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smm brief: what to ask and how to format + template

Want to feel like a scriptwriter for "Santa Barbara" who answers the questions of a viewer who started watching from episode 678912? Just skip the step of creating a brief when working with a client. And then you will definitely find yourself in a situation like this:

— Who is this man?

— Sisi.

— What do you mean Sisi is a male name? Was there no other option?

— There was, but I like this one.

— Why is he lying down?

— He is in a coma.

— Why do people have mullets and shoulder pads?

— Because it's the 80s...

Do you already hear the grinding of your nervous system? So, save yourself the nerves, energy, time, and just create a brief with the client.

What is this magical pill called a brief?

Imagine a client came to you for social media promotion. What will you do first? Most likely, you have a dozen questions:

This stage is not just about "asking questions," it's a briefing. And the document where you record all the answers is the brief. The Head of SMM of the ICU agency will tell you what a brief for social media promotion is, why it is necessary, and what important information should be included.

This article will be useful for freelance SMM specialists, agencies, and clients who are looking for a contractor. And at the end of the article, we have prepared a useful bonus - a ready-made brief template that you can download and use in your work.

Why is it needed in the first place?

A client can fill out a brief on their own in a calm environment or can answer questions from a specialist during a meeting or call - whichever is more convenient. Many consider this stage of cooperation not particularly important, but in fact, it is the foundation for the foundation.

The brief immerses the performer and the customer in the task. So it is needed to:

  • — the client determined what was given and what point B is;
  • — the team had a clear idea of the project;
  • — quickly evaluate the scope of work, budget, and deadlines;
  • — save time discussing the project;
  • — exclude possible misunderstandings in the actual implementation.

You will spend about an hour on the brief, but in return, you will save dozens of hours in future work, including endless "please clarify..." and "why this way and not that way?..." In the end, everything is clear to everyone: the expected result is obvious, the cost and labor costs for the project are clear, and possible claims like "I wanted something different" are excluded. Often, the brief is as important for the client as it is for the performer - when all thoughts and knowledge about their project are ordered on paper, many weak points and opportunities come out of the shadows.

What questions should be in the brief?

Different agencies' briefs may have different questions. This depends on the expertise that the agencies provide. In other words, everyone focuses on what they are good at. In addition, the brief needs to be customized - "tailored" to each project. But the key aspects that are repeated in different briefs are the following:

1. Contact information: company name, contact person's name and ways to communicate with them.

2. Company description:

  • — sphere of activity, key products and services, market position, advantages, and geography of work;
  • — mission and values;
  • — link to the company's website and all social networks.

3. Information about products and services: strengths and weaknesses, price segment, sales geography.

4. Competitors: main competitors, what you like or don't like about their social media and strategy.

5. Target audience: current, desired, gender, age, income, interests, motives, and barriers to purchase.

6. Information about past promotion: what promotion tools were used, what goals were achieved, what you liked/disliked.

7. Goals and objectives of future SMM promotion:

  • — what you want to get from the performer;
  • — what should be emphasized in the promotion;
  • — agency's KPIs (note: not promotion KPIs);
  • — monthly budget;
  • — list of necessary digital services — social media management, advertising campaigns, reputation management;
  • — types of work: strategy development, social media management, promotion;
  • — available materials: corporate style, branding photos and any product photo shoots, advertising videos, customer reviews, articles about the company, interviews with executives.

In addition to the key questions, you can include a number of additional ones in the brief:

  • — Approved Tone of Voice.
  • — Results of conducted research.
  • — Number of publications per week/month.
  • — Moderation of comments on the agency or client's side.
  • — References: accounts that you like, with a description of what specifically you like about them.
  • — Anti-references.

As a result, you have a full-fledged document spanning several pages with all the introductory data required for work.

How to format a brief?

Use a minimum of graphic clutter. In a brief, convenience is more important than beauty. We recommend two simple formats:

  • — Google form.
  • — Word document.

Important! Don't forget to personalize the document by adding your contact information and logo.

What kind of brief do we use?

For convenience and visual differentiation, we use five blocks of questions at ICU:

  • — Purpose of contacting the agency.
  • — General information.
  • — Product.
  • — Target audience.
  • — SMM strategy.

On each page of the document, the agency's contact information is indicated: address, phone number, email, and website.

You can download our SMM brief and use it as a basis for your work. Let us know in the comments if the article and brief were useful to you. We would advise even a novice SMM specialist to bother with the brief - this will show your seriousness towards work and allow you to choose a worthy client with the same serious attitude. After all, if the client refuses to fill out the brief, delays, finds a lot of excuses, then the brief has already worked as a filter and shown you who to work with and who is not desirable.

In essence, at first, the brief complicates your work and delays its start (especially if the client procrastinates with filling it out), but in the end, thanks to the brief, all the work becomes simpler. And there is no need to watch "Santa Barbara."

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