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smm strategy: a step-by-step guide using the example of products for pets

"Develop an SMM strategy for me" is one of the most common requests that communication agencies receive. And it's understandable, as social media is a natural way to communicate with potential customers. After all, people initially come to social networks to chat, relax, get news, and then buy. For such a loyal base, an effective SMM strategy can be developed: attract, communicate, learn about the motives of buyers, engage and sell.

But it's one thing to know what an SMM strategy is and how it works - you can refresh your memory about what kind of beast it is here - and another thing to see the theory in action. Let's look at how an SMM strategy is developed using an example.

Point A

We have a hypothetical client who wants to promote products for pets through social networks. The brand creators develop things like pet beds and accessories. They previously tried to promote themselves on social networks, but not very successfully, so they decided to hand over the task to professionals.

The strategy is created in several stages, let's get started.

Stage 1. Immersion

At this stage, we need to get as much information as possible about all the intricacies of the product, its rational and emotional advantages: what kind of product it is, why it is chosen or not chosen, what needs it satisfies.

Step 1. Goals of brand promotion in social networks

First, let's answer some questions:

  • — Why are we doing this?
  • — What is necessary to achieve the goal?

The client has requested audience engagement and sales increase for their brand. After discussing the goals and debriefing, we define the following objectives:

  • — Reach 70% of the brand's target audience
  • — Increase sales by 20%

Step 2. Current brand concept

We are still in stage 1 and diving deeper to evaluate the brand's current visual and creative concepts.

Since the client managed their social media accounts independently, there is no clear positioning of the product on social media. Therefore, we will shape it within the framework of our strategy.

Step 3. Account management analysis

The final push in the immersion stage is a SWOT analysis. We will examine where to focus, which aspects need strengthening, where to expect trouble, and where to grow further. This will help us be fully prepared.

So, we identify the strengths:

  • — Brand presence on all major social media platforms
  • — Online store with nationwide delivery
  • — Regular content updates
  • — Description of product advantages
  • — Interaction with the audience (contests, questions in the text, responding to comments)

You need to know your weaknesses face to face, we list them:

  • - No clear positioning on social media
  • - Low audience engagement
  • - No new subscribers are attracted

We mark the development opportunities we see:

  • - Brand positioning formulated
  • - Overall visual and creative concepts
  • - Increase the number of published Reels
  • - Interesting and relevant news and events that can be used to stimulate discussion

Well, "forewarned is forearmed," threats:

  • - Presence of a large number of competitors
  • - Introduction of communication channel bans

We studied ourselves, it's time to look around - competitors and audience are next.

Step 2. Competitors

We study the list of competitors specified by the client, supplement it, and also consider the foreign market.

Step 1. Analysis of quantitative indicators of competitors on social networks

We look at the number of subscribers, likes and comments, calculate engagement rates, and the volume of released content. We compile a summary table that gives us an understanding of the average indicators for our niche and the numbers we will strive for.

Step 2. Audit of content and promotion tools of competitors

At this step, we qualitatively analyze the social networks of competitors: we highlight common practices and successful techniques, their visual presentation, ToV, advertising creatives, and integrations.

By this point, we understand that against the background of other competitors, the advantages of our client will be characteristics that distinguish it favorably from other similar products on the market:

  • - Convenience: every detail is actively tested by pets. It is important to create not only a beautiful but also a convenient thing.
  • - Quality of materials: natural leather and high-strength hardware, and for textile products - natural wool, environmentally friendly cotton, and linen.
  • - Handmade: the process of creating leather accessories is quite laborious since each element is cut out, glued, and sewn by hand without using sewing machines.

All the highlighted advantages should be reflected on the social media page: photos and videos showing animals comfortably running in leather collars or leashes, lying on a cozy sleeping place, peacefully staying in a car, carrier, or on a special mat, as well as a neat seam on the leash and a smooth transition from one material to another on the bed. All of this should be easily readable on the account.

Step 3. Target Audience

The next step is to study the target audience. Knowing who exactly we are selling to and why they buy from us sets the direction for our strategy.

Step 1. Target Audience Analysis

At this stage, we analyze general audience data, as well as statistics on content consumption in the industry. It is important for us to find out who might be interested in and benefit from our product, and what needs it meets.

Step 2. Target Audience Segmentation

We identify the main segments of the target audience, which for us are:

  • — pet owners who are looking for a certain category of product
  • — potential pet owners
  • — animal lovers
  • — users who "get hooked on cute content"

Step 3. Description of the Brand Champion

One of the best ways to get into the mind of a potential customer is to put ourselves in their shoes and create a so-called avatar or brand champion. This is a collective image of the customer with a detailed description of their life, aspirations, and hopes.

For each target audience segment that we described in the previous step, we choose our representative. To do this, we study accounts on social media, review sites, conduct surveys on social media, and communicate with customers. As a result, we get a "photofit" of our potential customer.

Here's an example:

After graduating from university, Daria moved into her own apartment. Her long-time dream of having a pet finally became a reality. Before starting university, when she lived in Vladivostok with her parents, Daria had a dog, so now she's taking a new step in life very consciously: she knows what the animal needs and what things to buy first.

