Top 5 Digital Marketing Trends in 2021 – Carole Bardasano

In this week’s episode, we are so lucky to have Carole Bardasano, founder of Digital Buzz, on the show to share what she thinks the top digital trends coming this 2021. Her many skills including being a multi-lingual landed her the Swatch’s Group Head of Digital Marketing for the US market post. She strongly believes that having a strategy can help you succeed in business. Social media or digital media trends, as a whole, changes so often that what works 3 months ago may not work at this time. It is a continuous journey of discovering what works and what doesn’t. This year, 2021, greatly video marketing. Showing up in front of the camera and talking directly to your audience plays a great deal in customer experience as well as search engine’s algorithm. Another huge trend this year is direct messaging as it brings you to an almost-personal level with your customers.

Carole believes in investing in doing research about your business. Your business should answer a problem while you make a profit out of it. If these two aren’t met, then it’s not going to work out. This episode is jam-packed with everything digital marketing that you wouldn’t want to miss!

Carole’s website:


Katie Brinkley 0:02

Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode. Welcome back to Rocky Mountain marketing. My guest today is Carol BARDA Sano. Carol is one of the leading experts in digital marketing for working professionals and has over 20 years of experience working with Fortune 500 Companies such as MTV, Warner Brothers SWaCH Omega Paramount Comedy Central, the NBA, Telemundo, Univision, and Macy’s among others. That’s already a big list. Wow. Most recently, she was the US head of digital marketing at the Swatch Group, Carol led the growth of the brand’s online revenue by 72% on all digital channels, she collaborated with the NBA at Macy’s GQ magazine, in the company’s key digital marketing campaigns and partnerships. Since founding the digital buzz, Carol has worked with numerous businesses, nonprofits and organizations to launch optimize and manage more than 20 million in Facebook and Instagram advertising campaigns, including for NBC Universal, wow, that I’m so excited to have you on the show today. And we’ve been following each other on Instagram for a while. So I feel like this is going to be an episode between two old friends. So thank you so much for joining me today.

Carole Bardasano 1:31

Thank you, Katie. Thank you for having me. I am so excited about this conversation. Yes. Like you said, we’ve been kind of like back and forth on DMS. There’s nothing like a face to face interaction or like mouth by mouth interaction, I guess voiced by boys. So yes. So happy to be here. Thank you, thank you. And I love when I met you, I love that you do real estate because that’s kind of one of the groups of people that that you teach. And I’m really excited since 2020. When reels came along that I find that it’s such a great tool to include in their marketing efforts. So I think that this is your time, girl.

Katie Brinkley 2:07

Yeah, this, you know what, and I love my real estate agents and just getting them comfortable on camera. Because when you first start doing video, it feels so awkward and you feel like you’re so phony. But once you get comfortable behind in front of the camera, instead of just being behind it all the time. That’s when you can really see your social media grow. But before we dive into strategies too much, I want our listeners to learn a little bit about you tell us about your your upbringing, where you grew up and what your life was like growing up.

Carole Bardasano 2:38

So I actually grew up in Venezuela, I was born there. I don’t know if I grew up there. I came when I was 14. So I don’t consider yourself at 14 that you’re fully grown right. And I’ve been here since then. And my came I did my college here. And I started working here. In television. My background is in marketing in as a media executive. So I spent 16 years in corporate working for brands such as Warner Brothers, NBC, American Idol, MTV paramount, and that was always my professional career was based, just on corporate, that’s where my dad, how he worked and how my brother works. So that was kind of like the family establishment in a way where you know, stability, you work until the day you die. My dad just recently retired last year after 53 years straight of working for the same company, which is the kind of stuff that you don’t really hear about anymore.

Katie Brinkley 3:39

I just gonna say you don’t hear that anymore. Barely. I feel like a lot of people don’t stick at the same company for for 53 years. That’s insane. That

