The Complete Guide To Doing A Social Media Audit
You know that having a strong social media strategy is important for your business. And equally important is doing a social media audit every so often to take stock of what’s working and what could be performing better for your brand. After all you can’t improve on what you don’t measure.
The word audit is often met with yawns and sighs in response because it’s associated with long and drawn out processes. And let’s not forget the anxiety that seems to accompany them too. But not all audits are created equal. When it comes to your social media, they deserve way more attention, and affection, than they get.
Your car needs a servicing – that’s an audit. Your health needs regular checkups – that’s an audit. Similarly, your social media marketing needs an audit too. You can certainly learn a lot from the process about how well you are managing your brand online, or not.
Don’t let the word audit discourage you. Doing a social media audit is easy, helpful, and important. Here are some pointers for you to help you get it done easily and effectively.
What is a social media audit?
Simply put, this is an evaluation of your social media presence and performance so that you can improve it. When you lay out all the data in a social media audit, you have a better opportunity to weigh the positives and negatives. This data then lets you fine tune your social strategy to give you the maximum ROI.
Almost all marketers have heard of the 80/20 rule. It says that 80% of the results you get come from 20% of your actions or from 20% of your customers. By doing a social media audit you can give your brand a more effective way to get that 20%.
How’s that? Well according to Intel’s Global Content Strategist, Luke Kintigh, you follow the 90/10 rule. The 90/10 rule is that 10% of your content drives 90% of traffic and engagement. So, you need to figure out which of your content makes up that 10% as soon as you can, and then as often as possible through additional audits over time.
You might be a little skeptical about these rules and the effort involved. But by doing a social media audit you’ll find that it’s worth every bit of your time. To get started try using this template from Buffer’s VP of Marketing, Kevan Lee. And add additional sections, metrics, and notes as you see fit.
The steps to doing a social media audit
Setting up your social media audit
As you set up your spreadsheet, with the link above or with your own approach, consider including the following for each social account:
Your account’s details:
- Your social handle starting with @
- Direct link to the profile
- Your account’s bio text
- Branded hashtags, ones that are in your bio or others that you use on a regular basis
- The URL, or URLs, that you link to from your bio
- The person on your team who is in charge of the account
- Your goal or mission statement for the account (if you have one)
- When you last posted the account
Your content’s performance metrics:
- Lifetime number of posts published (i.e. since the account was started)
- Engagement metrics
- Changes to engagement
- Top performing posts (look at 3-5 in terms of engagement)
Your audience insights:
- Demographic info
- Followers (total number)
- Change to followers (increase or decrease)
- 2-3 goals you can focus on achieving ahead of your next audit
- If this is a follow up audit, make note of whether you were able to meet your previously set goals
Do a social media profile inventory
Before you get started on anything, take inventory. This may seem rather obvious but do take the time to consider your social media profiles beyond Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. While you may be active on just a few profiles, it’s important to take a look at all of the accounts you’ve set up over the years.
It may be that an account or platform which previously didn’t seem of much value to you has become a lot more relevant to your audience. And it may have rolled out features you can effectively use.
And you’ll also want to make sure that you do in fact still have access to the accounts that you haven’t been actively monitoring. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which inactive accounts get hijacked by individuals outside of your team.
How complete are your social media profiles?
After you have tracked down all your social media profiles, take a look at how thoroughly each of these profiles has been set up and maintained. They should all be consistent with the current brand image and standards that you have. To complete this step go through each profile individually and check for how well elements like your logo, images, and captions align with your brand style guide. Make sure that you are using current hashtags, keywords, and the right brand voice.
Here’s a snapshot of what to look for and assess:
- Your profile and cover images need to resonate with your current branding. They should also adhere to the size requirements of images that each social media platform specifies. As these change from time to time, even if your images follow your brand guidelines get them resized so that they’re optimized for the platforms you’re using them on.
- Look at your profile bio and description text. You only have a limited number of characters to work with here and so, making it the most of them is key. All fields must be filled in and have the right brand message.
- Your handle should generally be the same across all social media channels. It will help your customers identify your brand easily. However, you can have different handles if your social media accounts have been created for different purposes entirely. As you review your profiles, be sure to make note of how and where you want to maintain better consistency.
- Check all of the links that you have on the social media pages. They should be functional and lead to your homepage or any other appropriate landing page. They could also lead to a blog or a current campaign that you have. You do not necessarily need to have the same link in all your social media accounts, but for your reference, take note of what link is used where and why.
- If you have any pinned posts, evaluate them to ensure that they are still relevant and that they do not need to be changed.
- Check to see whether your account is verified with a checkmark badge. If the profile does not have this verification, think about whether it is something that you need to get and make note of the steps to do so.
Identify your top performing posts
Now, look at the posts that are driving the kind of traffic that aligns with your business’ goals. Don’t just look at the numbers of likes or shares. Instead, take a critical look at how the audience is engaging with each post, the page views, bounce and conversion rates.
Look at the amount of interaction that each post has received. In doing this, you will be able to figure out some of the small changes that you can make, which will go a long way to give you better returns. One of the biggest oversights that most brands have to deal with is not optimizing their content in a mobile friendly manner.
People use their mobile devices primarily now, and so being able to optimize accordingly is important. This means including designs that are sized appropriately, and easy to view and read across devices. You could be losing people just because your content isn’t displaying clearly. Knowing which posts are working the best for you, and why they are, will give you insight into how your future posts could be better approached. If you’re using a social media scheduler, try looking for your consolidated analytics and insights on it. Or just navigate to each of your social media channels to get this information.
Create a snapshot of your current performance
We’ve addressed your top-performing posts and now we’re talking about your overall performance for each of your social media profiles. This is in fact a crucial part of doing a social media audit.
