10 Instagram Tips to Improve Your Reach

Instagram is a fun, versatile, visual-centric social media platform. And one thing above all others makes it unique among the big players in the social media game: it was specifically designed and built specifically for mobile devices from the ground up. With more and more people accessing the Internet from mobile devices, Instagram has become very popular. Other platforms like Facebook and Twitter have developed mobile apps as well, of course. But you can tell the networks themselves were originally designed for desktop browsers. Maybe you’ve already realized this and are considering, or maybe even started, using Instagram marketing. But how can you be really effective on Instagram? How can you best use the platform to grow your business? Here are 10 Instagram tips to improve your reach:

  • Understanding a bit about the algorithm

Before we get into the tips, we’ll give you a little information about Instagram’s Algorithm, because most of the tips have a lot to do with it. When you open your Instagram app, you see a feed with posts from the accounts you follow mixed in with some ads. You might think that the posts are simply ordered chronologically, with the newest ones at the top. And things actually were that simple once upon a time. But now Instagram, like almost every social media platform out there, uses an algorithm to sort posts. If you have noticed that some of your friends tend to show up in your feed very frequently and others very rarely, it might not just be how often they post. It might actually be that the algorithm prefers some of your friends’ posts over others and shows them first. The exact algorithm isn’t fully known outside the developer’s community, but users and social media marketers have figured out quite a bit. What all this means is that your Instagram posts and ads have to not only please your audience and followers, but the algorithm has to like them too. These tips can help.

1. Timing, timing, timing.

We’re pretty sure that you’ve heard that for a lot of things it’s all about location, location, location. On Instagram, the main issue you have to deal with is timing. There are analytical tools you can use  with your Instagram business account that can tell you which days and times your followers are more active in. You absolutely need to take this into account. While the algorithm takes into account other factors, newer posts will still tend to appear before older ones. If your followers are more active in the early afternoon and you post something at 9 AM, it could be buried under literally thousands of other content by the time your audience is on the platform. You have to post when your target is online. Fortunately, there are tools that can let you create your posts at your convenience and schedule them to be published when you need them to.

2. Remember where you are

Each social media platform is unique in its own way. And while it is possible to cross-publish the same content on different media (for example, making the same post on Instagram and Twitter) and the app even has convenient buttons that let you simultaneously publish your post to Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr, your posts will tend to do a lot better when they are designed for each platform.

On Instagram, this means taking a few things into account. First, Instagram’s main interface is designed for 1:1 aspect ratio posts. For those who don’t remember how proportions work, that means that pictures and videos on the main feed should be square. But most still and video cameras shoot in either 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios. So if you have to factor that into the composition of your shoot. Otherwise you will end up choosing between cropping out something important or letterboxing, which doesn’t look as good.

And then there’s the caption. A lot of people just write a couple of sentences. Maybe they’re used to posting on Twitter or other short-form social media platforms and just don’t realize Instagram is different. Here captions can be up to 2,200 characters long. That’s almost as long as nine tweets! And people are actually reacting better to longer posts on Instagram. For the past three years it’s been the posts longer than 1,000 characters that have been getting the most engagements.

3. Authenticity is key

No matter the platform you’re using, the key to success is authenticity. Be yourself. Keep it real. Don’t let your brand become just another faceless company. Let people know where you stand on the important issues and follow through with it. Share your successes, by all means. But also share your challenges and issues. Let them have a glimpse of how you operate: from how-tos to behind-the-scenes takes from making your posts or using your product or service. And make sure to engage back. If someone asks a question, answer it. If someone comments on a post, acknowledge them, thank them or interact with them in any way. Building this kind of relationships can greatly increase your reach on Instagram. And it’s been shown that Instagram’s algorithm prefers posts that get a lot of interactions in a short time. So the more you and your followers engage with your post, the more the post will attract the algorithm.

4. Tell stories

Stories have become a major feature on many social media platforms. These are short-form videos that are available typically for just 24 hours. Instagram really likes stories. When you open the app, they appear at the very top of the screen; above your regular feed. This feature has become very popular. You won’t be placing your regular ads here due to the extremely short duration. But it is a great place for the type of short how-to and behind-the-scene videos we mentioned in the previous tips.

5. Mix up your content

An Instagram post requires some kind of medium. Initially it was for photos only, but the ability to post videos has been around for a while now. And while video is becoming increasingly popular using video is, generally speaking, a great strategy for your business, digging a little beneath the surface reveals some interesting information. It turns out that still images get much more “likes” than videos… but videos get a lot more comments. While it’s not clear if the algorithm values likes over comments or the other way around, or if each kind of interaction has the same value, it’s logical to try and get as many of each as possible, just to have all your bases covered, if nothing else. So, post images to try and get more likes and videos to boost your comments.

