The material was prepared by Content Manager of the MORS Advertising Agency Savely Sakun.
The article contains detailed instructions on how to start a community for business "VKontakte" from scratch. The work plan described in the article assumes that the main goal of the launch is to attract customers to an existing business.
- Community status, description
- Accented benefits and benefits
- Categories and content features
- Mechanics, widgets, mailings
- Lecture hall
- Target audience research
- Search query research
- The study of thematic sites
- The study of sites, questionnaires, otzovikov, comments, FAQ
- Positioning Development
- Creating a content plan
- Community design
- Independent registration
- Designer Search
- Collaboration with the designer
- Advertising campaign
- Site selection for traffic
- Targeting Target Audience
- Select advertising messages, create advertising
- Launch an advertising campaign
- Work with the attracted audience
Before you begin work on the development of the VKontakte community, you need to find out how your competitors work with social networks. As a result of this study, you need to understand:
- What products / services are your competitors selling?
- What interesting practices, mechanics do they use?
- How to position yourself? What are the main differences and advantages of the company?
In addition, the search and analysis of competitors will be needed for further research of your target audience.
It all starts with the search for competitors. Simply go to the Yandex or Google search engine, then enter the name or essence of your service in the search box.
Next, you need to go to the sites of competitors and find there a link to the community "VKontakte", which is maintained on behalf of a competitor. You need to find at least 5 active communities.
In addition, you can search for communities of competitors with the help of maps.
After forming a list of communities of competitors - it's time to start research. In this case, we will help the table, which includes such items:
- community name;
- number of participants;
- community status, description;
- accentable benefits and benefits;
- rubrics and content features;
- mechanics, widgets, mailings;
- lecture hall.
Attentive analysis of competitors will provide you with a valuable source of knowledge about how to approach the work with social networks. Especially carefully you need to study competitors with a developed community "VKontakte" (with a large number of subscribers and an active audience).
You can add your own items to the table. For example, you can explore competitor-held promotions, geography, shipping costs, and other criteria.
Let us examine the main stages of the study.
Your task is to trace how the communities of competitors are shaped. In what style? What is the emphasis? Are the company's benefits reflected in the design? Be sure to study the cover, avatar, design publications, products. Mark the features and interesting "chips" design communities in your business.
Community status, description
Status is one of the most visible places in the community. Therefore, there is often marked important information for potential customers. For example, information about promotions, discounts, unique advantages of the company. The description contains a brief information about the company.
Accented benefits and benefits
All your competitors are fighting for the attention and money of potential customers. That is why each of the competitors will strive to present their own products and services in the most profitable and valuable way for the client. Best of all, this will be possible for a company that knows well the problems and objections of the target audience (but more on that later).
Carefully study the positioning of competitors. What product benefits do they emphasize? What are the company's benefits for potential customers? How to try to differ from other competitors?
In the examples mentioned, one can clearly see what you need to point out when researching competitors - how companies "show" themselves to potential customers. We saw that even a fitness club can be both a fitness resort and a sports and fitness complex.
Categories and content features
There are several main types of content: reputational, entertaining, selling, engaging, useful, informational.
Kind of content
Reviews, cases, employee information, an open story about how the company works and so on. It is created to win the trust of the audience.
Publications with a story about the benefits, features and uniqueness of your services / products. Informing about new products. This content is created to encourage the audience to buy.
Any content that helps solve the problems of your audience. Useful tips, checklists, articles, reviews, expert comments and more.
Informing the audience about company news, changes in working conditions.
Something "easy" interesting, fun. Humor on the subject of the community, playing up the news, funny stories.
Interactive, discussion, questions from the audience, polls, contests. All that motivates the audience to be active in the community.
Investigating the content, mark - what records most often publish your competitors. Also learn what content collects the most "I like," comments and "share." Pay attention to what questions are most often asked by the audience.
You can search for popular entries manually or with the help of special tools, for example, the Popsters analytics service (the service is paid, but 10 test runs are available).
The advantages of the service are that it allows you not only to see the most popular content in terms of audience activity, but also to find the most suitable time for publication, effective content formats and much more.
Exploring the content, you will not only understand what is interesting to subscribers, but also learn the problems and interests of the audience. In the future, it is useful for drawing up a portrait of the target audience.
Mechanics, widgets, mailings
Pay attention to what tools are used by your competitors. These include mailings, interaktivy, widgets. It may be possible to notice non-standard and useful solutions.
You can find out what advertisements your competitors are using with the help of the TargetHunter service (paid) or another similar tool (for example, Cerebro).
Studying advertising, note what advantages the product focuses on, how advertising publications are made. You will understand how your competitors promote products, which will help you in the future when creating your own advertising campaign.
