The word “audit” is likely to strike fear into the hearts of the most seasoned person, young and old alike, but what if we were to tell you that an audit can be a good thing? When most hear the word, images of mountains of receipts, financial forms, and back-dated pay stubs flood their minds. How could that possibly be helpful?, you ask. Well, we're here to tell you.
Instead of using the word “audit,” perhaps it might make more sense to use the phrase “tune-up,” because honestly, that’s all a social media audit is. Its purpose is to assess the efficacy of your current social media marketing strategy, reviewing what works, what doesn’t, and how you might improve existing practices or create new ones.
Before we get into the details of how you might successfully conduct a social media audit, let’s first take a moment to consider how you might benefit from doing one.
Social Media Audit Benefits
The benefits of running a social media audit are wide-ranging. For example:
- You will receive invaluable feedback concerning your reputation. What do you think people are saying about your brand or industry?
- You will find the root cause(s) of why your social media doesn’t seem to be converting.
- You will be able to help your marketing managers cultivate brand loyalty and advocacy with people who will love your product.
- You will put yourself a step ahead of the competition because you’ll have a better idea of what your customers want and need.
- Your team and their goals will be clear, and everyone will be on the same page.
- You will find ways to streamline your processes, lessening the workload for everyone so that you can focus on growing your brand the right way for your business.
- You will better understand how your social campaigns affect your ROI.
- You will have a better handle on long-term goals and future product releases.
If all of these examples are ones you’d like to see in your business, then we would highly recommend completing a social media audit.
Now that you know what a social media audit is as well as the ways you can benefit from one, let’s talk about how you can get started. Luckily, the process is quite simple and can be condensed to just three steps.
- Data collection and organization
- Data analysis
- Findings and recommendations
A good first step is to determine how much data you want to collect. Do you want everything from the past year? Or perhaps you want to pare that down to six months or even a single quarter. Once you’ve decided how much you want to audit, it’s time to throw yourself into the deep end. It sounds scary, but we promise it’s worth it.
Perform A Social Network Inventory
First things first, how many social profiles and assets do you currently control? Make a list of all of each online presence with the following details:
- The account URL and handle along with the password
- Presence type: active, reactive, or inactive
- Administrators and frequent users
- Ads implementation (if applicable)
This information will be the base upon which your whole audit will rest. It is a visual tool to give you an idea of the ownership per account, who has access to what, and which accounts utilize paid or owned media (or both). Here is an example of a social network inventory spreadsheet you can use and download for your audit:
Check To See If You Have A Proper Social Media Policy In Place
Like we previously said, the inventory you’ve just completed is the foundation, and this next step will be the layer on top of it. Using the information from the inventory, you should be able to see a clear, social media policy that spans across all accounts. If you don’t, guess what? It’s time to implement one! Check out this blog we wrote on How To Write A Social Media Policy For Your Company.
Your policy should include answers to the following questions:
- Who is in charge of content creation, and who then posts that content once created?
- What is your brand’s voice?
- How are you responding to users who mention or contact your brand online?
- What are the web service level agreements for each network (i.e. metric monitoring, quality assurance, performance indicators, and troubleshooting)?
What should you do, for example, if your brand prioritizes exemplary customer support? Chances are you’ll have a handle on Twitter that’s dedicated to customer success. If that’s the case, then that would need to be clearly indicated in your social media policy. Information such as how to handle different interactions ranging from positive to negative as well as setting up quality assurance checkpoints would be necessary to make sure that all customers are treated in a consistent, stellar manner.
Is Your Social Media Policy Being Followed?
By this point, you should have a list of all of your social media profiles a policy of how each functions both on their own and as a whole. Now, you need to look at how well the policy is being followed.
Considering each profile, write down the following information:
- Who is your target audience? Does the profile do a good job of appealing to that audience?
- Does the profile match the image and policy that was previously determined?
- How active is each profile? Do you post daily? Several times a day? Once a week?
Something else to investigate at this point is if there are any unofficial channels (accounts created by anyone other than you or your team members) tied to your brand. Unofficial accounts can convolute your presence as well as confuse your customers. Even if you don’t control those accounts, it’s wise to keep your eyes on them while also ensuring that your accounts are the ones that customers see first.
What Type Of Content Are You Posting & How Can You Be Found?
Next up is content. You’ll need to take another inventory, this time geared toward the type of content that is produced, where it’s posted, and how often, it’s posted. Please note that this information may already be included in your social media policy.