6. Host contests

Contests with calls to action are a great way to create more engagements on Instagram. A call to action is something that you ask people to do to have a chance at the prize. If, for example, you own a pizza business, you could host a contest to win a family-size pie and your call to action could be “Name your favorite pizza topping ingredient and tag two friends who you could share a pizza with”. Hosting contests like these regularly can really push your brand forward. So figure out just how much you can afford to spend on the prizes and go for it.

7. Have some fun!

Instagram posts don’t always have to be formal, planned out ads. There’s also room for funny memes, famous quotes, jokes and other informal content you can put out just for fun. Just make sure this contents still represents the real you and your values. Remember that authenticity is the key.

8. Create content people can save

Another way you can get more people to follow you is to create content that people want to save for later viewing. There was a time when an Instagram post could consist of only a single image or video. But that’s not the case anymore. Now a single post can contain up to 10 images and/or videos. This lets you create things like tips, step-by-step guides on any number of things, recipes, mini-catalogs, lists and other content that people may find enjoyable or even helpful. If you publish enough saveable content regularly, more people will want to follow your brand.

9. Publish regularly

This is a basic strategy where a lot of brands fail. Instagram is a pretty fast-paced platform and content you post loses relevance quickly as it’s buried under thousands of new posts. If you want to reach more people on Instagram, you need to publish regularly. It’s best to publish every day. However, while it’s generally agreed you have to post daily, there’s no universal guide to how many posts a day you need. Some of the most successful brands on Instagram really throw themselves into it, with over 50 posts every day. Other equally successful brands post only a handful of times a day. You have to find what that “sweet spot” is for you. But once you’ve chosen a posting frequency, stick to it. You won’t have much successes if you sometimes make 20 posts a day and others only two. Try to be regular.

10. User-generated content

One of the most successful strategies and trends that has been emerging on social media in recent years is user-generated content. Encourage your users to send you pictures and videos that show them enjoying your products: wearing the clothes you design, enjoying a meal at your restaurant (with biosafety precautions, of course), showing the perfect cake they decorated following your how-to, etc. You can even encourage them to send in honest reviews about what they like about your product and where it can be improved. This can show that you care about and value what they have to say. And this user-generated content is more well-remembered and trusted by other users, who will then like and identify with your brand better.

  • Wrapping it up…

Although Instagram isn’t exactly new. It was launched on iOS in 2010 and for Android in 2012. For a 10-year-old social media platform, it’s still running strong with millions of people using it every day. It’s still an excellent choice for growing your business and a lot of what we mentioned in these 10 Instagram tips to improve your reach can help you even if you’re using a free account. Business accounts have even more powerful tools. And all these tips can help you get more followers organically. By having users like your posts, share them with their friends, some of which will also follow you, and again and again, always expanding the circle. And growing like this is a great feeling and makes the connection even stronger. So whether you’ve already created an Instagram account or not, consider the platform, keep these tips and mind, have some fun and watch your reach increase.

5 Benefits for Hiring a Social Media Marketing Agency

People are always looking for new, better ways to communicate and keep in touch with others, tell stories or maintain records of important personal or social events. That need led to the invention of cave wall paintings, writing, mail, radio, the telephone and modern communication tools like email, the web and social media platforms.

With many people having to keep themselves confined to their homes since early 2020, social media use has grown considerably. And as more people use social media, the more attractive these platforms become for marketing. For any brand looking to grow in 2021, this is a must. If you’re an entrepreneur that’s just putting together your first startup or have an established brand and are looking to take it to the next level, you’re probably considering advertising on different social media platforms. Maybe you’re wondering whether to run the campaigns yourself or hire someone to do that for you. Here we’ll show you some benefits for hiring a social media marketing agency.

1. A lot less learning

If you’re relatively new to the social media scene, you probably know about Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But that’s just barely scratching the surface. There are tons of other platforms: TikTok, LinkedIn, Quora, Researchgate and many others. But it’s not just knowing that there are a lot of platforms; you have to be familiar with their profiles. Different platforms attract different demographics. The average user on Reasearchgate is vastly different from the one on TikTok. If you’re going to advertise on different platforms, you have to know who is more likely to see your ads. Of course, you could always study these platforms, use them and see what they’re like for yourself. But it’s far easier to hire an agency that already knows them. Some agencies even have specialists in each of these platforms and they can help you be more efficient on them.

2. All-in-one solution for creating ads

There are different kinds of ads. YouTube and TikTok ads are videos. Instagram ads can be videos, one image or a series of images. Facebook ads can be almost anything, including articles. Almost every social media platform has certain formats you must adhere to. If you’re going to create your ads yourself, you’re going to need image manipulation software, video editing software, video cameras, still image cameras and, of course, know how to use all of that. While learning to do it yourself can be a fun and very rewarding experience, doing so will take time that you could use to actually run your business. Social media marketing agencies have teams of graphic designers and video editors that can create high-quality ads for you in far less time.