Carole Bardasano 3:46

is insane. I think it’s an immigrant mentality where survive, survive, you just have to make money until the day you die. My dad doesn’t spend anything. I think he still has the same shirt from 20 years ago. So I kind of grew up that way. It was when I was working at Swatch Group. So when I would just like to take it back a little bit when I was working at Viacom after 15 years of being in corporate, I realized the power of digital marketing. Now this was back in 2013. It’s not like now we all see it Oh, online business, all these platforms. Instagram wasn’t even around. So when I was there, and of course, being at MTV, it’s the millennial generation we’re trying to reach we’re trying to promote our shows too. And they were so fragmented and so diverse. It was really, really difficult to promote a show just using basically on air promotions, because they weren’t really there. And having meeting strategy meetings to talk about how to reach this market is when I realized, wait a second, I need to learn this digital marketing thing for real and it’s not gonna be about me watching a YouTube video or me reading a couple of blogs that’s not gonna cut it in order for me to be a proper professional and put together A digital marketing strategy. So I did something crazy after five years in that job, which is I quit. And I moved to San Francisco to get my master’s degree in digital marketing. Now I at this point, I’m already in my 30s. So I’m no child, I had to go back to school with a lot of 20 year olds, which was extremely humbling, but at the same time was really exciting because I was learning all these new stuff. And after a year, I came back and I started from scratch. I started on LinkedIn applying to digital marketing jobs, I was no longer interested in staying in television or in broadcasting, I really wanted to get into it. So I would apply like 50 to 50 different jobs every day, I took LinkedIn, like my full time job. So I started applying and applying and I got an interview at Swatch Group, who is the company that owns eight different brands, they have t so they have swag, they have omega, and they were just moving from New York to Miami. And they needed someone that knew digital marketing, but that also spoke French, which I do because I was a very random profile. And I was like French

Katie Brinkley 6:06

too. Yeah. That is awesome. How many languages do you speak?

Carole Bardasano 6:10

I speak three fluently? Yeah. So that’s, that’s a

Katie Brinkley 6:15

lost form to in this day. And especially in America were so bad here in America about speaking multiple languages fluently, but that’s awesome.

Carole Bardasano 6:23

Yeah, I’ve also I’ve always been into languages. And when I learned French, since I was 15, I was like, I’m never gonna use this. And they never really do, except when I did went to the interview, because their headquarters are in Switzerland. So they needed someone who spoke French, but no digital marketing. And I was the only person in all of Miami with that very strange, bizarre profile. So I guess I was lucky, you never know when you’re going to need things, right? I would say learn as many skills as you can. Because that stuff is in your brain, you take that with with yourself forever. So that really helped me get through the door in digital marketing, I went and I was hired there as the head of digital marketing for the US market, which after finishing my degree, after spending a year studying and experience in Swatch Group working there for real, I realize, wait a second, they teach a lot of stuff. When you study digital marking that you never really use. It’s sort of like going to college, and then you get all these classes that you know, you’re never going to use. So I had a really strong aha moment working at Swatch Group. Why do they make this certificate programs very expensive, very long, very tedious when I know now for a fact, after being doing this for four years, at the time, now, I’ve been doing it for nine when I know you’re not going to need it. So I sort of started developing for myself. And for people that wanted my help, I developed the program where you could learn digital marketing in two days. And it was it was called Digital Marketing Bootcamp. Now, it’s been rebranded as digital marketing boss, which is a course I launched last year. But I said, Wait a second, people are busy business owners have 1000 things to do. They cannot take a year off, they cannot spend $20,000 on a course they need to learn this thing. They need to learn it well. And they need to learn now. And they need to know how can I put together a strategy in two or three days. So we developed this program. And this was Yeah, five years ago, and it took off really, really fast. In Florida, a lot of companies started hiring me because they needed their executives to learn again, fast, and they cannot afford their executives to be away. So that’s kind of how the company started. It was sort of I want to help people that have been that are where I have been, which is frustrated, I don’t know what I’m missing. I don’t know how to reach these audience, this specific audience and may be any audience. They’re all now fragmented. There’s so many platforms out there you there’s someone somewhere that you need to reach, and it’s probably very frustrating for you to reach them. So the idea for me was, I want to empower you with proper strategy, I want to empower you with knowledge. So that a you can do it yourself if you want to or be if you hire an agency, you know what to ask from them. Because a lot of times, it happens that agencies come up. I’m not an anti agency person in any way. But I have conducted a ton of audits where unfortunately, I do see things that they are charging for things are not doing because the client doesn’t know agencies know that you don’t know or a person a consultant may know that you don’t know. So you have to be careful. You want to be an empowered professional in that sense. So that’s the program that we develop. And it’s been, you know, a great ride. And of course, a program includes Instagram marketing and Facebook ads. So those are the three courses that we teach currently for the company. I

