How to Run Your First Social Media Campaign

If you’re among the millions of people who got laid back during the ongoing pandemic and had to come up with a new way to make ends meet, you may have just started a new business. Or maybe you just started that business you’ve been thinking about for years. In any case, if you’re a new business owner and are feeling ready to scale up and get to the next level, you’re probably thinking about advertising on social media. After all, if you’ve been using social media for any amount of time, even if you just started today, you’ve seen ads. Lots and lots of ads. Social media marketing is, after all, one of the major strategies that companies and individuals are using to generate more business.

You might be wondering how you can get your ads on social media. Of course, the simplest answer would be to hire a social media marketing agency to do the work for you. But, depending on the agency and what you ask them to do, that would mean investing up to 25,000 dollars a month and maybe your budget isn’t anywhere near that yet. But you can do it yourself, especially if you’re just starting out. Here we’re going to show you what you need to do to get that ball rolling. Read on to find out how to run your first social media campaign.

  • Step 1: Figure out what you want

It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about marketing or the military. A campaign means strategy. You have to know your objectives; what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Is it just selling more of a product? Maybe you’re just trying to spread the word about your brand. Are you trying to sell an online course? Generally speaking, you want to run a social media campaign because you want to:

  • Increase brand awareness: in most cases that means you want to build and grow a community with your followers. You want more people to “like” your page, or to follow your channel, etc.
  • Increase interactions: this means you want your followers to engage more with the content you post. Meaning you want more shares, comments, etc.
  • Lead generation: this is what you do if what you want is more email addresses collected from your website or landing page.
  • Sell more of your product or service.

Of course, your campaign doesn’t have to do just one of those. It can combine two, three or even all four of them. But the more goals you have, the more complex your campaign is going to have to be. If you’re just starting out, you want to keep it simple. You certainly don’t want to spend so much time running the campaign that you don’t have enough time to actually run your business. So stick to one or two goals for now. Awareness and interactions go well together. As do leads and sales.

  • Step 2: Define your goals

Even if “increase my brand awareness” or “sell more frozen pizzas” may sound like solid goals, they really aren’t. We need to give these objectives some structure. We need to get some numbers in there. If we say “Get 2,000 new followers in my YouTube channel within three months” or “Increase my frozen pizza sales by 60% by the end of this quarter”, now you have a goal! This really says where you want to go and how you’re going to know when you get there. So sit back, think really hard and set up some attainable goals for you and your business. After all, setting a goal of “getting one million subscribers in the next 24 hours” isn’t going to do anybody any good. You have to get real, here.

  • Step 3: Do your homework

Now that you have your goals clearly set, you know where you want to go. You have your destination firmly locked in. Now you want a general picture of the different ways you can get there. You want to know what the latest trends and strategies for social media marketing are. For this, you could always Google it and read articles, but that can be very time-consuming. The best strategy for this is to have this information precompiled and delivered regularly straight to your inbox. We’re talking about subscribing to specialized newsletters that deal with social media marketing campaigns. There are several good ones out there.

  • Step 4: Choose your vehicle

Even if you’ve never done any social media marketing and have little experience with social media itself, you’re probably aware there are different social media platforms out there. And they don’t target the same crowd. Users on Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, are very different in several ways. Putting your ads on LinkedIn will mean that they will be seen by a whole different audience than the one you would get on Facebook. And we’re not saying this is a bad thing. You just have to figure out who your ideal audience is and which social media platforms you can find them on. So this is another step where you have to stop and think. Think about your product or service and visualize your ideal client. What is their age group? Are they students? Professionals? Stay-at-home parents? Remote workers? Once you know who they are, find out what social media platforms they prefer and that’s where you want your campaign to be as well.

  • Step 5: Get ready to look and feel the part

Take a moment to think about your favorite brands. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about a fast-food chain, soft drink, store or whichever brand you want. Surely they have a logo and a distinctive color pattern. They also probably have a slogan and use a certain language in their ads. All of that is part of a brand and you need to do the same. Before you can even think about making your first ad, you have to give your brand a consistent look and feel. Colors, logos and language are a part of that, but not all. You have to decide how and how often you want to interact with your customers. What about customer service? Q&As?. And we can’t say this enough: you have to be consistent through all of this. So start building your brand.