You should know your potential and real customers - their age, place of residence, gender, interests, problems, objections, desires. You can start by studying the statistics of the audience of competitors. To do this, you will help Targethunter. This service has useful tools - "Target Communities", "Demographics", "Interests".
The Target Communities tool will show which communities the competitor’s audience is subscribed to. And with the help of "Demography" and "Interests" you will know the gender, age and interests of the audience.
Be sure to use these tools and analyze your competitor communities. Write down all the findings in the analysis.
As a result of the analysis, you will understand how competitors use VKontakte, get ideas and best practices on how to design and manage your own community.
After completing the analysis of competitors, it is necessary to investigate your target audience in detail.
Target audience research
Similar to competitor analysis, create a pivot table to enter important information about your target audience. Key points to learn:
- age, gender, place of residence;
- problems, fears;
- the benefits sought when choosing a product;
- existing questions on the product / service.
The best and most valuable source of information is current and potential customers. And if you have such an opportunity - be sure to talk with them and ask all the necessary questions. If you are not able to conduct an interview, you can arrange a survey using Google Form.
Other sources of information that will help you better know your potential customers:
- community audience study (similar to competitor analysis);
- search query research;
- research of thematic sites;
- study sites, questionnaires, otzovikov, comments, FAQ.
The procedure for studying the audience of communities is similar to the study of subscribers of competitors - so we will immediately proceed to the study of the audience through search queries.
Search query research
The study of search queries can be carried out using the service Serpstat (paid, but there is limited free access).
Next, look for audience searches.
As a result of a cursory analytics of the key phrase “cake to order”, it was possible to find out what potential customers are interested in:
- timing and cost of production of the cake;
- the answer to the question, what is a cake to order better than the usual cake from the nearest store;
- Which cake to choose, so that was exactly delicious.
In addition, through the analysis of search queries, you can find ideas for the content in the community, since you will learn the real questions, the answers to which are needed by the target audience.
The study of thematic sites
Most of the competitors have already done part of your work - carefully studied the questions and objections of potential customers, after which they provided answers to them in the form of content on the site. For example, using articles with answers to frequently asked questions.
From the example above, we learned that customers order cakes to order in order to surprise and delight participants of the holiday (especially children). Also, customers are interested in creating cakes with heroes of fairy tales and cartoons. Still potential customers are important quality and naturalness of the products used in the preparation, as well as careful delivery of cakes. There are customers with food allergies and fasting, which should also be considered.
Also be sure to explore thematic blogs in your area.
Also, it would not be superfluous to study thematic videos on YouTube - it often contains useful information about problems and questions of the audience.
The study of sites, questionnaires, otzovikov, comments, FAQ
There are many services that allow users to leave their own feedback or questions on a particular topic. For example, one of the most popular in Russia is IRecommend.
Answers to common questions are also an excellent source of useful information. This study helps to find out what interests the audience when buying a product.
Below is a sample table with an analysis of the target audience for the factory of orthopedic mattresses.
The example above is a table with information about the target audience, which was compiled before starting work on the project. In the future, this table would be supplemented and refined.
You have carefully studied your competitors and target audience - it's time to choose your own positioning. In other words - the definition of how you should perceive your potential customers.
Positioning can be defined by the following items:
- goals - what do you want to achieve using social networks?
- the main idea is how to express the essence of your business in 1-2 sentences?
- brand image - what emotions and words can describe your business?
- Positioning - key information that is important to convey to the audience?
- general principles of reference - what will the community content and style of reference be?
- the main difference is what makes you different from your competitors?
It is important to understand that there are no hard and fast rules for creating a company's positioning in social networks. The main thing is to find the answer to the question: who are you and why is it profitable to cooperate with you?
To develop competent positioning, it is necessary to have a good understanding of the interests and problems of the target audience, as well as to know our competitors. The positioning of the company will be reflected in the design and content of the community.
Creating a content plan
A content plan is a document that contains basic information about what you will publish and why in the community.
The basis of the content plan is a table with a description of content headings. Here you will describe in detail the formats of content, purpose, description, frequency and time of publication.
When creating a content plan, it is best to focus not on some general rules, but on understanding the interests of the target audience, competitors, and common sense.
For example, there is a popular advice that it is necessary to make 70% of publications entertaining or useful, and only 30% - selling. However, if your audience subscribes to your community to keep track of new products in the assortment, then following general rules can be harmful.
Therefore, explore the work of competitors, audience preferences, and only then develop the headings of publications.
Key sections of the content plan were described in the competitor analysis section. The most basic headings, without which no content plan can exist: reputational (warming), involving, selling, useful and entertaining content.
