Are you at a new business, established business, about to launch a product, breaking into a new market, or doing absolutely anything, Mr. or Ms. Social Marketer? Perfect. It’s likely time for you to conduct a social media audit.
Don’t worry — it’s not as scary as it sounds. A social media audit gives you an overall view of how your tools, chosen networks, target audiences, personas, influencers, and campaigns are helping you move towards team and company goals. You get a better sense of how the whole system is working together.
Benefits of a Social Media Audit
In case you’re not sold just yet on an audit, here is a list of the potential benefits.
- Discover what people are saying about your brand or your industry for reputation management.
- Manage your marketing strategy and show marketing managers how to build advocacy among your brand’s target audience.
- Minimize the gap between the current state of your social media audience size and quality, and your annual goals.
- Give your brand a competitive edge by better understanding your customers’ wants and needs.
- Ensure that your social media team is unified and aligned towards common goals.
- Identify areas to streamline your process.
- Gain insight into the real ROI of your social campaigns.
- Improve long-term planning and product launches.
What’s not to love? Let’s get started.
“To create a content strategy that engages and motivates your audience, you need to do a comprehensive social media audit.” – Social Media Examiner
Starting Your Social Media Audit
Completing any audit requires three basic steps:
1. Collect and organize data
2. Analyze data
3. Report on findings and recommendations
Before you start your social media audit, pick the time frame you will be researching. A year is a common time frame for a social media audit, but you could do shorter periods like quarters or every six months.
Now it’s time to dive in, people. We’ll start with reviewing your many social network presences.
Start with an inventory of all your social profiles and assets. Make a list of every presence your brand currently has. You could make a table. Any inventory will likely result in a series of Excel spreadsheets or tables you can update each time you do one.
Record your answers to the following questions for each network presence you have.
1. What is your account’s URL and handle?
2. Is this brand presence currently active, reactive, or inactive?
3. Who has administrative access and what’s the login? Who has posting access/ownership?
4. Does the profile use ads? Who is our ads administrator? What is the login?
This table shows the beginnings of a social profiles inventory.
This information lays the foundation for a full social media audit. You’ll see where you’re focusing your efforts, who “owns” each social profile (who is responsible for posts on your Facebook Page, for example), who has what type of access to the accounts, and if the account has paid media, owned media, or both.
Next, use your network inventory to determine whether or not you have a social media policy that covers all your profiles and accounts. Your social media policy should include the following guidelines:
- Who creates the content to post and who posts that content
- Post topics or types based on your brand’s “voice” (photo, video, links or text)
- Appropriate responses to users mentioning your brand
- Web service level agreements for those networks, such as guidelines for monitoring metrics associated with that network, performance indicators, and troubleshooting
For example, let’s say your brand focuses on having stellar customer service and you have a dedicated customer service handle on Twitter. If so, your policy should have a section that addresses that profile.
In that section, explain how to route customers to the handle for customer service issues, how to handle different types of responses from customers – whether they’re positive or negative – and include company-wide goals for response rate and response time when users mention your brand
Brand Messaging and Activity
Now that you’ve listed each social presence you own, and have outlined a policy of how it should function, it’s time to look at how well each one is following the policy.
First, for each profile, note the following:
- Who your target audience is and if the profile appeals to that audience
- How well the profile adheres to your brand’s image and guidelines
- Your current activity level on the profile, namely the frequency with which you post
You can add this information to the table you’ve created so far, or create a new tab called “Brand Messaging.” How you organize your information depends on how big your social program is.
Unofficial accounts can be confusing to customers. It’s good to keep tabs on them and do everything to make sure customers find your official handles first.
This is also a good time to search for and inventory unofficial brand handles. Unofficial accounts, created by someone other than your team, can be confusing to customers and detract from your brand’s social performance. It’s good to keep tabs on them and do everything to make sure customers find your official handles first.
Next, we’ll move on to content. What types of content does your brand push out on each channel and why?
To start this phase, take an inventory of the content you produce, where you post it, and how often. You could create a table with the following structure:
You may already have covered this information in your social media policy, but take a moment here to look at your habits on each network and consider:
- Who are we writing for?
- What is our relation to that audience?
- What tone of voice should we take with that audience?
You could even add that information to your “Content” table.
How easy is it for potential audience members to find your social profiles?
