The 4 well established steps of a social media audit include the following;
Step 1: Review your Social Media profiles
- Where are you present?
The first thing to start from is mapping your social media presence. Locate all the social media accounts for your brand and write down the current status and audience size. This is a a great base to evaluate your presence on each platform at a later stage. Here’s an example from a recent social media audit for Twitter Counter.
- What needs to be updated?
While you’re reviewing and classifying your social media presence it is important not to neglect updating your social media profiles.
Your social media profile’s description is one of the most important persuasive tools in your hands to convince people to follow you on social media. So make sure that they’re up-to-date, engaging, and well-crafted, optimized for SEO and reflect your brand’s identity. You profile’s imagery is equally important. Check whether you’re using high quality, up-to-date images across platforms and that everything is according to your brand’s style guide.
Step 2: Review competition
Now that you have an overview of your social media presence it is important to review the social media presence of your competitors. Make a list of the accounts you are interested in looking and analyze your social media behavior. My advice is to keep it under 10 so that you don’t get lost in the maze of numbers, platforms and behaviors.
Points to look at:
- Social Media presence and Audience size: Where are your competitors active? What is their number of followers on each platform and how do you stack up against them? Would it make sense to you to join the platforms you haven’t been active on?
- Type of content: What do they usually post on each medium? Is it images, video, simple text? And how are they using each platform? Is Facebook used for company news for example and Twitter for customer support?
- Frequency of posting: This is an important point as it can teach you a lot about your content tactics. How often they are posting on each platform and which days and times they seem to prefer?
- Average engagement per post: The average engagement is also something you can look at against the audience size.
- Tone: Don’t confuse voice with tone. Voice is something unique to a brand but tone is often dictated by the platform. For example, LinkedIn calls for more professional posts as opposed to Instagram that is usually more casual. If you’re new on a platform or you doubt about the tone your posts should have, this point could help you tremendously.
Step 3: Assess your Social Media activity
Now that you have the basis to work on, you’ve seen your social activity against your competitors it is time to dig a little bit deeper into the data and actually evaluate your social media presence so far. At this stage, it really helps to break it down to simple questions you can ask yourself in order to assess your status and update the beloved spreadsheet accordingly.
- Why are you present on each platform?
In step one; you reviewed your presence on every social media platform, and your level of activity. Now it’s time to put this information into perspective and actually think why you have a presence on a given platform. The truth is that social media are a great marketing tool that can help you achieve your goals. But each platform is different, so you need to think the pros and cons of having a presence and how each platform can help you reach those objectives.
If you cannot find answers strong enough, and given that maintaining a presence on many platforms can be time-consuming to say the least, then you might need to consider focusing your efforts elsewhere so that you can achieve better results.
- Is your target audience also present on this platform?
Having a clearly defined target audience can help you immensely. For example, if your target audience is young university graduates, then you are less likely to target them on a platform such as LinkedIn that is traditionally more popular among professionals.
- What are your goals for each one?
If you’ve already answered the ‘who’ and ‘why’ of each platform then setting goals shouldn’t be difficult. For example, you had intended to use Twitter as a customer support system but it has eventually turned into a distribution tool, then you might need to reevaluate your strategy and tactics for this platform.
- Has your audience grown?
That should be an easy one. All you need to do is to check your audience growth across platforms to see how fast your brand is growing on social. It is also important to estimate at this point the quality of your audience and more specifically whether or not your fans actually are the type of audience you intended to target.[related-posts]
- What is your engagement rate?
The engagement rate across platforms is a great indication of your brand’s impact. Your total engagement rate on every platform is calculated by the total number of interactions (likes, shares and comments on Facebook, retweets, mentions and favorites on Twitter and so on), divided by the total number of posts shared on each platform.
- How is your social media presence affecting your business?
Google Analytics is a great help in this process as you can produce all kinds of reports to assess your social media activity. A few of the points you could look into in order to measure the impact of social media on your business are the social platforms that are the greatest drivers of traffic for you, how your social media campaigns performed in terms of conversions or which of your social media posts led to the highest traffic.
- What are your strengths and weaknesses compared to competition?
In step two you gained an overview of your competition. With this information in mind make a list of your strengths and weaknesses compared to them so that you know where to focus your efforts.
- Have you chosen the right posting volume and frequency?
You need to ensure that your posting frequency is not overloaded and to ensure that you are doing the right content mix for your social platforms.
- Are you posting the right content for engagement and visibility?
What makes content great is value, relevance and of course trustworthiness.
Comparing the content you share on social media already to that of your competitors what help you gain even more insights into whether you are making the most out of your content strategy or not.
Step 4: Plan what’s next
After a thorough review of your social media activity, you probably have more than enough information to put together your action plan until the next audit by setting a specific set of goals. Some of the aspects to focus on, based on your data are:
- Audience growth
Set your goals when it comes to growing your audience, as well as a set of tactics to help you reach your goals.
- Engagement rate
Apart from the overall engagement rate, I have found that focusing your efforts on the types of Engagement that matter to you (for example, amplification or clicks) help you to better optimize your social media posts accordingly.
- Posting volume and frequency
Not all audiences are the same. Tweeting once an hour, round the clock or posting three times a day on Facebook might not be working for your audience. Experiment with different volumes and frequencies and use your competitors as a guide.
- Type of content you’re posting
Perhaps video and longer posts work better for you. Try out different type of content and diversify your posts to see what resonates best with your audience.
- Traffic and leads generated from social
Set a goal for your social media referrals you want to reach or the leads (if any) you want to generate from your social media activity and follow up with measuring your progress with Google Analytics.
- Platforms to embrace or let go
Letting go of a platform where you’ve invested a lot of effort and time can be a tough choice, I know. But think of it like this; perhaps you could channel this effort to another medium, current or new, with a greater impact.
Easy isn’t it? How’s your experience with social media audits been so far? Let us know in the comments below.