Katie Brinkley 9:47

love it. And you know, one of the things that you kind of touched on as you know, you started doing this back before Instagram was a thing and I’m right there with your girlfriend. I’ve been doing a social media thing since the days of MySpace. So and it’s amazing Seeing how things have changed, right? I mean, like, when I think about when I was in college and you know, back, I’m sure when you’re in college to like, being a social media strategist wasn’t a thing, a social media, anything wasn’t a thing. And look at how much it has changed our lives and the way that we work and do business, especially after the year that we had last year. I mean, everything is different. Now, if you don’t have some sort of footprint online, you’re missing out on business. And I love that you teach people how to I also, I offer one on one coaching and group coaching for people in the home industry to learn how to do their social media. Because I see it too. I see people where and clients and customers where they they’ve hired an agency, and they’re spending all this money on it, and all the agency is doing is copying and pasting and using some stock image photo, and of course, they’re not seeing results. Of course, they’re not gaining new clients and customers. And it’s because they don’t know them. The person who’s hired them doesn’t know any different. They think, oh, I need to post on social media, but they don’t realize exactly what you and I do. Like, there’s a strategy behind it. Everything works together, you can’t just expect to post a picture on Instagram, and have people knocking down your door to buy your product. That’s not how it works.

Carole Bardasano 11:17

Exactly. And that’s something that may have worked in 2016, posting a beautiful stock image with a beautiful quote, yeah, those days are gone. If you think about the evolution of Instagram, which is which started off as a photographer’s platform, that was the origin of Instagram was a platform for photographers and at its core, it continues to be very much about photography, but he they have had Instagram as a company has had to stay with the times of their competitors. So every time Facebook sees someone, us or another company, another platform that kind of gets close to them, they will launch a tool to compete with them. That means for you, you have to become an expert in that new tool in that new baby. Right now the new baby is real. But before that it was IG TV. And even before that before IG TV was stories when Snapchat came around, it was stories and it was all about stories. So we all had to scramble and create strategies for stories, even though we were all used to posting pictures. So yes, you have to literally stay on top of every single thing and switch up your content strategy every single week. Because what used to work the stops working very fast, because trends are short lived. There’s a ton more people on the platform is it’s a you’re competing with billions of pieces of content. So picture of a cat or Yoruba avocado toast, that’s not gonna work. I’m sorry.

Katie Brinkley 12:48

Oh, it’s really not and you know what I think this is a perfect segue into what we’re going to talk about today the the trends that we see well that you see happening in 2021 this year on social media, I love what this what we’re going to be talking about and we’ve had some chances to talk about this before we I hit record here and I’m right there with you. I’m in alignment on all of your your tips and trends here for 2021. And I think that tip number five is my favorite so let’s dive in to what you see the social media trends for 2021 are going to be in number one, you’re number one on the list, I guess number five, I don’t know are we gonna do a countdown at five five

Carole Bardasano 13:31

started with the one that I feel really changed everything and it was accelerated for sure. Which is another thing to mention. Every digital marketing train was accelerated in an artificial way by the pandemic ecommerce trends, digital marketing trends, lives conversational commerce, all those things were accelerated by a four or five years. So what

Katie Brinkley 13:54

to do they had to sit around on in their houses and play on their phones and look at new social media.

Carole Bardasano 14:01

Exactly I had I known it was going to be this I mean, I would have started my digital marketing before but I did start really early on so I can complain too much. But honestly short form short entertaining form of video is really coming out at the top in terms of trends, not just for social media, but trends for digital marketing and they can be in the shape of TiC TOCs in the shape of reels also in the shape of stories. So the important thing to mention about reels is that it has provided a huge opportunity for people who had a hard time being on video because being on video before and Instagram required you to either be on live or just talk on video bed. What reels offers is that you can do sketches you can do blue dances, you can do pointing on the air, which I know some people don’t like but that’s an opportunity. You can just talk for like 15 seconds. I mean anyone can do something can do anything for 15 In seconds, so even for those shy people who hate camera, it really offers a great opportunity for you to put yourself out there at the same time you want to stay on brand is something I need to mention because when you look at tick tock and if you’re a consumer of tick tock, and you’re also consuming reels, you have to understand that they don’t always translate exactly the same. So what you may be doing on Tik Tok, again, I’m talking as a brand, you want to make sure that whatever you’re posting on reel and reels is still related to the service that you’re offering. So let’s say I offer a digital marketing courses and help for digital marketing, there’s a ton of different tiktoks that I have in my head that are really funny, that have nothing to do with digital marketing. If I start posting that stuff, I’m really gonna dilute my message and they lose the content. And it may not be that I am now an influencer, who’s an actress, that’s really a shifting career. So you want to make sure that whatever reel you’re doing, you have to be playful, you have to be entertaining, but at the same time, your essence has to stay with what it is that your page is about where as tick tock, you can be a little more out there the level of creativity that you find on Tik Tok. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen unreal even though I’ve seen grade reels, but it is out there tick tock so if you if you haven’t signed up on tick tock definitely do. You don’t have to post but it’s a really good source of ideas, creativity, a lot of different trends that you will see on Tik Tok get translated on Instagram. So if you want to stay hyper relevant with your content, make sure that you are working with both platforms as a consumer before posting. So that’s a big one and I think we had this conversation before you seen the same Yeah, and

