Developing an SMM strategy is one of the most frequent requests that companies make to an SMM specialist or agency. But what should this document include? How should it be properly drafted?
What Is an SMM Strategy
There are different approaches to defining the term “SMM strategy”. Some understand an SMM strategy as a logical plan for the production of content, posts, and special projects for social networks. Others interpret the concept more broadly and call the entire product in social networks, all its logical directions, all the work in SMM. In this case, all proposals regarding social media will be called the word “strategy”.
An SMM strategy is a document that outlines strategic and tactical decisions about what a brand should do in social media to achieve its marketing and business objectives.
Creating an SMM strategy is as easy as gambling at the online Casino in New Zealand, especially if you work according to the following algorithm:
- Analyze the current position of the brand and its competitors on social media.
- Study the audience of the brand: in which social networks it is present, how it behaves there, how it consumes content and what actions it takes.
- Choose areas of work. What does the brand want to communicate to the audience in order to solve its business problems? What, conversely, is not worth talking about? How to work on different brand attributes? How to drive sales?
- Choose tactics for communicating with your audience: what should be the Tone of Voice, what should be the response to messages and how quickly.
- Determine what content to publish, how to promote it, and what resources it will require.
- Track the effectiveness of the strategy as it’s implemented. That way we can adjust it if necessary.
SMM strategies are closely connected to the technical tools within social networks. And in order to develop an SMM strategy, this toolkit needs to be well understood. You can find many examples and frameworks of your own for communication and brand strategies. But since they do not take into account the toolkit of social networks, they are not suitable for SMM-strategy.
A brief from the client. Describes the tasks facing SMM, and other inputs. We’ll analyze the brief in detail below in a special section.
Analytics. We conduct a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the client’s social networks, its competitors, as well as benchmarks – the brands to which we will be guided. The result will be an analytical report. It will help to develop proposals, choose the best tools.
The strategic block. It consists of two big parts. The first is a description of the brand, its DNA, its archetype. We fix what is acceptable for the brand, how it can communicate with the audience. The second part – an analysis of the audience: what social networks they are in, how they behave there, what interests they have, what content they might like, what bloggers users are subscribed to.
The choice of channels. Here you need to describe what and in what channels we should tell our audience. Some channels will be a priority, others will get less attention, and also different platforms will have different roles. Now we can make these decisions, because we have analytics and audience and brand research.
Content decisions or content strategy. In this section, we describe what content and on which social networks we will publish. What types of content will we have? What will be the rubricator? Will there be special projects? Here we should also describe how we will work with bloggers and how often.
The strategy of paid promotion and evaluation of effectiveness. What tools will we use? How will the budget for paid promotion be distributed among the sites? What targeting and how will we set up? Here we also describe the key KPIs and how we will monitor them.
Tone of Voice. We describe how we’re going to communicate with the audience. What vocabulary we can’t use, what our preferred style is. What emoji will we use? How will we respond to competitor trolling? How will we work within the community and how will we work outside of it?
Technical Block. A final section that describes the budget, team, timeline, and processes.
Writing a Brief
The basis of any strategy is the brief. The statement is true not only for SMM, but also for many other areas of marketing. We do not give any template documents, because each brief is unique. Its content depends on the area of business, the audience, and the tasks the company sets for itself.
Instead, let’s name some of the mandatory questions that the brief should answer:
- What tasks should social media solve? For example, a financial company may be interested in applications, while a food brand will work on recognition.
- What is known about the brand and product, tone of voice, key advantages, differences from competitors?
- What is known about the company’s audience, does the client have its research?
- What is known about the competitors?
- In which social networks is the brand already present?
- Will there be mandatory content from the client?
The brief should include all the important information that will come in handy when developing the strategy. For example, you can learn from the client whether the strategy will include cooperation with bloggers or who and how will moderate comments.
As a rule, the brief is compiled by the client, this is the task of his marketing team. The team collects important information, which is compiled into a single document by a brand manager, digital director, marketing specialist or other responsible manager. In small and medium-sized businesses, the document is sometimes prepared by the owner himself.
How the Strategy Depends on the Size of the Business
SMM strategy of a small business is likely to be “sales-centric”. Especially if the majority of sales are made through the company’s website. For example, this applies to local brands with an audience in one city – a small flower store with delivery, a local jewelry brand.
Big brands and corporations usually have more complex tasks. Their audience is much larger than that of small businesses. An integrated approach is possible with large investments. It allows not only to provide direct sales, but also to work on brand attributes, improve brand health, go through all stages of the sales funnel, and increase image indicators.
Large companies will invest more in flashy projects and paid promotion. However, there are corporations with small budgets for SMM.
However, we should not forget that the goal of any marketing activity is sales. This is the ultimate, unchanging goal. The rest of the marketing goals are different variants leading to this global task.
Consider as an example the Brand Health Tracking study, which measures brand health. The statistics collected as part of the study allow you to see brand problems, points of growth. It can be used to understand which stage of the funnel is slipping.
Let’s imagine that the brand is doing well, and 95% of the audience is familiar with it. But the product is only bought by 20%. Then the strategy would be to convert the audience that already knows the brand into buyers. Or to make customers return to the store after the first order. Then the strategy will work on loyalty or return, depending on which type of funnel you are considering.