Asking yourself what is social media marketing?

As a business owner, social media marketing when used as a business tool is a way to drive business to your digital footprint. That digital footprint is often your business website. This also puts your business in front of potential clients you are not likely to reach through traditional means. Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your existing and potential market audience to build your brand, increase sales and drive traffic to your website. Successful social media marketing involves using a professional Alaska web design service such as Bianca Frank Design to help you create exciting content on your social media profiles, analyze your results and create and run social media advertisements.

While it seems like the number of digital marketing channels and social media platforms increase daily, there remain a few that are well known when compared to others. These include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat. While there are certainly a variety of self-management tools business can use to help get the most out of social media marketing, choosing to use a professional like Bianca Frank can take the worry off your shoulders and allow you to do what you do best-run your business.

In part one of a two-part blog series we will talk about social media marketing. To fully take advantage of all social media marketing has to offer for your business, you must understand what social media marketing is and how you can put it to work for you. In our next segment, we will talk about the top social media marketing platforms businesses are using today.

What is Social Media Marketing? A Brief Overview

Social media marketing first began with publishing. Businesses would share their content on social media in the hopes of generating web traffic and hopefully sales from that traffic. Today, social media has come a long way from its start as a place to broadcast simple content.

In today’s internet savvy business world, businesses use social media and its engagement tracking tools in a variety of different ways. For example, a business who is concerned about what people are saying about its brand would monitor social media conversations and response to relevant mentions. A business that wants to understand how it is performing on social media would analyze its reach, engagement and sales through specific analytics tools. A business that wants to target a specific audience would run highly targeted social media ads. All of these tools social media listening and engagement, social media analytics and social media advertising are known as a whole as social media management.

The Five Core Pillars of Social Media Marketing

There are five core pillars of social media marketing. For a business to run a successful social media campaign, all five must be addressed. The five pillars include strategy, planning and publishing, listening and engagement, analytics and reporting and finally, advertising.

1)     Strategy

The first step in a successful social media marketing campaign is to determine your social media strategy. As yourself, what are your business goals? How can social media help you achieve those goals?  Some businesses use social media as a tool for increasing brand awareness whereas others use it for driving website sales. When used properly, social media can also help you generate engagement around your brand and serve as a channel for customer support for your customers.

Also consider what type of content you want to share with your customer base. This should be content that will attract your target audience to your business. Should your content be educational or entertaining? Should it consist of images, videos or links? The content you choose to post does not have to be forever. Your content strategy can always change based on how your social media posts perform.

You must also determine which of the many social media platforms you want to focus on. As previously mentioned, the major ones are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat but there are a host of lesser known but up-and-coming ones as well. This can be a challenging and daunting task especially if you are new to the social media world. If you are concerned about a lack of knowledge or understanding around social media and its various platforms, consider reaching out to a professional such as Bianca Frank Design in Anchorage.

2)     Planning and Publishing

Social media marketing for small businesses usually starts with having a consistent presence on various social media platforms. Recent data shows that close to three billion people all over the world use social media. That is a lot of potential customers for your business! Through a strong presence on social media you give your brand the opportunity to be discovered by hundreds of future customers.

You will want to plan your content ahead of time (or use the services of a professional like Bianca Frank) as opposed to spontaneously creating and publishing content. Pre-planning your posts will ensure you are publishing enticing and entertaining content that will attract potential customers.  Also, to ensure your business is maximizing its reach on social media you need to publish your content at the right timing and with the right frequency.

3)     Listening and Engagement

As our following grows on social media, conversations about your brand amongst existing and potential customers will also increase. People will comment on your social media posts, tag you in their posts or message you directly. People may even talk about your brand on social media without tagging you or your business. So, you will want to monitor conversations on social media about your brand. If you see a positive comment, it is your opportunity to delight customers through response and communication. If you see a negative comment, it is your opportunity to correct a situation before it gets worse.

4)     Analytics

Over the course of your marketing campaign whether you are publishing content or engaging with customers on social media, you will want to (and need to) know how your social media marketing is performing. Are you reaching more people with this month’s campaign than you did last month? How many positive mentions do you get each month? Are people using your brand’s hashtag on their social media posts?

Many social media platforms provide within their services a basic level of this information. To get more in-depth analytics information or to compare this information across various social media platforms, you can use a wide range of social media analytics tools that are available or turn to a professional like Bianca Frank to help you read and interpret your campaign results.

5)     Advertising

As your business grows you will have more funds to grow your social media marketing presence as well. An area you can consider is social media advertising. Early on advertising on social media is often cost prohibitive however, it can be beneficial once finance allow. Social media ads allow you to reach a wider audience than those who are following your posts.

Social media management, the combination of the five pillars of social media marketing, is an essential area of focus for business owners. All too often, business owners try to manage the duties associated with managing their social media campaigns while running their business. This is a challenging, if not impossible feat. At Bianca Frank Design we understand the demands business ownership places on your shoulders. We will take the time to learn and understand your business goals to help you develop a strong and engaging social media presence. If you are new to social media or a social media veteran who want to reinvigorate your presence online, contact Bianca Frank Design in Alaska today and ask about our social media packages!