Katie Brinkley 16:47

I think that it was great to hear that you you use tick tock kind of for that idea generator like oh, that’s a good idea i can i How could I use that for my business because I love that. You said make sure you stay on brand. So you can go and get an idea from tick tock, bring it over into Instagram where your audiences and you’ve already been building that community, and you can make it for what resonates with your brand in your audience. So I think that’s a great tip. And one of the things too I see differently between Instagram reels and Tik Tok is that I feel like real Instagram reels are definitely more of a value base. Like even though you’re doing the short form video you’re doing the you know, the pointing or the dancing, whatever, I still feel like behind all of them. People are trying to give value with it. Or with Tik Tok. Man. I mean, if you go back and look at some of my tech talks are pretty out there and pretty silly. But I think that that’s kind of what tick tock is all about. And if you’re able to stay on brand on on your short form video, that’s super important, but you got to be doing it right. I mean, because the the reach on reels right now is ridiculous.

Carole Bardasano 17:55

1,000% Would you said it is it this is where we’re content value beats production quality, which helps all of us because we don’t have I mean, many most entrepreneurs don’t have a production house and agency and actually working with an agency in that sense. If you if your reel is to to polish, chances are it’s not going to perform as well. But people want to see is something that you did in your bedroom, or in your house or even if it’s outside, but he has to have that like relatable, raw, greedy, not overly produced feel to it. And I completely agree with you with what you said that about the value I heard something that summarizes Tik Tok and real so well it says reals is about let me help you and tick tock is about let me entertain you. And it’s very, very true. That’s exactly how you would summarize Of course, there’s a lot of helpful accounts on tick tock but at the core, that’s that’s what they what they’re about. And you need to understand that if you want to get into a real strategy, which I agree with you you if you’re not thinking about reels, you’re leaving a huge opportunity for growth, because it’s the only the only play placement that is on the Explore section. You can do that with stories. Stories don’t have that they’re not using or they’re not serving hashtags anymore. Before you could put up to 10 Hashtags you can still do but they don’t really work location tagging, you were able to get outside of your follower account. But now only your followers will see your story. So you are in a walled garden, when it comes to feed when it comes to stories when it comes to IG TV, whereas on reels that is the opportunity to be discovered for growth and of course eventually for profit because at the end of the day, this is a business and growth means profit. So yeah, you have to start thinking in 2021 about developing a real strategy, whether it’s once a month or twice a month, something

Katie Brinkley 19:46

you know, and I think that that kind of leads us into video marketing. That’s another trend that you see really kind of taken off this year. Talk to us a little bit about how you see video needing to be a part of every Businesses and every brand strategy.

Carole Bardasano 20:02

I think in terms of video, because video goes beyond social media, when you think about video, and when you look at, for example, Google on their on their ranking algorithm, Google ranks video really high. If you have video embedded on your website. I don’t know if people know this, this is a fact. So adding video to your product or to whatever website that you have is going to not just help increase your conversion rate, but it will help in your ranking on SEO. So video goes beyond just a platform, a social media platform. The thing about video is that it conveys the message in a way that you cannot end up in an image. It’s just impossible. You may even a carousel which I love carousels, and you can put in a lot of information in a carousel, I call them tiny books, because they’re so fabulous, you can learn something really fast in a fun way. But a video First of all, is the only way that you can humanize your brand. Really, I mean, you can show your picture of who’s behind the brand. Bad when you speak to that person when you hear a brand owner speak. Or when they’re actually connecting with you as to what it is why they do what they do. It’s a different level of intimacy that you can create. And that’s why I love this short form video because believe it has always been extremely intimidating for people. It’s like, oh my God, how much is video going to cost? I need to hire a producer and an editor and all those things bad now you have so many possibilities. And so many tools where you can edit yourself. One of my favorite apps to edit is in Shot and Shot edits, professional quality style, you can do every single format, you can add transitions, you can add slow motion, you can fast forward, it’s incredible. So and even I used

Katie Brinkley 21:51

to it’s it’s awesome. And chat is a fantastic tool. I’m glad that you recommended that.