  • Step 6: Get your content planned and start executing

We’re not just talking about planning and designing your ads here. Your clients will expect you to engage with them in more ways than just seeing your ads on their favorite social media platform. And a simple, static webpage that never gets updated won’t do well either. They’ll want to interact with you: comment on your social media posts, tell you which of your posts are their favorites, give feedback on your products or services, share your information with their friends and family, etc. So you want your brand to have a social media presence: a Twitter feed, YouTube channel, Instagram account, etc. And you will have to post regularly on social media to grow your following. Choose whether you want to post once a week, once a month, twice a month, whatever you can manage. But choose a schedule and stick to it. Not doing so might make people not want to engage with your brand. So make a content calendar and plan what content gets posted on which platform and when. After you have your content planned, then get ready to start creating it.

  • Step 7: Load up on tools

Creating your ads and content is going to require a specific set of tools. You can use just about any computer to write content using any word processor, so that’s not much of an issue. But you will need to get images and video for your social media posts. That means a camera and photo, video and audio manipulation software. Regarding the camera, you might be able to get away with shooting on your smartphone if it takes good enough stills and videos but be sure to test your hardware and decide if it gets you what you want. As for the software, there are plenty of well-known options. And you won’t need to spend a huge amount of money here as there are some excellent open-source alternatives. And you’ll want to save some money for the next step.

  • Step 8: Decide how much to spend

So now that you have your goals in mind, have chosen your social media advertising platforms, your brand identity is all set to go and have created your website, social media channels and created some posts and ads, it’s time to start the actual campaign. The first step now is deciding how much you want to spend. The amount you spend will, of course, depend on how much you have and are willing to pay. You could start out for a couple of dollars a day. Some big companies spend tens of thousands of dollars per day on social media advertising.

Some social media ads platforms make the process very easy for beginners. Facebook Ads, for example, can give you an average of how many page likes you can get per day with the budget you specify. And Instagram Ads work in pretty much the same way (they’re both owned by Facebook, after all).

So now you have everything you need and know how much you want to spend. All you need to do now is sign up for the social media advertising platform of your choice, follow their steps and you will then be running your first-ever social media campaign.

Remember that this campaign could be an important factor in your succeeding in taking your business to the next level, so take your time and go through all those steps carefully and thoroughly.

  • So, is that it?

Not quite. You’ve managed to set up your social media campaign and have it running. You maybe even have a couple campaigns running at the same time. But you shouldn’t just leave those campaigns running blindly without even knowing how well they’re performing or if they’re working at all. So what you need to be doing regularly is monitoring your campaigns. Each platform has its own way of reporting campaign performance (in their lingo, these are called your campaign analytics). So you have to learn how to understand these analytics. See which posts have been more effective and which ones less so. Boost the ones that work and get rid of the ones that don’t. Create new campaigns around new trends or new information that your campaign platforms provide you. And you want to monitor your campaigns at least once a day. As revenue comes in, you’ll want to create more complex campaigns using newer methods. But for now, you know how to start.

  • In conclusion…

Running your first social media campaign can be scary. We know that. And while you don’t need genius-level intellect to create and run one, we won’t lie and say that it’s all easy-peachy either. Social media marketing companies exist and can charge what they do for a reason. But you can do it on your own. Tons of small businesses are doing it and so can you. Use the steps we’ve provided you as a customizable template. Study those steps and see how you can make them work for you. Be thorough, keep it all real and surely you’ll succeed. I really hope to be seeing your ads on my social media in the near future.

Social Media Marketing Trends for 2021

Have you ever read Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth? At the end, Milo – the protagonist – looks at the world around him in a new-found appreciation for a lot of things he took for granted before. For a lot of people 2020 was their Phantom Tollbooth moment. Forced to stay indoors because of COVID-19, many found new ways to connect (or, in some cases, reconnect) to the world around them. Feeling ourselves back into the world in 2021, we too will look at everything in a whole new light with a vision shaped by what we learned while we were in lockdown. Social Media marketing doesn’t escape this. If you haven’t noticed, things are quite a bit different now than they were a year ago and you need to acknowledge this if you want your business to move forward. So read on to catch up on the top five social media marketing trends for 2021.

Trend #1: The Boomers are in the building

The baby-boomer generation is now in their mid-50s or older. Before the pandemic, a lot of people in this demographic hadn’t really gotten involved in the world of social media. If you have relatives in this 55-75 age group, you probably heard the line of “not having enough time” to learn about using social media. With most younger family members now at home and willing to teach them, boomers have really gotten into the game. Over 70% of people over 55 bought something online in the past month and the number is growing. If you don’t want to get stuck, don’t forget about the older audiences out there. And social media marketing agency in Chicago can target both younger and older audiences. 

