forget that social media is free. It builds your audience, for sure. And let’s be honest – although we make our money selling media, we still love free media more.

A good case in point is the current political primary campaign by a certain candidate. CNN says he has received over $2 BILLION in ad value using social media. While advertising will never be replaced, and shouldn’t be, social media has a big role for your brands. Bob Gold of Bob Gold & Associates, a leading boutique PR agency, had this to say, ”Online platforms are fundamentally changing the way we work, connect and engage with colleagues, customers, and the external world at large. It’s a new and fast-changing model for interaction. And because of its speed it’s a dangerous place full of miscommunications and harmful posts. As exciting and “fun” as the platforms can be, they should never be taken for granted.”

Well said.

Niche publishers should be pros at social media. But sometimes we need pros. Social posting should not be open-mic at the local coffee shop. publishes a social media frequency guide showing that one Facebook and LinkedIn post per day plus at least five tweets per day (and up to 30) are optimal. Frequency + velocity = more opportunities to engage. A tweet loses its power after just 18 minutes (source: so the engagement and velocity must be continuous. And of course once you hit critical mass in followers your social media can be monetized.

But if I tried to do five tweets per day, well, I’d get nothing else done. And that’s before other posts on LinkedIn and Facebook, even if they are identical and I am using an app like HootSuite. It’s not just the keystrokes, it’s the abbreviations, hashtags, creating tiny URLs and more. Let’s face it…when it comes to social, many of us paddle hard but can never catch the wave.

A smart solution? Outsource. Chances are your marketing team is busy building circulation, creating media kits and ad packages, putting together programs and special events, or traveling to set up a trade show booth. And your editors are scrambling to hit deadlines or host a webcast, or find speakers for an event. Social falls by the wayside.

Having a trusted social media partner – especially in publishing – has big advantages – you’re only paying for proven work, you can set realistic goals (“I want five tweets a day, one post a day, five retweets a day, and 20 new followers a week,”) and your results will be measurable. Plus you can find a good PR agency in your space, (who may even do it for barter of some type, like referrals) or outsource to contractor or consultant. Once they are trained on your industry, let the velocity begin!

So if you’re falling behind in your social strategy, consider outsourcing. The industry presence and conversation you create will result in positioning your brand as a leader, getting more business, and will probably pay for itself down the line. Put it in your budget. You’re worth it.




More about Tim:  Tim Hermes is the Principal at Hermes Media. A veteran niche publisher, he has launched, grown, and monetized several niche properties as well had a thriving corporate career in publishing. He is also an expert in video monetization and consults with several b2b publishers.


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