3. Consistency in branding

Take a moment to think about your favorite brands. It doesn’t matter if it’s a supermarket chain, clothing, soft drink or baseball team. Each one of them has its own distinctive colors, logos, slogans, images, music and even recognizable fonts. If you want to establish your new brand or scale it up to the next level, you must achieve the same level of consistency. You must have a distinct color palette that will be easily recognizable and will separate you from your competition. An eye-catching, easy-to-identify logo is also a big help as is a catchy slogan. But branding can involve a lot more. Your branding can identify with goals and values and let others know where you stand on important issues. Keeping your branding consistent while targeting different audiences on different social media isn’t always the easiest thing to do. How can you simultaneously market to a 70-year-old grandmother on Facebook and a 19-year-old college student on TikTok while staying true to your brand? Social media marketing agencies have the expertise to help you keep your brand solid and consistent.

4. Better analytics

When you have one video ad running in one campaign on YouTube, keeping track of its performance is easy. If you spent 500$ on an ad that was viewed 1,000 times and got 100 sales, then you paid 50 cents for each view and 5$ for each sale. Easy! But things can get pretty complicated very quickly. Suppose you have 10 different video ads, running on 5 different campaigns on YouTube and, besides that, you are simultaneously running marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Each of these campaigns will be generating data that must be studied so you can get the most bang for your buck. Some campaigns will be more efficient than others and you might want to put more money into those. Some might not be even working at all and you would be better off shutting them down. Setting up the tracking codes for these analytics can be pretty hard on its own, but then the data has to be monitored, ideally several times a day. Again, this is something you can learn to do yourself. But social media marketing companies will definitely be more familiar with the process and can guide you through the decision-making process. They would also probably have access to better, more expensive analytical tools that might be outside your budget when you’re just starting.

5. Less time and less money

Like we mentioned before, you can run your social media marketing yourself. But you’ll need some specific hardware and software to create your ads. Maybe you already own some of it and have some basic knowledge on how to use them. But surely you’re going to need at least some additional training and/or equipment to get the really professional-looking results you want for your ads. This means spending some money and taking what could be a considerable amount of time. Hiring an agency to do your social media marketing could potentially cost less and will definitely take less time than doing it in your own. And remember… the time you spend creating and setting up ad campaigns and then monitoring campaign analytics is time that you are not spending on the business you created and doing what you love and do best.

In conclusion…

Social media marketing is a must these days, whether you are looking to scale your brand or are just starting from scratch. This type of marketing is extremely powerful and both more accessible and affordable than the TV commercials we’ve all known since our childhoods. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a steep learning curve. Social media marketing might have started out simple enough, but those early strategies won’t cut it anymore. Marketing on social media has gotten a lot more sophisticated and much more competitive. If you’re just getting into the arena, it can be a lot to handle. We’re not saying it’s impossible for you to learn to do it on your own. You totally can. The real question is if you can learn quickly enough to do it efficiently while keeping your brand consistent. You probably started your business because you love and have a passion for doing something and, if you want to keep happy in your business, that’s what you should spend most of your time doing. When all is said, the main reason you might want to consider hiring a social media marketing agency is because it’s faster, more efficient and will leave you with more money, more time to do the things you like to do and spend more quality time with the people you love.

Facebook Marketing Trends to be Aware of for 2021

No matter what many people say about Mark Zuckerberg and his social media platform, the truth is that Facebook is still the king of social media. Nearly 3 billion people use Facebook every month. Putting that number in perspective, that means the over one third of the world’s population is active on Facebook. Sure, there are new players in the game and platforms like TikTok and Snapchat are growing very quickly but Facebook is still the largest. After all, no one has to exclusively use one single social media platform. I’m sure you know someone who is active on three or four different social media services. Maybe you’re one of those people yourself.

So, billions of people use Facebook, and that means it’s still a prime platform for marketing and likely to remain so for quite some time. If you’re starting your business or already have one and want to scale it, you absolutely should consider advertising on Facebook. But just like on any other platform, Facebook marketing has changed and evolved over time. You can’t do the same things that worked a couple of years ago. Taking that into account, let’s have a look at what does work right now. Hare are some Facebook Marketing trends to be aware of for 2021.

1. Get some motion and sound in your ads

Once upon a time, Facebook ads were still images: photos, infographs or other designed graphics. And while still images are still in work and remain effective, video has been taking over. Video ads are currently almost 20% of all ads on Facebook and that amount is increasing each year. And its not just the amount of ads; users are interacting more with videos that with pictures. In other words, users tend to click on more videos than stills. So you should definitely consider making video ads for Facebook.