Carole Bardasano 21:57

Yes, for sure. And I think that it’s funny because people when they start talking about oh, what’s your social media tool? What what tools do people use? People usually bombard other people with 100 tools, you don’t need 100 editing tools, you need one great one. And that one when it comes to video is in shot for me. Because that’s part of also something that I always make sure that I do which is not bombard people with unnecessary information. Information overload will paralyze you, it will. So you want to make sure that people understand, listen, these are the top tools. These are the top strategies. And these are the trends that you need to think about. No, you don’t need to be everywhere, none. You don’t need to do all the bells and whistles, it’s going to drive you insane. If you’re a company of one, you already have enough, you’re probably doing your taxes, you’re sweeping the floor, you’re doing everything right. So that’s also a key when it comes to where to focus your energy. And that’s why I think these trends are we’re going through it’s important because it gives them focus word matters.

Katie Brinkley 22:57

Yeah, exactly. And I think that to some people might be saying like God, Wolf, now I got to do video, you’re making me do short form video, I have to do long form video, do I have to hire a video production team? And the answer is absolutely not. And I think that that leads into another great trend that you see for 2021, which is showing up authentically. And that is just by holding your phone or putting your phone up in a tripod and using that to create some of these videos. Talk to us a little bit more about showing up authentically and 2021.

Carole Bardasano 23:30

Yeah, and this is this is something that is this key. I’ll tell you a little story of something that happened last year, I was hired by NBC Telemundo for their biggest launch, which is their was their number one show it was called lottery Mel soda, which is the queen of the south. And it was a very high budget glossy premiere of a show. I mean, like budget was no issue. So I was brought in to put together the digital marketing strategy for that show, which was in line and we had to work hand in hand with what was happening on air. Now when we got all the assets or the video assets from on air, I told them this is not gonna work on social, this looks like a commercial it is not going to work. So we created some pieces for social but again, because they are such a relevant company. It was still so highly produced. It was beautiful. It looked like a trailer look like a movie trailer. So we put out we created this launch. And we created all these pieces of content. And when we looked at the metrics at the end of the show at the end of the launch, which was nine weeks the asset that worked the best by far was the one that was calling for the premiere by the actress when she was holding the phone sitting on her couch that was the asset the piece of content that lasted maybe like 18 seconds that performed the best versus promos versus content that we had created for digital specifically, that were 1000s of dollars. I mean, we’re talking like six digits, it was insane to see that. And of course, that gives you an idea is it’s not about the money. People think that if only I had more budget, it has nothing to do with budget. It has to do with creativity. It has to do with of course, I mean, if some people have the personality, but you can develop the personality to when you stop caring about what anyone thinks that’s another thing people hold on to, what are they going to say? They’re going to think who do I think I am? Yes, some people will say that so and what are you going to do about it? For every 10 people that are going to be at home angry rolling their eyes? Oh, who does Katy think she is? So now she has a podcast? Oh, my God, you may be helping 100 people. So I don’t care. If you’re sitting in your pajamas, rolling your eyes and doing nothing for your life, I care about the person that I can help.

Katie Brinkley 25:51

Right, you know, and exactly. And, you know, I love that you said that. But I think that it’s so true. If you show up authentically, that is how you are going to build your following. That is what people want to buy from. I mean, if you’re showing up consistently on video, through reels through stories, through any sort of video format, people are going to get to know you. And when they know you or think that they know you, they are going to feel like they are making a purchase from a friend. Like I said, Carol and I have been hanging out on Instagram together for a while. But this is the first time that we’ve actually spoken to each other. But I feel like I’m just sitting down and talking with a friend because I’ve seen her show up consistently in her feed, and doing video and talking. When you’re talking to somebody on your Instagram videos, I feels like she’s talking directly to me. And that is what’s going to build your following that is what’s going to build that community around your brand is when they see you show up, they are going to want to buy from you because they know like and trust you and they feel like they are doing business with a friend and video is the connector.