To get a thorough sense of your overall performance, take note of these metrics:
- How many followers and fans do you have? See how much your audience has grown over time – since you started and since your last social media audit. Use tools at your disposal like Facebook page insights and Twitter’s Followerwonk.
- Check your posting frequency. Analyze to see if there is any correlation between how often you post and how often your following or engagement levels increases.
- Make note of the types of content that you’re posting, and the frequency of each. It’s important to have a snapshot of how you’re using content marketing. This will allow you to determine whether you’ve used any one format enough to get a sense of how well your audience responds to them (e.g. videos, images, GIFs, infographics, etc.).
- Brand mentions – how, when and why is your brand mentioned by others, be it customers, prospective customers or other brands? Has this increased or decreased over time?
- How much engagement are you maintaining? Engagement can come in different forms such as reshares, shares, direct contact, retweets, and the likes. Take note of all of the above.
Through this process, you will be able to see, at a glance, whether your profiles are performing the way that they really should.
Get insights on your audience
Now look at the demographics that you are currently reaching across your social media profiles. Take one channel at a time and give it some in-depth analysis. What are the locations, genders, interests and the likes of your followers? Are there any consistencies in demographics across social media channels or not?
The interesting thing here is that most brands find out that their real audience is completely different from what they had in mind. And that is important. Being able to generate the correct social media content to serve the right audience is the way to win at social media marketing. You can determine your real audience by comparing your number of followers to the actual rate of engagement. Don’t have a social media scheduler that breaks all of this down for you? No worries. Social media platforms provide this information, in varying amounts so details, to make it easier for you to analyze.
Get ideas from niche influencers and brands
To improve your own social media, without having to go through all the trial and error alone, take inventory of what other similar and successful brands are doing right (and wrong). You’d be surprised at how much you can learn this way.
Start this process by looking at a few influencers in your niche. Aim for between 4-8 to give yourself a wide range of ideas to consider. Chances are you can immediately think of who you want to look up – you’re probably checking out their profiles regularly anyway! Short list the options to those who have similar brand voices and messaging. If you need help with coming up with a few options, try these tools.
Once you narrow down the brands and the influencers you want to review, follow the steps that you took for your own profiles.
You can create a new spreadsheet to take down the information that you find, or simply have it on a different tab in your own social media audit spreadsheet.
Here are some of the questions that you’ll want to answer through this process:
- How does the overall look of the profile contribute to promoting the brand?
- Do the profiles get the personality and culture of the brand across clearly to the customers?
- How have they chosen their images, whether it is in their headers or avatars?
- Do they have a lot of followers and fans? How popular are their accounts?
- How often do they post? And when do they post (weekdays, weekends, etc.)
- How many people are actually talking about the brand? Compare this to the number of people following the brand to get a sense of engagement levels.
- What kinds of posts are being published? What are the topics that are being discussed frequently? Do they use more or less of a certain kind of content (videos, photos and polls)? What kind of engagement levels do each of these post types receive?
Remember, that the questions you want to answer should vary a bit based on the network that you are looking at. As each network offers different options, be sure to look at how niche influencers and brands are using them.
Keep an eye on new opportunities from social media
New social media opportunities come along often. Yes, they may not stick around for the long term, but while they last, they can help you grow your brand if you use them correctly. A good example is Tik Tok. You may not be fully convinced that you want to jump into it, but you could also come to see that there are some opportunities there given how popular the channel has become.
If you are flexible as a brand and adapt new social media, you will find new ways to reach your existing audience, and to expand your audience too. And depending on how often you explore new opportunities, you may just beat your competitors to the punch when it comes to using a new marketing channel effectively.
Open a new tab on your social media audit spreadsheet and highlight any new channels that you want to explore. This step is not a necessity. But it is something that will serve as a bonus. Essentially once you’ve taken care of your top priorities, these are new opportunities to explore.
Define your goals for each network
By this point, you should have a pretty comprehensive spreadsheet. You can now make some decisions based on data. But it can still be overwhelming when you’re doing a social media audit for the first time. And for that reason, it is easier if you can focus on specific goals that you come up with for each of your social media channels.
Below are some examples you can consider:
- Enhancing brand awareness
- Increasing sales and lead generation
- Improving engagement
- Increasing the following you have
- Improving traffic to your site
- Improving the click rate on your social media shares
- Broadening your page reach
In addition to these ideas, you could also have more immediate action plans. For instance, you could choose to update your social media images or even focus on a network that seems to be reaching your target market.
Besides making the process of doing a social media audit easier, setting up goals will help you in two ways. It will help you determine your strategy and the kind of content you need for each network. And it’ll narrow down the metrics you’re focusing on for each platform.
When considering your social media goals make sure that they’re aligned with your overall business goals. For instance you may be increasing your Instagram following faster than that of Facebook. But if the latter is giving you more paying customers, and that’s one of your top goals, then you need to look at how you can build on what you’re achieving through Facebook. The context of your goals always matters. So, focus on the social media metrics that reflect your goals.
If you’re not feeling quite sure about the goals above, try doing a SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). This will help you gain a clearer idea of how you can most effectively improve your social media.
Doing a social media audit will create new opportunities
Yes, it’s a lot of analyzing, data gathering and planning. But doing a social media audit will help you get more out of every post and every bit of the resources you put into your social media marketing. To that end, be sure that your audit is accessible to all of your team members who are involved in your social media marketing. You can even get them involved, to divide and conquer the process.
However you approach it, just make a point to block a certain time in your schedule for you to conduct your audit on a regular basis. It could be a quarterly exercise or something you do twice a year. But no matter how frequently or infrequently you do an audit, the results will always give you more clarity and in turn, increase your ROI.