The good news is that these video ads don’t need to be too sophisticated. They don’t need to look like professionally shot ads made for TV. You will, of course, need some basic equipment and software but that doesn’t necessarily mean spending a ton of money. You can make some very engaging ads with a decent smartphone camera and video editing programs that might even come preinstalled with your computer’s operating system.

2. Augment your reality

Just to be clear here, augmented reality is not the same as virtual reality. Virtual reality creates an entire artificial environment you can explore and interact with. VR could let you explore the Titanic just like it was the moment it set sail. Or maybe walk around a fictional base on a fictional planet many light years away. In any case, the entire environment is artificially generated. Augmented reality, on the other hand, projects artificial objects into a real environment. Do you remember the craze when the Pokemon Go game came out a few years ago? That’s a great example of augmented reality: people would look through their phone’s camera and see the characters placed on real streets, benches or other real-world objects. Another example of augmented reality are those Snapchat filters people use to put on virtual sunglasses, rabbit ears or other objects.

While still new and technically more complex than creating a video ad, AR is getting some serious attention in Facebook Marketing. A lot of companies are creating their own AR filters for use in ads. Suppose your business sells designer frames for eyeglasses. AR could let people see what they look like wearing them and help them decide which model they like better. Or suppose you sell original art. Using augmented reality a potential buyer could see exactly what a painting would look like hanging in their living room.

3. Let your users in on the fun

A lot of companies and brands are turning to user-generated content (UGC) for their ads. While professionally taken photos and videos using models are still an option, a lot of people are preferring to see real users using products in everyday scenarios. Letting users send in videos and pictures is also a great way to get free content for your ads. This means that using user-generated content not only gets you images and videos that your audience can better relate to, but you save some money as well. A lot of major brands like Coca-Cola, Netflix, Starbucks and Apple have run some very successful campaigns built around UGC and this is something you definitely want to do in 2021.

4. Diversify your copy

The text on your Facebook ads can be almost any length; from just a couple of sentences to whole pages’ worth of copy. And there’s no universal formula for success. Some people react better to short ads that just drive the point straight home. Others prefer longer ads, with detailed specs, descriptions and testimonies. Yet others prefer something in between. And all of them are valuable potential customers for your brand or business. So you don’t want to lock yourself into one type of ad copy. What you want to do is mix it up. Create a few different ads of each type and have them all running at the same time so you can reach more people.

5. Hit’em where they can’t miss you

There are several places within the Facebook user interface where you can place an ad. But studies have shown that not all of them are equally effective. Since the place where users typically spend more time is their newsfeed, newsfeed ads will be very hard to miss. Newsfeed ads are not only more visible, but users tend to click on them more. Newsfeed ads have been found to have a click-through rate of about 2%, which is a lot higher than other kinds of ads.

6. Cater to their tastes

People like to feel that you are talking specifically to them. Generic, made-for-everybody ads just won’t cut it in 2021. To run a successful marketing campaign on Facebook, you have to learn to target different demographics so, depending on your business, you might want to make ads that target certain age groups only. Or one campaign aimed at men and another one aimed at women. This requires some studying, but you need to get it right. Users are much more likely to react favorably to an ad that’s personalized to their tastes and preferences.

7. Tell a story

Love them or loathe them, stories have entered social media to stay. Stories have become a prominent feature on all major platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. TikTok is basically a giant reel of stories. For those of you who still aren’t familiar with them, stories are short, informal videos that focus on a single message. Quick and straight to the point. This makes them very well suited to advertising. If you’re following the trends mentioned in this article, you’re already going to be making video ads. You might as well use those same tools to make short videos to run as stories.

8. Learn the language of Emojis

A lot of users on Facebook might not take a second glance at an ad with just text, especially if its of the longer copy type. But using emojis in your ad can make it really shine and people will be more likely to interact with it. Some companies have actually been bold enough to make ads consisting solely of these little images. So feel free to throw them into your ads… have some fun!

In Conclusion…

Facebook has been around for a long time… just over 17 years. There is a whole generation of people who can’t remember a time when there was an internet without Facebook. But despite its age, it is still hugely popular with billions of users active on it every month. With so many people using it, Facebook is still a prime advertising platform. Whether you’re beginning your first startup or have an established brand and are looking to get more business, you definitely want to consider marketing on Facebook. But as with any other social media marketing platform, there are strategies that work and others that just don’t. To make matters even more complex, the things that work are constantly changing and keeping up with them can be hard. In this article we’ve presented some of the trends that are working in 2021 and are things you’d be wise to consider if you’re just starting on Facebook ads or are renovating your campaigns. So fire up your cameras, plan and write your copy, make some ads and start advertising.

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!