Trend #2: Video is still big… but there are changes

Video marketing on YouTube is still going strong and is likely to remain so for some time. More people are looking at reviewer’s comments before deciding on buying items and more people are clicking on YouTube ads and proceeding to make purchases. That’s all great for advertisers, but there is something to consider. Recent studies point out that the average attention span for a YouTube ad is under 8 seconds, so the new trend here is getting the audience’s attention as soon as you can. If you haven’t nabbed their interest in 8 seconds, your ad will most likely be dismissed.

But there’s more to videos than just YouTube. There’s another big player in the game right now. As of writing this article, TikTok has been installed over a billion times and over 2 billion videos are watched on this platform every single day. So TikTok is another trend that can’t be ignored in 2021.

Trend #3: Environmental Consciousness

People have become a lot more environmentally aware in the last few years. This includes everything from being aware of the packaging their products come in to preferring brands that are more sustainable and perceived as “greener”. Product reviews are mentioning packaging and environment-friendly practices more prominently. So there are two trends that you can use here. First of all, you should absolutely do everything you can to make your brand greener. It’ll make it easier for buyers to like your brand. Second, once you do get environmentally friendlier, you have to get that information into all your ads and social media posts. Now that you have it, flaunt it.

Trend #4: Social Consciousness

Take a moment to think about the marketing campaigns you remember most from 2020. There’s a good chance they involved giving something either to people suffering the consequences of COVID-19 or the ones fighting it on the front lines. Maybe it’s the fast-food chain that offered free meals to healthcare workers; maybe it’s the big corporation that donated hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of soap, bleach and sanitizer to COVID-19 relief efforts; or the fashion company that had their workers switch to making masks. These companies managed to make people believe they cared about what was going on in the world. And consumers like companies that care about them. So think about the ways in which your brand can show people you care.

Trend #5: Inclusivity and Diversity

Recent events have shown just how much people care about diversity and inclusivity. Whether it’s gender, race or both, people are really invested in this issue. And brands are noticing. Whether it’s a company removing a face from a product or films and books being removed from catalogs because of racial stereotypes, animated characters being cut from stories because they apparently promote socially unacceptable behavior or big cosmetics companies choosing to feature transgender models, there are signs all around us that show how much brands are listening to what people are passionate about. Your brand won’t be able to grow and prosper if you don’t show your customers that you care just as much about those issues that are so important to them.

Bonus Trend: Consumer participation

Buyers don’t just rely on information provided by brands when deciding whether to purchase a product. They look for information from people who are actually using those products. And this doesn’t just mean reviewers on YouTube or other social media. People like to hear what the average, ordinary person on the street thinks about a product. Brands that are aware of this can use it to their advantage. They can let users submit pictures, videos and other materials that showcase their product being used in their day-to-day lives. There are some very powerful, effective campaigns being run by big brands and made completely from user-generated content.

In Conclusion…

The world is slowly getting back on its feet after the hard blow it suffered in the form of COVID-19. But being locked in our homes has allowed us to value a lot of things we used to take for granted and given us an appreciation of brands and companies who were able to do the same. This is what is shaping the new social media marketing trends for 2021, some of which we’ve outlined here. But if you take a closer look at most of these trends, whether is acknowledging that an older audience is more active in social media, being more environmentally or socially conscious, being more diverse or inclusive or letting consumers take part in creating campaign content, all of that boils down to just one thing: authenticity. If you want your social media marketing to succeed in 2021, your brand has to be authentic and tightly connected to your consumers’ interests and personalities.

How to Advertise on a Shoestring Budget – By Chase Nilson

I recently sat down with a friend of mine on one of my many Zoom meetings of the day.  He told me he had been reminiscing about his past travels through posting on his Travel Blog on Instagram. We both sighed in unison: it’s been too long since traveling was a “thing.” He went on to tell me he was discouraged by his lack of following. He uttered excuse upon excuse as to why he couldn’t do anything about it, namely because of his lack of funds. As he went on and on, I finally had to stop him.

“You can still advertise on a budget!” I exclaimed.

And I meant every word! If you’re like my friend and are overwhelmed with the anxiety of getting your small business out there during the pandemic, fear not. Yes, money may make advertising your small business easier, but it’s not everything. In fact, if you do not have the creativity or passion, you have nothing. So, if you have your creativity and passion ready to go at a moment’s notice, here are some of my tips to advertise on a shoestring budget. 

