Short description of you and your company
My name is Vianca Navarete and I coordinate the B2B efforts at Republic Media which is recognized as the #1 media company in the state of Arizona. We are home to a variety of highly recognizable and valuable clients. Our biggest clients are our state newspaper, The Arizona Republic and the consumer news and information site azcentral.com.
How and why did you get started in social media?
As a passionate marketer it is a part of my job to be involved and up to date with the latest social media trends. My generation has launched social media platforms and created new ways to make marketing and communications work. It has also changed the definition of what social media is and how it is used by B2C and B2B companies. Every professional position I have held has had either project or working responsibility revolving around social media. Throughout the years, the demand and involvement has only increased.
What do you believe are the benefits of using social media for business?
I believe that three of the biggest benefits to businesses from using social media are as follows:
1. Businesses have a space to create and establish their brand with the help of creative content (posts, polls, photos and videos).
2. Audiences can be found and reached via social media and through other services like geo-fencing, for example.
3. Social media is a primary source for consumer research including feedback and engagement.
What are the common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness through social media?
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is not strategically planning their social media campaign. Quite often, small and large businesses think that they can just set up a profile, post some updates and it will work because social media is "easy." While it can seem easy, it won't necessarily be effective. Another mistake is not tracking data or keeping a record of campaign results and other efforts. It's important to be able to analyze this data, otherwise marketing becomes a guessing game.
What qualities do you think social media managers should have?
An important quality that a social media manager should have is being able to analyze and interpret data. The basic analytics most social media networks offer as standard are quite helpful. Of course, there are many other tools that can help you understand what is really happening on your page and potential customers. Another nice-to-have quality is being able to come up with creative, brand specific content.
How do business owners know if their social media campaign is working?
As mentioned before, analyzing and interpreting data is crucial when executing social media campaigns. There are a handful of social media analytics tools that record data for your posts and pages, and can even help you with scheduling them. Do bear in mind however, that it's the ability to learn from previous campaigns that will allow your business to grow.
Positive progression in impressions, click-throughs and engagement are signals that your campaigns are working. It will take a few attempts at finding the right approach, but ultimately, this success will bring higher conversions, leads and ROI.
How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years…what do you hope to see?
I think social media will continue to expand through live steaming features and geo advertising. More businesses will use social platforms like SnapChat to reach audiences. They will also use geo-targeting features to reach and target their audience, e.g. geo-located SnapChat filters.
What do you think are some of the consequences of not getting on-board with social media?
There are many consequences of not getting on board with social media. One of the biggest is losing credibility or authenticity with your target audience. Many people go online or check information apps to verify a business location, hours of operation and reviews. If a business is not found online or has an incomplete page, many may feel that it's not a stable or a secure business (even if it's a physical store). By not having a presence on social media, businesses lose prospects and miss out on potential engagement, it's like a domino effect.
What are your thoughts on social media versus more traditional marketing activities?
I think there has to be a good strategic balance between all the marketing platforms available. Depending on who you're trying to target and the region they are in, certain outlets may work better. We have to appreciate traditional marketing activities as they're still powerful, but we also have to adapt and grow with trends. For me, differing combinations of direct mail, front page advertisements and social media have provided a well rounded marketing mix.
Which one best practice would you recommend about using social media to grow a business?
Often businesses get excited about building their social media presence, but the strategy needs to be done before that. It's important to identify your target market, business goals, and the two social media platforms that will help you reach them.
Your target market doesn't use every platform, so choose the top two or three platforms and focus on building your presence on them first. This will help establish your business online and make it easier and more effective to grow in the future. Mastering a few is much better than having a smaller audience presence on nine social media platforms.
*Please note that these responses belong to Vianca and do not represent or are not on behalf of Republic Media.
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