We have all experienced the frequent feed posts stating “The so-and-so, such and such daily is out – Top stories by:”. Clicking the link takes you to some Paper.li or Summify hosted newspaper. Though many people have latched on to the online paper craze, as a social media professional I am not a fan.
Before you all get up in arms, let’s take a look at this from a social media marketing perspective. We all tend to agree that content drives the social web. The main purpose for content is to drive conversation that leads to relationships, which in turn tend to open up opportunities for revenue and ROI. So whenever you mention one of your followers, there needs to be purpose behind it that leads to relationship and conversation.
My experience is that, for the most part, those that mention me in their daily’s (approx 20-30 times a day), rarely engage with me outside of these mentions. Furthermore, they rarely respond to my replies regarding these mentions. This leads me to conclude that many (not all) use the service as a crutch for their social media campaigns. Taking the lazy way out, rather than truly understanding the medium and what it takes to make it successful long term.
Aggregation of content is a fabulous thing. Using it properly within the social graph can be very powerful. However, simply automating that aggregation to an “online paper” that has little or no audience, community or engagement connected is doing you more harm than good. If you are determined to use such aggregation papers, here are two simple suggestions to make them more effective.
1) RT the content: When your online paper sends your automated posts about your followers content, try actually Retweeting the content mentioned. This will give you, the presumed valuable content and your follower much more exposure and increase the opportunity for engagement and conversation.
2) Engage with the followers in your daily: Rather than just letting the automated online paper system post to your stream, pay attention to the followers the system is aggregating content from and target those followers for conversation. If their content is ending up in your daily, we can presume they are influencing your news feed quite heavily and therefore make them an excellent follower to engage with. Building a relationship with these followers will extend your current reach within the social graph, providing value to your audience, these relationships as well as YOU!