Carole Bardasano 26:59

It’s so true. And I love that you mentioned that because it’s I get asked this question. I don’t want to be on video, how do you get good, you get good by doing it. When I started doing video I sucked. I did, I don’t know. 30 takes I hate hated them all I cringe at looking at myself. And that was you know, nowadays, that’s the least of my problems. I do not care how I look how I sound, I do the video, sometimes I stumble I posted and I move on to the next thing. And I just really focus on the other person. And that’s something that for you for any brand, whatever it is that your account is, is for any accounts that you have as a business, you’re helping someone achieve something, right. So when you change the focus from you to them, it really really changes everything. Today I got a I got a message of someone that said, they replied back to stories that your content makes me happy. I just want to let you know. And I’m like, oh my god, like, because it may be that I didn’t think that I didn’t. It’s not like I posted the Titanic, I just I was just doing something funny that wasn’t that big of a deal. You don’t need to have this amazing live, you just need to you know, make sure that you invite them stories and video and when I talk about video includes of course stories, which is the more you check in as a brand is that I always compared to that cubicle friend that you have next on your office or if you have you work with someone you get in your like checking with them, like you won’t believe what happened yesterday or whatever it doesn’t always have to be about I give tips. But I also make sure that I mix it up with other things so that it’s not like I’m a teacher and I’m in school all the time.

Katie Brinkley 28:39

I love it. And you know, you kind of segwayed right on in to number four, which is when someone choose to DM the conversations in the DMS. Let’s talk about that a little bit for another trend for 2021.

Carole Bardasano 28:52

So the other trend that that’s important to mention, and it’s sort of you know, goes with stories as well, when you get all those replies is was called conversational marketing or conversational commerce. So this is a big shift from a couple of years ago, or even a year ago when DMS weren’t as powerful, but DMS is a great opportunity for you to genuinely genuinely and I mentioned this in capital letters. And it’s not about pushing your product just sending like cold calls about your product on the ends. But it’s about focus focuses on helping the user with something it’s educating them about your product and nurturing them to conversion with a more thoughtful with a deeper conversation and empathetic tone. So when you jump on DMS with someone that has either asked something or maybe even reply to your story, it does it’s a longer path, but is a path that gives the biggest rewards first of all in what leads to the highest conversion, but it’s what leads to trust. So you want to make sure that those people at the end of the day Instagram or social media is about building community It’s not about selling stuff. Of course, you do that too bad, whoever doesn’t understand that it is about community is gonna have a very short lived career or short lived business. So yeah, so that part about establishing those conversations is definitely key.

Katie Brinkley 30:15

Yeah. And I think that it’s a good point like so DM is the direct message on Instagram. And there’s, that’s one of the things too, that I see a lot of people make the mistake on LinkedIn is the second that they try that they connect with me, all of a sudden, they’re showing up in my inbox trying to get me to buy mortgage insurance or something random from them. And I’m like, Look, I still don’t know you, just because I connected with you doesn’t mean I’m going to buy from you. So you can’t just pop into someone’s DM and instantly try to sell them something, build that relationship, get them involved with your social media community, have them begin to know like and trust you and see how you can solve their problem, then they might be willing to buy from you. So don’t just just because someone likes your post or left, a comment on your post doesn’t mean that they’re ready to purchase from you. So I think that that is a very, very valuable tip. Carol, if

Carole Bardasano 31:04

I may add with that, Katie, is that when you’re a business, the best way to have the DM conversation is to wait for them to contact you asking about the product. Some call to actions that I may include on some of my content is DM me for this information? DM me for that I don’t do this often. But I may do it on something that as a you know, added piece of content that is a little bit different than just link in bio, but I never do a DM that is unilateral just from me to you to sell you something you have to show interest first. Otherwise, it’s just going to be very invasive. DMS is your inbox. This is super personal stuff. It’s like going on a first date with someone I mean, you don’t want to hold someone’s hand on the first day. I mean, that may be but it’s, you’re risking it or you’re trying to kiss someone on the first day that you’re messing with fire there.

Katie Brinkley 32:00

Well, this has been so valuable, what tips or advice would you give any business owner that that’s just starting out.

