Alexey Dobrusin, a strategic marketer and founder of the digital agency Gedocorp, in his series of articles Marketing without embellishment, continues to talk about how marketers really work - and how clients work with them.

This article will focus on social media marketing: what are the myths around SMM, how you can get burned in this area, and why many small businesses do not understand how to work with it.

What does a modern approach to SMM look like? As a rule, this is done by a novice SMM manager or a novice content marketer. The business owner or director is sure that if you post according to the content plan exactly three times a week or a day, the group should grow, there should be more subscribers, and everything should be fine.

At the same time, neither the SMM manager nor the director understand why they are present on social networks, what their goals are, which social networks are suitable for them, and which are not.

Let's, before moving on to the checklist "How to work with SMM?", Let's talk about the basic mechanics for promoting social networks. There are four of them.

1. Content Marketing
This is the promotion of a business with the help of content: video, infographics, pictures, texts. It is important that the content is useful, relevant, so that they want to share - then you will receive the so-called organic reach in social networks.

2. Targeted advertising
This is a classic tool that you can customize through your social media ad account. These are promo posts to the feed of community subscribers and those who have never heard anything about your group, with the help of which you get reach, new subscribers joining the group, applications, etc.

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Targeted advertising is almost always paid, it requires a budget, and specially trained people - targetologists - are involved in setting it up.

3. Competitive mechanics
They are of two types. The first type is contests for your subscribers: they increase loyalty, can increase the average check, increase the number of sales from a group, but attract little new audience. For example, these are creative contests, contests for the best drawing, etc.

The second type is outreach contests: they are aimed at those who have never heard of the group before. For example, the drawing of a new iPhone model. There is a mechanic of participation in such a competition: a person must post a post to his page, then his subscribers see that a competition is taking place, see your group and enter there.

This brings quite a lot of coverage and a lot of new subscribers, but, as a rule, after the draw there is an outflow - those who did not receive a prize start to be removed from the group.

4. Working with bloggers and opinion leaders
The most difficult tool is when you personally select opinion leaders in your niche (for example, famous beauty bloggers) and do some activations and projects with them. That is, they tell their audience about you and about experiments with your products, or you are doing an advertising project together - for example, a trip in the cars of your car dealership (you give a car, and the blogger drives it around Russia and tells something).

It's like sponsorships, ad special activations and classic special projects, when you and an influencer come up with something interesting to do.

This is a complex tool because you need to know how to work with bloggers. Often they, as they say, “take the money and tell the truth,” that is, you pay them for a review of the product, and the review turns out to be negative.

And it is important to understand that a blogger with an audience of 100 thousand people may turn out to be better than bloggers with a million people, because the audience of a hundred thousand people is not so “burned out”, is more loyal, and advertising is cheaper. That is, you can get a higher return on your budget.

These are the main tools you can use to promote yourself on social media. They each have many different sub-tools and sub-directions, but in general you have only four options.

Now let's figure out what and how to do with it.

Choose a target
You should always start with the question: why does your business need to be present on social networks?

There are three main goals of a company's social media presence.

1. Direct sales
You really expect that you will receive applications from your group on VKontakte or from your Instagram account, you will turn them into sales and generate money.

2. Image or brand awareness
You are not expecting sales and direct ROI, but rather measuring the growth of your awareness in the market. Typically, the target is good for big brands that play for a long time, and not very good for small businesses that need results "here and now."

3. Communication
This refers to communications with your current subscribers - to increase loyalty, increase the average check, increase the frequency of purchases, increase the so-called retention, etc. You are not working for reach and for new subscribers - you are working to maximize the involvement of your community.

This works well when you already have 10 tons in your group.

Thousands of subscribers who already buy your products, and you can simply increase these indicators. And, of course, it doesn't work at all if you have only 100 subscribers.

Once you have a goal, you will understand what you need to do and what not.

For example, if your goal is image, you can do cool specials with bloggers and invest in targeted pay-per-impression ads. It doesn't matter to you whether they join the group or not, it is important that they see it.

If the goal is sales, it is important for you to clearly calculate the potential effectiveness of each action. And it is important to count it not in likes and reposts, but exclusively in sales or at least in applications. You need to be clear about how much one social media order costs you and how many of those orders are converted into sales.

The strategy depends on the goals and what social networks you will use.

If you have a B2B company and expect sales from social media, then going to Instagram is probably a bad idea. And if your company is in business education, going to Facebook for sales might work.

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Select the indicators to be measured
As a rule, based on the goals that we discussed above, three types of indicators are measured. These are the correct end-to-end business indicators - not the likes and reposts that many agencies stuff you with, but real indicators that are useful for the business.

1. Applications
You can measure their quantity and cost.

2. Directly money
Here we are talking about ROI, that is, how much money per ruble invested you get from the group. Realistically measure direct money from social networks.

3. Awareness, that is, brand awareness
It is measured by research before and after - so you understand how many percent after six months of active work in social networks has increased brand awareness among your target audience. This is the most difficult indicator of the three, but it can also be measured.

If you have a small business, you will most likely measure either bids or money. If each of your posts gets a hundred likes, but there are zero requests from the group, then why the hell do you need these likes?

Do not try to measure intermediate indicators that are unnecessary for the business. The important thing is not how many likes, how many subscribers and what reach each particular post gets, but how many requests the group generates. I recommend that you think in this very logic.

How to get the maximum
So, the checklist:

What is the purpose of being on social media? These can be sales, image and brand awareness, communication.
Based on this goal, which social media platforms are suitable? For example, only Instagram, Instagram and Facebook, etc.
Based on the selected social networks, what tools will we use to achieve results? This can be content marketing, targeted advertising, competitive mechanics, or working with bloggers.
Who do we need to implement the mechanics we have defined? In-house content marketer or targeting specialist, multiple full-time employees, or an agency. Only at this stage, when we clearly understand what we need to achieve and which mechanics, will we be able to understand whether we should choose an outsourced contractor or staff members.
What are we going to measure? Cost and number of applications, direct money or brand awareness.
If you follow this simple yet succinct checklist, your social media work will be quite effective. And this checklist can serve as a kind of compass - you will understand where to go. And in the modern world of SMM, it is very important to understand where to go.