Most often enough to publish 1-2 entries per day. Remember that "VKontakte" acts "smart tape", so it is better to work on quality, and not on the number of publications.
After you have the headings ready - you need to make a publication schedule. The schedule itself can look like anything - the main thing is that you understand at what time to publish which record.
Before you start a community advertisement from scratch, you must first publish at least 10 posts. It is advisable to reflect the following information:
- information about the company: where you are, what you do, your features;
- Several entries with a story about your products / services in an unobtrusive manner: tell us about the benefits and features of the products;
- tell about your team, employees - who works with you and why can you be trusted?
- if you have reviews, customer thanks, share them;
- several entertaining and useful recordings that in one way or another may interest and benefit the audience (or entertain).
Also, do not forget to create 2 important discussions:
- for reviews;
- for questions.
And finally, when the time comes to create content - remember the main rule: publications should be interesting and catchy. Break the text into small paragraphs of 3-4 lines. Add accents, items, lists. Aim to make posts in your community interesting and easy to read.
Later, when your community will have its first audience - you can track which publications are most interesting to the audience (collect the most "I like" and comments). Then you can refine the content and make community entries even more interesting.
Any community needs design. You will need:
- issue the name, status, description of the community;
- template for publications.
You have a choice: you can design a community yourself from scratch, using templates, or order a design from a designer.
The main disadvantage of self-design is that you spend a lot of time on the design, and the result itself will most likely be worse than the designer’s work. However, the obvious advantage of this design - saving money.
Also save on the design will help various services for creating images. For example, the most famous and popular is Canva. The service allows you to create your own images for social networks using the built-in templates.
The use of templates is an acceptable option if you do not have the funds to order a design from a designer.
The easiest way is to find a designer, no matter how strange it may sound, in communities with free templates - administrators of such communities often issue communities to order. Another place to look for a designer can be various discussions in thematic communities.
When choosing a designer, it is better to give preference to a candidate who has:
- have their own community with information and decorated services;
- There are at least 5 reviews (be sure to check the customer pages);
- on the wall of the personal community regularly laid out the results of the work.
In fact, finding a designer is easy - just look at thematic groups (most often there are discussions in them to find customers / performers).
Collaboration with the designer
In the course of working with the designer, you will need to complete a brief or technical task - a document with information about your company, target audience and questions about what type of design you need. When compiling an approximate description of the required design (technical task), consider the following points:
- goals and objectives of the design (for example, to vividly reflect the main advantages of your business);
- текст, который необходимо отразить в оформлении;
- референсы (примеры оформления других компаний, которое вам нравится);
- ваши прочие пожелания.
During the work, do not be afraid to ask the designer all your questions.
On average, the complex design of the community (cover, template for publications and avatars) will cost you 2000-3500 rubles and 3-7 days of the designer’s work. Order design community from the designer or do it yourself - you decide. Each of the approaches has its own pros and cons.
Site selection for traffic
Before preparing advertising records and collecting audiences for advertising, it is necessary to understand where the users who have switched to your advertising will be sent. There are few options:
- to the community;
- on lead form;
- private messages;
- to the website.
It is assumed that in advertising campaigns you will use advertising records with information about your products / services, setting up this advertising on people who are interested in your offer. That is why the common task of all the “sites” that accept traffic is the collection of applications and encouraging the audience to buy.
You need to drive traffic to the community if you know that before you leave a request, it is important for your potential customers to find out some additional information about your products or services (read reviews, find out how you work, and so on).
If the audience is "hot" and is actively interested in your product, then it is better to immediately lead to lead-forms or personal messages in order to immediately receive applications.
Lead forms are applications that are installed in the community. The main advantage of lead-forms is that they are “embedded” in a social network and perfectly adapt to any mobile device.
In addition, you should drive traffic to the community if you are advertising products or services that may interest your audience in the near future (for example, barbershop). In this case, it is important for you to get a potential customer's subscription and regularly remind them about your products.
Traffic to the site should be maintained if it is well adapted for mobile devices and you know that the visitor’s conversion into a buyer on the site is significantly higher than from a community or lead form.
In general, each of the sites requires testing and study. And for each of them, you can come up with interesting and innovative mechanics of attracting customers.
Targeting Target Audience
You should proceed to this stage of work only if you know your target audience: its interests, problems, objections, age and much more. Now came the show of this audience of advertising with your proposal.
To do this, you need to make the setting of the target audience in the advertising room "VKontakte". Make this setting (in other words, target the right people) in the following ways:
- set up the target audience within the VKontakte advertising cabinet without using retargeting lists;
- Assemble the target audience by the necessary criteria using special parsers tools and load it into the retargeting list;
- at the same time combine setting for collected lists of retargeting, using standard settings "VKontakte".
