8 Tips for Conducting an Effective Social Media Audit
Keeping track of your company’s social media accounts isn’t easy, especially if there are more than just a handful. You might have different accounts for different markets (Coca Cola) or for different locations (looking at you, Hilton Hotels), or maybe you’re present on every platform from Ello to WhatsApp.
Back in 2011, a study of corporate social media accounts found that large companies had 178 social media accounts on average. Yep, that’s triple digits.
HubSpot called it 'mind-boggling' at the time, but to a social media manager of a big brand, 178 actually doesn’t sound too far off (though 178 is probably also that social media manager’s pulse rate).
But whether your company has 5 or 50 or 500 accounts, conducting a social media audit is the perfect way to see where you’re at, review where you’re headed, and find out what you can improve on in the process.
Why a social media audit pays off
A social media audit is a comprehensive health check of all your owned social media channels.
The idea is that you take a step back from the hectic day-to-day managing of the accounts, look at wider trends and identify areas with high improvement potential. And we’re not talking about simply listing your channels and how many followers you have.
Here’s what a good social media audit does for you:
- It serves as the ultimate health check for your social initiatives
- It’s the single best point to start developing or improving your social media strategy as a whole and for each network
- It unveils important trends and KPIs to add to your weekly or monthly reporting
- It enables you to see your brand from the perspective of your customers
- It builds awareness internally and brings the whole team up to speed regarding results, goals, and vision
Keep these goals front and center - you want to put a number on your social performance, and you want to be able to optimize your long-term strategy to achieve better results.
The great thing about this is that the more you put in, the more you get out. Below we’ve listed some audit options for you to look at. Pick the ones that make sense for your brand, expand on areas where you see a lot of potential, and don’t hesitate to question long-established processes.
As you’ll see below, shaking it up can do wonders for a community.
Who should be involved in a social media audit?
Before we get to the nitty gritty audit details, think about who to invite for this meeting. If you want to do an audit of your personal brand, you can obviously skip this step, but in almost all other cases, expanding the pool of participants will pay off.
Make sure you involve:
- Social media or community management teams
- Customer service teams
- Content creators
- Your company’s employee advocates
Your audit is about finding out what resonates with your audience and why they’re looking at your content. Whoever executes the social media strategy in your company is talking to your customers every day, yes, but content creators and employee advocates have their own motives to make your social strategy a success, so don’t miss the opportunity to also get them involved.
Before you get started, tell everyone to take a critical look and question existing processes. “But we’ve always done it this way” isn’t good enough.
List the good, the bad and the ugly forgotten accounts
First order of business - make an inventory of your accounts. All of them.
We’ve all been there, the prospect of engaging with a new community on a social network is exciting and you set out with the best intentions, but the hectic day-to-day makes it impossible to maintain second-tier accounts.
Even if you're blessed with extraordinary powers of consistency and think you’ve got it all covered, think about this - someone who was really into Reddit left your company and the handover wasn’t as thorough as it should have been. Now there’s a deserted Reddit profile vegetating away somewhere, and all that’s left is a trail of unengaged people he or she interacted with regularly.
Okay, that might be a tad over-the-top, but you get the point: your company probably has social accounts you never even knew existed, and now’s the time to find them and decide what to do with them.
I know you don’t have time to put your Sherlock hat on and go digging around in individual networks, so here’s a nifty tool you can use for your social media audit instead. KnowEm gives you a first overview of your company’s accounts in seconds.
Check your profile “about us”, bios and visuals
We all know how important the first impression is. Someone who doesn’t know your brand is most likely to head straight for your profile or account info, whereas you aren’t that likely to go there very often.
Make sure all addresses, phone numbers and your main “About” text are always kept updated. Clear (responsive) pictures are not optional, so make sure your profiles look professional on all devices and check for consistency across networks. If you’re targeting different audiences with each network, discuss using different visuals to best address them.
Lastly, don’t forget to check Facebook or Linkedin page roles as well and see if there’s anyone whose access has changed.
If you haven’t changed your passwords in a few months (years?) now’s the time.
Check in with your community growth
Fan growth is one of those vanity exercises that people have largely stopped paying much attention to in their reporting (right? riiiight?) but for the purpose of a check-up on your channels, it’s worth looking at it to have a basic idea if there’s a positive trend.
For the last few months you can check this out in Facebook Insights, or for a more complete view head to your social media analytics tool, select a long term range and plot the follower growth and growth rate.
Wendy’s Official Twitter account is a pretty spectacular example of how a working social media strategy can translate into followers and brand awareness beyond social media - their follower numbers have skyrocketed in recent times owing to a few well-documented Twitter exchanges with competitors and customers alike.
Look at your own follower growth rate and at your most engaging results in the last few months, ten talk to your team about your voice and which new things you could try in the future.
Do a check-up on your audience
The more you know about your audience, the more you can address what’s important to them.
Compare how engaged they are for each network and try looking for indicators as to why.
Look at detailed demographics’ data, including countries, occupations and interests, check the gender split of your audience and discuss with your team what they think has moved their audience the most over the past few months. Sometimes an anecdote describes a community in a nutshell (backed up by sound data).
Evaluate your social media activity
In your social media analytics tool, check how consistent you are with posting across networks.
Are you neglecting one entirely? It might be time for a last post that redirects users to your active communities on other networks.
Check for activity peaks of your audience vs your own. Comparing these graphs can reveal information about your community you’ve never even thought about.
Look at post types distribution. Are you posting enough visual content? Which are the most engaging post types? Are you posting videos? How often do people watch them until the end?
Check in with the competition and overall business objectives
You might be tempted to go in and do a full social media marketing audit for your competitors as well, but keep in mind a few things.
First, vanity stats like followers and engagement won’t give you really deep insights. You don’t know what your competitors are spending on social, so don’t focus on these metrics, instead, do a qualitative analysis: are they active on networks we aren’t? Why? What’s their voice and strategy?
Proving how your results translate to business outcomes is something you should be doing on a monthly reporting basis, but be sure to include it in the audit as well. Discuss results and whether you need any change of strategy here. Are most of your conversions coming from one network only? How much time are you investing in it vs other networks?
How often should I do an audit?
Some sources recommend doing monthly audits, but I think that defeats the purpose. You need a solid reporting in place to track all your important monthly metrics, yes, but checking your bio, adjusting post times to activity peaks and aligning your team doesn’t have to be done this frequently.
You’ll also lose patience if you have to do all of this frequently and don’t see a lot of change. I recommend doing an audit twice a year in the first year, and then moving to a yearly cycle.
Now, get ready to audit
Let me know in the comments if you think about something else that’s important to include.
Article and image via Social Media Today