Some other things to keep in mind as you’re compiling this information is your desired audience. Who are you creating content for, and how do you relate to them?
After you feel confident in your understanding of the content that you share with your audience, you need to make sure it’s easy for them to find you. This is done by way of keywords. Long gone are the days of search engines and websites. Now, it’s all about the social apps that people use on their phones (think Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), and you’re sure to be left in the dust if you don’t optimize your social profiles to meet those demands.
You can start your research with your website. What keywords do you use to affect your SEO? You can use those same keywords in your social media profile, but be careful. Your space is limited, so make sure you’re choosing the most effective ones. Feel free to test some out and alter as necessary as results start to come in.
Determine What Paid Media Is Working Best For You
Now that you’ve gotten a good handle on your organic content, it’s time to analyze your paid content. You’ll need to determine which is the most effective in leads (pay special attention to the quality of these leads) as well as how much each lead cost. This will also vary depending on what you consider conversion to be. Are you looking for a purchase, a single click, or another specific action?
Furthermore, some channels do not have paid options. If you’re using an outside source to drive conversion for such a channel, it’s important to include this in your analysis of your paid media.
Perform A Detailed Analysis Of Each Of Your Social Channels
Things are starting to clear up, aren’t they? At this point, you should have a firm understanding of all of your social media profiles including all basic stats and policies. This is where the second step – data analysis – comes in. You have all of your info; now you need to make sense of it.
You might want to create a chart that compiles as many social media metrics as possible so that you can properly evaluate each of your social channels in this audit, such as:
- How many followers you have
- Number of likes
- Number of shares
- Number of comments
- Number of mentions
- Number of clicks
- Number of retweets
- Number of messages
- Number of video views
- Post reach
- Cost of paid media
- What percentage of posts has your audience responded to
- What percentage of posts have you responded to
- On average, how long did it take for you to respond
(an example of the Twitter reporting available in Social Report)
Check Out Your Direct Competition
This is not absolutely necessary, but it’s our personal belief that you could absolutely benefit from doing a little bit of detective work to find out the stats of your competitors. We’d also recommend adding the stats of a company whose social media marketing you admire. Learn from the best, as it were.
While you’re sleuthing, consider the following questions:
- How do they portray themselves (branding, image, etc.), and are they consistent in their portrayal?
- How does their engagement rate differ from yours? Is it higher or lower?
- What is their posting schedule like (frequency)? Do they post to one network exclusively, or do they post to multiple channels?
- How many followers or Likes do they have?
- What sort of content are they sharing? How well (or poorly) does the content perform?
There is so much more information that you could include here, but you don’t want to get bogged down with too many details. You want to focus on what they’re doing right (or wrong) and see how you can apply that knowledge to your own practices.
Now The Fun Begins - Putting The Report Together!
Guess what? The analysis portion is done! That wasn’t too bad, was it?
That means there’s only one step left: findings and recommendations. This is when you will compile everything you’ve learned from steps one and two into a single report that is jam-packed with insight for your business. This will result in a plethora of recommendations to help you improve.
While you can format your report however you’d like, here’s an example to get you started. Feel free to tweak as you feel is necessary.
- Goals and Recommendations: What do you hope to achieve, and what do you suggest?
- Technical Details: What is the reporting period (1 year,6 months, etc.)?
- Organization: How is this audit organized?
- Paid Media
- Who will be tasked with implementing the recommendations?
- What did you find?
- Why is it important?
- How does it affect business processes currently in place?
- What are the current standards for this finding?
- What are your goals to improve?
- What are some examples of this finding?
- Explain specific points in which the finding was a success.
- Explain how the finding can improve.
Thoughts For Moving Forward
- Reestablish the finding.
- Using the areas of improvement as a base, recommend options for improvement.
- Set up and introduce KPIs for each finding.
- Explain the process or steps for achieving each KPI.
- Establish a timeline for each step.
All Done - Now Complete Social Media Audits Regularly Moving Forward
Congratulations! You’ve completed your first social media audit! Or perhaps if this wasn’t your first one, we were able to make the process a little bit easier than it was last time.
No matter how many times you’ve done a social media audit – because let’s face it, social media audits are tantamount to survival in the social media marketing world – whether you’re new to the scene or a seasoned professional, regular social media audits are sure to not only get you closer to your goals but also help you exceed them.