Carole Bardasano 32:08

So if you’re just starting out, there’s a few steps, let’s say if you want to start, let me take it a step back. Because some people may just be thinking, oh my god, I really want to get into the online space, or they have a dream or they have a side hustle, whatever you people are in different phases of their lives. The first thing is that I cannot overestimate enough of the power of research, you have to research that space that you want to get into. And most people because they’re busy, and they really want to get this the show on the road. They skip spending time here, you want to research your competitors, you want to understand the level of interest that there is in whatever it is that you want to do, let’s say you want to do lettering or whatever, or necklaces were made of wood, there’s so many random things that people want to do, right? So make sure that this is that you understand the price points who’s out there who’s not out there, how you can serve that public. What problem do you solve? You only have a business if you solve a problem, it’s not a business unless you actually can help someone. So maybe they you like something particular. But if you’re not helping, it’s sort of a hobby, honestly, it’s a business when you are actually helping. So you want to check, are people making money in this space? Is this profitable? Not just do I fix this problem? But can I make profit from it? Because the level and you know this because you’re a business owner, the level of energy and effort that a business requires is immense. So you want to understand if I’m investing all this time and effort, am I going to get something in return? And maybe you don’t and you’re okay with it because you have so much passion for it. But then No, you go in knowingly. The other thing, key key mistakes that most people make, I made it myself not having a clear idea of your specific target audience. Sometimes it’s very hard to know your target audience when you’re starting out for me, I’ll give you my experience. I was teaching digital marketing. And in my head, I was like, Who doesn’t want to learn digital marketing? Who wouldn’t want to learn this? This is so good. This is so powerful. Everyone wants to learn digital marketing. So I was targeting everyone and their mother. I mean, I was like, I want to help you. I want to help everyone.

Katie Brinkley 34:19

With your girl. I was right there with you.

Carole Bardasano 34:21

Right? Exactly. So I lost a lot of money running Facebook ads to the wrong audience. At the same time. It gave me focus. I did events that led to nothing I attended events that led to nothing because I had the wrong target demographic. And two years ago, I became very clear as to who they were, and most importantly, who they were not. So that’s something I’m planning on doing a real real how to find out your target demo using $100 experiment in Facebook ads because it’s so key because I lost way more than $100 looking looking for my target demo, but it is very important because here’s the thing when you know your target demographic content creation becomes a breeze, content creation is painful and horrifying when you don’t know who you’re speaking to. But when you’re very clear, and that is when people feel I’m seeing, like she’s talking to me, she’s talking in the same right in the same with those same words that I would use. She knows my struggles. She knows all of that. That was a huge shift in my content, when I had that clarity, which I didn’t before. And one way to also help you with that is to join Facebook groups. And to see that target demographic, what words they use, you can put that on your website, you don’t need a website, if you if you’re starting out, you can start out with your Instagram, but make sure that you are where your target demographic is, it may be that they’re not an Instagram, it may be that they’re on Pinterest, which is an amazing platform for this specific target demo and for specific industries. So be where your target audiences. That’s why I say a lot of it starts with knowing your target. And I do recommend a just to wrap up what I recommend for anybody starting out they you have to have a website. I know a lot of people say Oh, Instagram is like a website, Instagram. Yes, it’s like a website. However, there’s a few problems with that. You don’t own your followers. Mark Zuckerberg does, you cannot do retargeting properly, you don’t even have that database. And number three, believe it or not, there are some people that are not on Instagram, however 95% of the population searches for things on Google. So you want to have presence everywhere as much as you can. That is you want to exist if you only exist on Instagram. Well, that’s yeah, that’s 2 billion people. But that’s not really 7 billion. So there’s an opportunity there. Your website doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t have to have 7000 landing pages. It can just be a one pager, but half the presence on Google. That’s super key. That’s what I would tell my previous self if I was starting out.

Katie Brinkley 36:54

I love it. And man, I feel I feel like this, this podcast episode could have very easily turned into two I feel like you and I could talk for for a couple podcasts that way today. But thank you so much, Carol, for joining me and the listeners today. I so appreciate you and your time. What is the best way for people to get in touch with you?

Carole Bardasano 37:20

Yeah, this has been so fun. You and I could talk about this for ages. We have definitely. Exactly. So people can reach me at the Digital burst on Instagram. And there you can see my website I am now offering a free for a limited time only calendar Instagram calendar which has all the content prompts It was amazing to create it took me like two months to create. I did all the work so you don’t have to. So definitely take advantage of that the link is on my Instagram and I’ll be happy to connect there.

Katie Brinkley 37:52

Awesome. Thank you again so much for coming on the show today. And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at or connect with me on LinkedIn and Instagram. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.