Social Media: Friend or Foe?

Just a two weeks ago, Slate reported that Facebook has a new plan to “take over the news”: hosting news sites’ content natively, on its own platform. This way, users are no longer directed to clunky, third party sites. Critics condemn the media and publishing companies  that go along with this plan, warning that journalistic integrity and quality may be compromised down the road if Facebook is suddenly the main host of well known news sources’ content.

Benefits or consequences of Facebook-native news aside, one thing is certain- social media and publishing are becoming one. Many say this could discredit or destroy the publishing industry. But publishers can benefit from social media as much as social media can benefit from publishers. Read on for five ways publishers can take advantage of social media to promote their books, magazines, and brands.

1) Modern Day Book Clubs: According to ReadWrite, PenguinUSA has used Twitter to take the age-old concept of a book club into the 21st century. Gone are the days of a monthly get-together to discuss a book. Now, Penguin encourages readers to tweet about a book using a specific hashtag, while engaging in virtual conversation about the book with other readers and even the author of the book itself.

I’m not talking about your average book club… (


2) Get A Voice: Digiday recently reported that Lucky editor in chief Eva Chen strongly advises her editorial team to use social media to create and promote their own voice, whether through Facebook status updates, Instagram posts, or tweets. She says, ““We can reach millions and millions of people through social media. It’s a hook to your website; it’s a hook to your brand.”

3) Don’t Neglect the Visual: Publishers can often (understandably) get lost in their words and forget that images are often very important for marketing books or magazines. That’s why social media sites like Pinterest, perhaps surprisingly, can be helpful when promoting products. Digital Book World sums this up, saying, “One thing Pinterest has taught us is how important visual content is.”

Pinterest: A Publisher's Best Friend?

Pinterest: A Publisher’s Best Friend?

4) Book Trailers: Speaking of the visual, social media can be a great place to share book trailers. In the same way that movie trailers generate massive amounts of interest in films, book trailers can create buzz and excitement about upcoming book releases. And there’s no better place to share a video than on social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram. (

5) Book-Focused Social Media: It’s hard to claim that social media is entirely bad for the publishing industry when there are several social media site dedicated exclusively to books. Goodreads is a popular site where readers can share information about books they’re reading, and explore their favorite authors in specialized author pages. ( With resources such as Goodreads, it’s clear that the ways of promoting publishing through social media are constantly changing but limitless- all you need is some creativity.