  • Authenticity is Key

My friend quickly got up from his chair to grab a paper and pen. “What do I need to change about my page?” he asked. I was struck by the question. Too often in social media, we resort to changing our posts, our goals, even ourselves in the hopes of garnering a significant following. The cliché phrase, “be yourself,” exists for a reason. What I’m getting at, is authenticity is key. And it’s priceless. True, you can implement new social media strategies, but sacrificing your authenticity is a huge “no.” When beginning your journey to advertising on a tight budget, always keep in mind that being your authentic self will always pay off. You enjoy using flowery word choice in your captions? Make them into the brightest floral arrangement imaginable. Truth is, changing who you are simply is not sustainable, and in my friend’s case, his travel blog would become more of a chore than a passion.

  • Create a Realistic Cadence

While my friend stood up to grab a pad and paper, I quickly went onto his Travel page to see what else he could be implementing. The cadence of his posting immediately popped out at me. Some days he was publishing 10 posts a day, whereas sometimes he went weeks without a post! This was problematic. You see, if you desire for your audience to engage with your product, adhering to a realistic cadence is critical. If you are posting your product every other day, then suddenly ten times per day, your audience will suddenly be inundated with content and will grow annoyed. Instead, stick to a rhythm that works for you. Perhaps, you devote a portion of your lunch hour, 5 times a week, to posting about your product. Maybe, you work up to posting once before work, and once after work. Whichever cadence you choose, stick to it! Your audience will become accustomed to your posting habits, and will appreciate the notifications alerting to your shared post!

  • Buy DBC Brand’s Hashtag Lists

Looking more in-depth on my friend’s posts, I noticed his habit of using the same 3 hashtags over and over. “I never know which hashtags to use,” my friend said. I understood this. At the beginning, hashtags can seem overwhelming. Before I began my work at a Social Media Marketing Agency in Chicago, the mere sight of a block of hashtags made my eyes glaze over. However, I learned very quickly that they’re there for a reason: to get noticed! To get better acquainted with hashtags to better advertise your product, do your research! In my friend’s scenario, start with keywords like “travel” or “explore” or “adventure” and see what hashtags populate and how often they’re used! Or, if you find yourself short on time and research bandwidth, check out DBC Brand’s hashtag lists! As a Top Creative Agency in Chicago, you can get access to dozens of hashtags for a miniscule fee! Curated by pros who know advertising and marketing, you will be well on your way to promoting your product.

  • Meme it Up in your Stories!

After my friend jotted down a few notes, he began to laugh to himself. Naturally curious, I asked what was so funny. He put his phone up to his camera to reveal a meme from our favorite TV show. “Focus!” was my first thought. But then, it clicked. Using memes in your Instagram stories is a great way to advertise… and it costs nothing! Think about it: how often are you sitting at your desk, working, and suddenly, you are overcome by the need to check Instagram and its many memes (*raises hand slowly*.) It’s okay! Memes are generated not only for humor, but they can do a number in product advertising! So, stop being so serious, and post those memes on your Instagram story! Your audience will enjoy the comedy, and, most importantly, will be brought to your product!

  • Hire DBC Brand to do the Work!

My friend’s pen dropped to the table, and he looked at me incredulously. “I’m trying to advertise on a shoestring budget here!” True, hiring a team costs money, but bear with me. Consider value: giving the work to a team of experts who advertise and market day in and day out has incredible value. They can lead your product to places never thought imaginable. DBC Brand not only has the know-how, they have affordable options for startups and those that are just getting their feet wet with marketing. In fact, with purchase of DBC Brand’s Bootstrapped Plan you’ll get a monthly content calendar, 4 hours of consultation, monthly analytics, and a social media blueprint for only $20/day. Just think about the new heights in which your product will go!

In Conclusion…

My friend’s face visibly softened with relief. Not only is advertising on a shoestring budget possible, it’s doable, too! Focus first on cementing your passion and creativity. Then, using authenticity as mortar, and posting cadence, hashtagging, and memes as bricks, you are well on your way to a successful advertising plan. The finishing touch? Hire DBC Brand! Your prior implementations will guide DBC’s expert team to bring your product to your goals and then some.

Building A Winning Social Media Strategy After 2020

REFLECTING ON 2020

At the beginning of 2020, I had many expectations.

I expected to move to a new country. I anticipated the exchanging of culture, ideas, and languages with new friends. I dreamt of the places I would travel to. I imagined the Instagram pictures I could take.

Then, 2020 happened.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I expected normalcy to return within a month or two. Even so, I stewed in anxiety day in and day out, wondering how we’d manage through this time of difficulty. Not to mention, what would the future look like?

I believe these fears plagued the rest of us Social Media Marketing Agency employees, too. How can we build a brand, sit in the uncertainty of its future, yet envision a meaningful relationship with our audience?

