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How to use SMM without hiring a digital marketing agency

22 Feb

Danila Stol’, Head of SMM at Zorka.Agency

SMM is like washing your hands. Do we have to do it? Of course. And if we wash our hands today and forget to do it tomorrow, will we see the difference? Probably not.

Everybody knows the importance of a good personal hygiene routine and how it may affect our health. The same is true for SMM. If a business has not set their SMM strategy straight, or it does not invest in their social media presence, there are high chances of a brand being left behind in the long-term. SMM helps companies get a favorable influence over the reputation of the company, offset any negative elements of public opinion, attract loyal users, and spotlight the values that are beneficial to the business.

I often come across the belief that working with an SMM-agency is an expensive, inefficient and difficult to manage process. And many companies choose to handle their SMM on their own. 

That is why I would like to share some tips on how a company can build an effective SMM strategy without hiring a digital marketing agency.


Without a doubt, SMM is always about people. The SMM team works on the front line of the business communicating brand values to the consumer, communicating with the client, sometimes even more often than other teams. An SMM manager has the burden of responsibility for the first impression a client is going to have. So it is important to talk about the recruitment process.

Roughly speaking, we are talking about 2 stages here. Firstly, you have to choose the right candidate. Then it’s time to make them interested in the company and get them to sign a job offer. As for the strategy of recruitment, the candidate’s set of skills and their experience should align with the goals of your SMM strategy. 

The goals of SMM determine the competences and the level of training that a successful candidate must have. 

For example, if SMM is a more conventional marketing tool for you, i.e. you’re going to sell something on social media, I’d suggest you look for an experienced marketing professional. Given their experience of setting up SMM activities to drive sales, generate traffic and, most importantly, quality leads, they will be the perfect fit for the role.  

If you need SMM to reflect the values of the company and build the company brand, you need an HR SMM. The best approach to that is to find somebody already working for the company and offer the role to them. This person has to successfully work with different teams, HR, and be imbued with the values and culture of the company from Day 1 on the job.

Today, social media and SMM are used by companies to shape the brand, namely the unique image of the company or product in the minds of consumers. If we take a look at all of the largest SMM brands, all of the largest accounts, such as Nike, Adidas, Red Bull and others – their content policy, first and foremost, is formed on the values of the brand. If you are building a company brand through SMM – you need someone who either has similar experience in their portfolio or they are able to identify trends and their personal values and mindset align with yours and your company’s.

Modern labor market is really competitive for candidates as there are many SMM professionals looking for a new challenge. That means you won’t have a problem finding a specialist for an entry level SMM role. On the other hand, should your company have set more complex SMM goals, you’ll need an experienced player on your team. Think about what your company can offer them to come aboard: that could be a challenging goal, an interesting case that they can later use in their portfolio, or simply a very good job offer. 

To sum up, the first thing you should do is to identify what your SMM goals are. The perfect candidate profile would greatly depend on them and their complexity. If you want to focus on lead generation, you should be looking for a marketing professional. If you are building an HR SMM strategy, you should be looking for the right person to do the job on your team. And should you be concerned about building a company brand, interview a Strategist or a Junior Specialist with great creative potential. Having established your recruitment budget and all the perks you are willing to offer a successful candidate, you can finally post a job advert and start looking for the right match.


Our task is to build an effective SMM strategy for your company. Unlike digital marketing agencies, where the evaluation of SMM effectiveness has been worked out for years and decades — most likely in your company the situation will be different. As we know, the river banks control the movement of water bodies on the way to their main goal: reaching a sea or an ocean. So in the case of setting up SMM activities, you need to focus on the main objectives of SMM. You can use ‘time’ as a management mechanism for that.

You need to define a specific time frame when you will evaluate the performance of SMM. I recommend doing the first cutoff at the end of the first month. Then, every quarter you should do another performance overview. And then wrap it all up with an annual report. It is important to remember that SMM is not about getting immediate results today. Unfortunately for many, SMM doesn’t work that way. You can’t create an Instagram account today and have thousands of leads tomorrow. SMM is a long process.

When using ‘time’ as a control mechanism for SMM, you need to set intermediate milestones and understand how they will help you evaluate the performance.


Budgeting is the next step. You have to determine how much of your marketing budget you’re really willing to allocate to SMM.

If you expect to get fast results, i.e. your goal is quick sales, then all the budgeting will be based on the checks of your products. In that case, I recommend to either turn to an outside specialist, or to get your best marketing professional to oversee the process and do all the cost calculations of SMM. In all other cases, your SMM budget for the next cycle shouldn’t exceed the amount of money you, hypothetically, would be ready to part with. It is similar to gambling: you are not ready to risk your money, it is better not to place a bet then.

If you consider SMM as a tool to promote a company brand, communicate brand values and brand message to your customers, and attract brand ambassadors, you cannot expect to get immediate results nor will you be able to assess them. So when you think about SMM budgets, try to think of them this way: “What happens if all this activity, theoretically, leads to nothing? If we allocate all this money to SMM and it doesn’t pay off in any way?” The amount that you’re willing to part with will be an adequate budget for you.


If you want to use SMM in your company, but are not ready to hire a digital marketing agency to do that work for you, here are 3 things you should keep in mind: a team, timelines, and budgets. The best candidate for the role of an SMM manager would be a person who’s passionate about your company and whose values and personal mindset align with the brand. Of course, this person must have a certain skill set and professional background. The success of SMM is determined by timely decisions: check the SMM progress in a specific time frame. Speaking of budgeting,  don’t invest in SMM more than you are not afraid to lose in the game of chance.