by Anton Likhnekevich - July 10, 2019

Have you ever noticed how many small businesses enthusiastically started social media marketing and after a couple of months they closed this direction and forget about SMM? If not, it is not hard to check - filter communities by any niche and you will see that thousands of abandoned groups have the latest post over 3 months ago.

Why we are able to watch such a tendency?

There are many reasons, but the most common is unpreparedness. This is a bit surprising since in other areas business owners try at least somehow to prepare their campaigns before launching, however, social media marketing is suffering from the lack of preparation, for example, industry and competitor analyzing.

In this article, we will look at the most frequent failures when starting SMM and what to do to start it beautifully.


Why is it important to prepare?

First reason - money. If at the preparatory stage it turns out that your niche is not suitable for social media, and you do not have resources or materials for quality work, then you will save a lot.

Reason two - you will not get disappointed because very often business owners have overrated expectations of the social media campaign, but the desired does not coincide with the actual.

Reason three - preparation involves setting goals and objectives for SMM, which allows you to track and manage the result of work in social media. When there is no understanding of goals, there is a high risk of breaking off and cutting off work halfway.


Do you really need SMM?

A simple and therefore very rough scheme that will save you money and time:

  1. Setting up contextual advertising, see the results.
  2. Setting up targeted advertising, see the results.
  3. If the targeted advertising result is better or comparable, engage in SMM.

That is easy, right? but let’s look at the theory.

Contextual advertising is working with hot traffic, that is, you offer your product to a person who is already interested in it. In targeted advertising, the traffic is cold, you hypothesize that someone will be interested in your product. And if the hypothesis worked - you are well done, if not - lose the money.

For quality work with targeted traffic, it is necessary to have sufficient sales experience on the Internet, to understand the portrait, the pain and the needs of the target audience. But, if you set up the target ads correctly, all the advantages of SMM are revealed: low price for traffic, flexible scaling options.

However, there are niches that are very hard to promote on social media:

  • products and services with situational demand and without a clearly defined target audience: renovation services and etc;
  • b2b, and more it specific for particular niche the more difficulties it faces in SMM;
  • online stores with a wide range of products.

In these segments it is almost useless to fight for a short-term result, it is necessary to work for a long time, which implies budget and patience. Therefore, if you are on this list, then run into SEO, content, contexts and offline.


What are the goals: short-term and long-term

If you are not in the list, then the next step is to create a clear, simple and transparent list of goals with which you go to social media.

Decide what you want to achieve in five years, a year, a quarter and a month.


Choose the performer

When the goals are set, decide who will implement them into real life.

Let us examine the main options - pros, cons, features:

  • On your own. This option exists, but if you are seriously considering it, then stop calling yourself an entrepreneur.
  • Freelancers. The only advantage of freelancing is the price, otherwise, it loses to the agency format. With inexperienced freelancers, you play roulette, in which you may get lucky if the guy is talented and hardworking, or get unlucky if the novice decides to stop responding to you or delete the account. Yes, it happens.
  • Small advertising agencies. Usually, it is a small team of people and they occasionally have troubles with document circulation, and quality of services, but at the same time, I consider it the optimal choice in terms of price and quality.
  • Large advertising agencies. In most cases, large advertising agencies are an intermediary between business and small agencies, especially if we are talking about the lower levels of SMM: traffic, lead gen, administration, SERM. The agency just builds communication between the contractors and the customer, provides the documentation base and production.


Explore competitors

Before you start building your own SMM strategy, carefully study how competitors are progressing: what they do and what results from it.

The logic is simple. If there are successful projects that have constantly published content, and they have a sufficient number of active subscribers, then they are successful and know what they are doing. The most important thing is to understand what it is.

Usually, we break the process of studying competitors into three stages:


  • Analysis of a niche;

We collect 20–30 competitors from the brief from the customer and through the analytic tools we study the communities, analyze the audience by interests, age, gender, geo, see what they have in common and highlight the most successful projects in terms of statistical indicators.


  • Content analysis;

We highlight the top 5 competitors, analyze each one in detail: how they are designed, what goals they set, what content they post and when, what works and what doesn't, notice the best and think how to do even better;


  • Advertising analysis (funnel, creatives, and results).

We analyze advertising campaigns of each of the competitors, look at creatives, approaches, understand the funnel and the results, and what is important - decide how to implement this experience on the customer's project.

All the collected information is carefully studied and used in the preparation of our own strategy.

Develop a strategy

Now the most important thing is to think about our own SMM strategy. We take the analysis of competitors, information about the project, the calendar of events, all of its background and stage by stage prescribe the strategy of marketing in social media:


  • Awareness;

Before you think about headings, design, and content, understand the positioning of who we are for the subscriber, why he or she should subscribe to us and study our content, how we communicate with the audience, how we behave and what we do if the audience is not satisfied.


  • Advertising strategy;

Positioning is followed by the task of defining an advertising strategy, in fact, a traffic funnel, which determines traffic flows, boiling at each stage, objectives, and goals.


  • Content strategy.

Once the positioning is clear, goals, tasks, events, content creation opportunities and a funnel, we proceed to the preparation of a content strategy: we prescribe types of content for solving specific goals, for each type we think over headings with description, a sequence of publication and examples, sources materials.


Prepare a work plan

When the strategy is ready, it's time to determine the plan this strategy will be implemented.

It is necessary to clearly identify the goals, the deadlines, the result, who is in charge of the process, and, most importantly, the responsibility of the parties, what to do if the goals are not achieved or not completed on time.

In typical projects, in terms of the project work for the first month, the goal is to compile a content plan, publish posts, design the community, launch test targeted advertising and prepare reports on the results of the reporting period.


Prepare a content

It is vital to prepare 10–20 publications before you start the SMM campaign.

It is at this stage that the real interaction takes place, therefore it is better if it passes before the social marketing campaign is running. At this stage, you have to understand business owners wishes and if there any ethical or moral borders entrepreneur is not able to go through. Sometimes creative marketors will suggest a provocative and funny post, that can become viral, but at the same time, the client will instantly throw it away.  

Therefore, it is important to work together with your client before you go out in people and start to rush from the corner into a corner and disgrace in front of potential customers.


Brief summary

Pre-launch action plan:

  • Make sure if you really need SMM;
  • Choose the performer: freelancer or agency;
  • Test targeted ads;
  • Analyze the niche and the best competitors;
  • Develop the SMM strategy;
  • Prepare a work plan;
  • Prepare content;
  • Prepare the first publications;
  • Get Started and have Good Luck!

Anton Likhnekevich

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