To specify the settings in the advertising account when creating a publication, it is enough to select the appropriate items and parameters, after which VKontakte will show you how many people you can show your advertisement and at what cost.
In the advertising office, you can specify the following audience settings: location, age, gender, interest categories, community, education, devices, and others.
The second mentioned method is to collect the audience with the help of special services for "parsing". Previously mentioned service TargetHunter. Its analogues are the service Cerebro and Pepper.ninja.
For example, in TargetHunter you can not only collect subscribers of a community (standard setting "VKontakte"), but also select among the subscribers of active participants - those who have committed, for example, more than 3 activities in the community. Audiences collected in this way are uploaded to the advertising account retargeting list.
Understanding how setting up an advertising audience works will help you to plan your future advertising campaign.
In general, the mechanics are simple: VKontakte has a huge list of users. And your task is to pre-select from this list those people who are closest to the description of your potential client. This is achieved by using the settings inside the advertising cabinet or collecting special lists of retargeting.
You need to explore the possibilities of customizing the target audience inside the advertising cabinet "VKontakte" and tools for "parsing" the audience according to certain criteria (mentioned TargetHunter and other services).
Here are a few ideas you can use when setting up your advertising audience:
- audience of competitor communities;
- active audience in thematic communities;
- users who left “I like” on competitors' advertisements;
- users who live in a certain place (geographical setting "selection on the map"), and so on - there are dozens of ways to customize the target audience.
Select advertising messages, create advertising
After you understand how and for whom you will be setting up an advertisement, it’s time to prepare advertising messages for each audience.
You need to understand exactly what you want to convey to your target audience. The most common format of an advertising message is to familiarize the audience with your product head-on.
After you define the key advertising messages, you will need to gather the target audience and write advertising notes. The examples below are a source of inspiration.
Launch an advertising campaign
Advertising publications created, the advertising audience is set up - it's time to include advertising. However, if you are launching the VKontakte advertising campaign for the first time, then you should remember the basic rules:
- the initial launch of advertising publications is a test whose task is to help you understand which of your advertising records and advertising audiences are “working”;
- No need to spend a large budget on test advertising. It is enough to spend about 100-150 rubles for one advertisement to understand approximately its effectiveness;
- Do not forget to put a budget limit on all ads in order not to accidentally spend money;
- during the first launch of an advertising campaign, use as many different advertising creatives as possible (pictures, texts). So you will increase the likelihood of finding effective and working advertising records;
- In no case do not "mix" advertising audiences, otherwise it will be difficult to understand the effectiveness of each of them. Rule 1 advertising record - 1 advertising audience;
- CTR shows only the overall "clickability" of advertising records. The main thing to rely on is the number of real applications or targeted community subscriptions.
As a result of the test launch of an advertising campaign, you will find that some of the created advertisements will show better performance compared to others. You should understand what caused this effectiveness - advertising or setting up the target audience. Then use these useful developments to create a new advertisement.
In the process of work, sum up small results - track which advertising publications and tuning to which advertising audiences bring the most benefit.
It also makes sense to track the value of the main indicators - the cost of a click, subscription, application, sale.
Work with the attracted audience
After the advertising campaign in the community will be the first subscribers who will start asking questions and leave comments. Here are some basic rules for working with an audience when starting a community:
- communicate with the audience and engage them in dialogue - put "I like" on the comments of users, respond to them on behalf of the community, ask questions;
- in any case, do not ignore questions in the comments and products;
- encourage active participants. For example, with the help of the service SocialStats, track the most active subscribers and present them small gifts (or just check);
- ask your customers to post reviews in a special discussion;
- Do not remove negative reviews, especially if they contain true information. Instead, try your best to resolve customer dissatisfaction.
Such work with a community audience is necessary to create an active community in the community. That each post collected "likes and repost", and in comments "rustled" discussions. The higher the activity of the audience under each publication, the more valuable the community seems to be an outside visitor. In addition, the activity of the audience is taken into account "VKontakte" when forming the subscriber's news feed.
Work with a attracted audience and after a while it will definitely bear fruit.
You may have noticed that the article places a strong emphasis on analytics of competitors and the target audience. And for good reason: a careful study of the communities of competitors will give you a rough idea of how to approach the work on your community. A detailed analytics of the target audience will help you better understand your customers, create interesting content and effective advertising campaigns.
After conducting a preliminary study, you will at least find out a lot of useful information on the topic of project promotion. And this is especially important if this is your first experience in the development of the VKontakte community.
We wish you a successful launch of the project!