  • - Interests

Daria follows trends and fashion. She knows all the popular cafes in the city, where she can post cool stories. She's an early riser and leads an active lifestyle, jogging outdoors and often going out to nature with friends.

  • - Dreams

A little friend by her side, a spitz, to keep her company at home. The pet is a part of her life, a fluffy companion, and they are together in any situation.

  • - Motivations

All equipment for the pet, beds, and accessories must be of high quality, but at the same time stylish. Most pet stores have tasteless items, everything is not quite right.

  • - Response

Soft, cloud-like transformable beds, cute and interesting clothes, handmade collars and leashes, natural leather, and eco-fabrics. All items are available in different colors and in several length and thickness options, providing comfort and style.

  • - Content perception

Representatives of this category are loyal, but at the same time slightly critical: they love well-thought-out feeds compiled according to all SMM canons, they are interested in beautiful pictures. Pinterest and creating mood boards are hobbies, so the visual concept of the account should be well thought out from start to finish.

We gave an example of creating one brand champion. Ideally, it is worth describing it for each target audience segment. This way we will know exactly what content consumers are interested in and offer them what they need.

Stage 4. Content

Step 1. Social media usage tactics, presence platforms, and promotion tools

The brand is already present in all major social networks, but there is another promotion option - Pinterest. This platform has the desired target audience, no competitors yet, so you can confidently join and promote.

Important point: promoting on Pinterest is suitable for brands with an aesthetic visual component. Also, there is no distribution by cities on the platform, so it is not suitable for local brands, but the client has an online store with nationwide delivery - so it is relevant for our goals.

Step 2. Creative concept

At this stage, we determine that we will convey information about the brand and products using three main messages: "love for animals," "interest in design," "commitment to quality." These messages are not chosen by chance - they will help to develop in the client's understanding the value of creating comfortable conditions for pets, which will contribute to strengthening the brand's position in the market and increasing demand for goods.

Main messages:

  • - This is not just a brand, it is a way of life for pets and their owners.
  • - Our pets are our friends, and friends are there to have fun with them and at them. And to create together with them and for them.
  • - Our social media is also funny stories from the life of Liza and Bruce - the brand's mascots, who will talk about products, their adventures, and the workshop where accessories are created.

We will convey these thoughts in everything: in ads, posts, stories, videos.

Step 3. Visual concept

Now we have something to say. We choose how it will look. For the visual concept, we choose:

  • - warm soft tones, preferably beige
  • - alternating large/medium shots, accent photos
  • - mandatory presence in the frame of either an animal or a product

We determine that not just high-quality product photos should be posted in the account, but also complete images created with love for animals. Each shot should have lighting and accents, each product - a detailed selling description, and importantly - a story. We use Liza and Bruce, our fictional heroes, and the chosen color scheme.

Step 4. Development of a content strategy, rubricator, post topics considering all target audience segments and prescribed messages.

We identify the main rubrics:

  • - Information about a specific product
  • - Photos and videos of animals with our products
  • - Information on pet upbringing and training
  • - Dog breeds: their pros and cons
  • - Information on nutrition: how to read labels, what each element in the composition means
  • - Stories about animals that need help
  • - Activations: contests, engaging posts, user-generated content (we often ask subscribers to share photos of their pets or give advice, and then publish such content on behalf of the community - people appreciate this)

Based on the content strategy and rubricator, we create a content plan, where we outline all publications for the week/month ahead.

Step 5. Description of the brand's Tone of Voice

We have chosen an emotional and candid, simple and friendly, respectful and caring way of communicating with the audience.

Step 6. Visualization for the client

At this stage, examples of content that reflect the developed concept can be shown to the client: mood boards, post or video examples.

Stage 5. Promotion

Step 1. Promotion hypotheses

When we have fully determined what, to whom, and how we will convey through social networks, we choose tools: we work out promotion hypotheses and the structure of their testing in the test period. This will allow us to identify effective mechanics and tools faster and cheaper.

Step 2. Targeted advertising

We think about which social networks we will set up advertising on, determine the formats and settings for promotion, and calculate forecasts.

In this case, the main KPI may be audience growth, and the secondary one may be engagement increase.

Step 3. Other Advertising Channels and Formats

  • - Promotion with influencers. It is necessary to choose like-minded people who have pets.
  • - Creative contests. For example, users take videos of their pets, share what products they would like to buy. Or just joke: "When you imagine for a moment that the heat is over, and you burst into this autumn in a new jumpsuit." Mandatory condition - mention our account.
  • - Reels - free promotion through video content.

Point B

Here we finish developing the SMM strategy and move on to its implementation. Here it is very important to note 2 points:

  • - It is necessary to constantly monitor the indicators of effectiveness: views, clicks, reach, subscriptions, likes, comments, saves, transitions, as well as the engagement rate, the return on advertising with bloggers. An increase in these indicators indicates the effectiveness of the strategy.
  • - The strategy can be adjusted based on intermediate results: if you notice that some content format is not popular with your audience, boldly refuse it and test another one.

An SMM strategy is not just an action plan, it is a studied point A and a drawn route to point B. With it, you will not have advertising for the sake of advertising or posts for the sake of posts. Each action will bring you closer to the goal.

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