As 2020 has taught us, the art of the pivot yields a steep learning curve. When a curveball is thrown, we must dodge to the right, stumble a bit, until we walk gracefully in a new direction. The same goes for social media strategy. As we start from Square One, we employ a new strategy, tweak it, then yearn for excellence.

Truth is, we cannot know what the future holds for us: we can only prepare. As hard as this year has been, we have learned a lot about social media. Its influence is twofold: social media has the power to connect us, and it has the power to spread useful information all around the world. With this in mind, we consider the following crucial questions: What worked in 2020? What completely fell flat in 2020? Where do we go in 2021?

 

WINNING STRATEGIES FOR 2021 

  1. Engage!

In my personal life, social media has acted as a lifeline. In the most dismal of days and in the most mundane of days, I turned to my platforms to connect and engage with family and friends. This brings us to our first winning social media strategy for 2021: Engage, Engage, Engage!

No matter the circumstance, we all want to feel heard. We want to feel understood, to feel noticed. Have you ever commented on a public figure’s Instagram picture, and received a comment in return? How did it make you feel? If I can take a guess, I’d say it made you feel connected. The individual’s social media people did not engage with you randomly. They engaged with you to draw you further into their brand; to let you know that your voice matters.

The point is, the more you engage with your audience, the more connections you make. The more connections you make, the more successful your brand becomes. Even as the future feels uncertain, you can be certain that communicating with your audience will make an impact!

  1. Create Story Content

Like all of us, I’ve had many stories to tell during 2020. Some were sad, and some were happy. Some were downright ridiculous! I often turned to Instagram and Facebook stories to let my friends know what I was up to, and what shenanigans I had gotten myself into. If you work in a Facebook Marketing Agency or Instagram Marketing Agency, ask: what stories does your brand want to tell? Make them known by creating story content! 

After all, how many times have you spoken with a friend and they began a sentence with “I saw on your Instagram story that…”? This is a perfect example of social media being used to connect and relay information. Don’t be afraid to tell stories to your heart’s content: the more stories you post, the more connected your audience becomes with your brand.

  1. Keep Your Messaging Consistent

Social media was abuzz most of this year with messages regarding COVID-19. Throughout the year, our understanding of the deadly virus changed rapidly, therefore we were inundated by the erasing of old guidelines and quick scribbles of new ones. I found myself irritated by the constant change in messaging. Now, I understand when dealing with a new virus, we don’t have the luxury of consistent messaging. But when it comes to building a brand, we can and should keep the messaging consistent. 

As we venture into 2021, consider: what does your brand represent? What do you want your audience to take away? We know that social media is the first impression of a brand, so make it count! An internal meeting with your business will ensure everyone is on the same page on messaging. From here, engage with your audience on social media so your followers never second-guess where your brand stands!

  1. Dabble in Video Content

As I reflect on this year, I think about the sheer amount of words I read in articles and social media posts about the pandemic. It wasn’t long before the words would blur, and my attention would divert to something more interesting. Words are pivotal in social media. But when you focus on just words, you ignore other types of content- like videos! This year, how can you create video content to get your audience engaged with your brand?

When I think about promotions that I’ve seen, the ones that stand out the most are succinct, impactful videos: the ones that offer a clear message, drama, and a desire to learn more. Yes, writing can be the glue that holds our social media together, but consider how videos act as a sequence in a story. In 2021, make it a goal to give your audience full access to the story of your brand.

  1. Check Analytics

Many of my mornings in 2020 began with a leisurely perusing of COVID-19 graphs. Did these graphs stress me out? Yes. Did they inform me? Yes. Did they let me know how I need to move forward? Definitely.

I know- just the word “analytics” may make some of us yawn. But when it comes to social media, checking analytics is imperative to understanding where you are in building your brand. It helps you determine what is working, what’s not working, and how you can move forward when strategizing content.

 

LOOKING TO 2021 

 

As 2020 comes to a close, I recall the expectations I had for this year. While some goals went unrealized, I look to 2021 to realize and exceed the goals I make.

Managing expectations while stepping through a global pandemic is stressful, especially when you’re communicating a brand through social media. Just when you thought you had your plan down to a science, a curveball was thrown. You had to pivot your focus, switch up content, do a lot of guessing, and hope your brand landed in a good place.

At the end of the day, we’re all on a wave of change, including social media. But when you prioritize audience engagement, consistent messaging, diversity of content, and reading analytics, you can expect 2021 to be a winning year for your brand!