With the rise of mobile devices for internet use, more and more people are accessing brands through social apps rather than a web browser. It’s crucial to make sure you’re optimizing your social profiles like you would optimize your website for search.
You can use the keywords chosen for your website SEO efforts. Then, track how you apply those major brand or industry keywords to social profiles. You don’t have a lot of space so choose wisely.
Promoted or Paid Content
After looking at your organic content, figure out which which paid media is working hardest for you.
Show, by network, which paid media resulted in the most leads, the highest quality leads, and what the cost was per lead.
Keep in mind, your conversion type may be a click, a purchase, a Like, or any other action you want your customer to take.
And, some channels may not have a paid media option, or you may be using an outside solution to drive conversion for these channels. Having an inventory of all these factors will help with your analysis.
Now that you’ve done some housekeeping and noted the basic stats on every social presence you have, we’re going to move towards the analysis part of the audit.
Look at what you’ve gathered, add some more info, and make comparisons.
We suggest you create a table that compares the following data by network:
Community Size: How large is your audience?
Community Growth: By what percent has your audience grown during the reporting period?
Audience Attributes: Which days and times is your audience active on the network? What are its basic demographics, like gender, age, or location?
Desired Action: What action are you trying to drive on that social network? Is it clicks, Likes, shares, web conversions, purchases, or something else?
Number of Actions: How many desired actions have come from the social network over the reporting period?
Action Value: What is your cost per action? If you don’t have a cost, consider ranking the networks on number scale, or using subjective values like high, medium, and low.
Engagement Rate: What percentage of your community engaged with your content (engaged users/total audience)?
Response Rate: What percentage of audience-generated posts have you responded to?
Response Time: How long, on average, does it take your brand to respond to audience generated posts or requests on this network?
Brand Mentions: How many overall mentions and/or shares does your brand have? This could be Retweets and @mentions on Twitter, shares on Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn, reblogs on Tumblr, etc.
Keywords: Which keywords are used the most in your content? How frequently are they used? Which perform well in posts?
Content: Which content performs well among your audience – video, photos, or text posts?
Paid Media: What is the cost and quality of conversions on this network?
With every one of these data points, you can include what your goal was to see how close you came to achieving it during the time period.
After organizing your network information separately, make note of how cross-channel promotion is going for different types of content. You may find that promoting Facebook campaigns via Twitter lead to more Likes, or that promoting campaigns on Pinterest using visually stunning graphics works well.
You can include this information in your final report.
For extra bonus points, gather stats on your competitors as part of your regular social media audit.
You could start by just looking at one or two competitors, perhaps one direct competitor and then a company whose social program you admire.
You can collect this information by answering the following questions:
Branding: What is their overall image or theme? How do they portray themselves? How do they portray the brand or industry?
Engagement: What’s their engagement rate? Is it higher or lower than your brand’s?
Frequency: How often do they post? Do they use multiple channels?
Popularity: How many followers/Likes does the brand or influencer have?
Types of Posts: What topics do they frequently discuss and how do the posts perform?
You may choose to add more information about your competitors’ social programs. Get creative here, but always with the goal of gaining insights that are relevant to business goals.
Create Your Report
Having done your analysis, you’ll now be able to create your insight-packed report and offer recommendations.
It always helps to have a report structure to follow. Consider using this one.
1. What are the goals of your audit and what are your recommendations?
2. What are the technical details of the audit: time period, networks, etc.?
3. How is the audit organized?
a. Network Inventory
c. Paid Media Inventory
4. Who should implement the recommendations?
1. Introduce the concept you’ll discuss in your finding.
2. Introduce the importance of that finding.
a. How does that finding affect your business process?
b. What are your current benchmarks for this finding?
c. What are your goals for this finding?
3. Show specific examples of the finding.
a. Show specific examples of success.
b. Show specific examples of how to improve.
1. Re-introduce the finding.
2. Make recommendations based on your areas for improvement.
3. Introduce KPIs for each finding.
4. Lay out the steps for achieving the KPIs.
5. Set a timeline for achieving the KPIs.
Are you feeling a bit more prepared to complete a social media audit? Be brave and get started. Your final product will be unique to your company, team, and social program size.
No matter what your current status is, performing regular social media audits will help your brand minimize the gap between the state of your social media program and your annual goals..
Thank you !