We’ve have already covered the value of creating an effective social media content strategy. A clearly defined plan for how your business uses social channels correlate with your chances of success. Once you begin to employ your strategy, it is essential to have a way to follow up and make sure everything is going as planned. The best way of going about this task is to conduct a social media audit. This post will cover the ins and outs of conducting your own social media audit.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit involves reviewing what’s working, what isn’t working and what you can improve across your social media channels. The vast majority of people typically don’t look forward to audits. Does anyone get excited at the thought of a letter from the IRS highlighting an issue with your tax return? However, not all audits are bad.
Yes, there are spreadsheets involved and you’ll have to focus on the details. However, it’s not that painful in reality. In fact, there are so many social media analytics tools out there that it’s actually pretty simple! Furthermore, you only have to conduct a social media audit every month, or quarter in some cases. As you begin to get into the habit of conducting social media audits, each one will become easier.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done a social media audit before or are uncertain if you’re doing it right, we’ve got you covered! The following will help you perform a successful and effective social media audit.
Create an audit template
As mentioned earlier, you’ll need a social media audit spreadsheet to keep things organized. It doesn’t matter how strong of a memory you have, you simply cannot conduct a social media audit in your head. Plus, your audit needs to be accessible to everyone on your team. Furthermore, it’s helpful to have data to be able to track and compare later on down the road.
Here are a few of the more essential pieces of data that you’ll want to include in your social media spreadsheet:
- Profile Info (name and URL)
- Engagement Metrics
- Publishing Metrics
- Audience Demographics
- Referral Traffic
- Channel Specific Metrics
For any metric, you’ll want to include the percentage change from the previous month (or year). Tracking year over year metrics is a great idea since it accounts for seasonal changes. For example, retail stores typically see a sharp increase in social media activity during the holiday season. This massive influx can potentially skew the comparison for January the following year.
Another great idea is to create a “summary” tab on your spreadsheet and an individual tab for each social media channel instead of having them all on one. Not all social media channels have the same metrics, so it’s easier to just separate them. For example, one of the things you’ll measure for Twitter is your number of retweets. Pinterest and Facebook don’t have retweets, so it would be pointless to have a retweet column.
Now that you have the foundation of your social media template in place it’s time to get down to the specifics.
Find all your existing social media profiles
The first step in your social media audit is to conduct a full review of every social media profile that you have…yes, every profile, not just the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn). This means digging deep and finding that Tumblr account you created five years ago and that random YouTube channel you have with fifteen subscribers.
Social media audit tools like Namechk and Knowem can help you track down existing profiles. This is also a great time to claim your brand’s name on other platforms, just in case you want to use them in the future.
Once you have all your current social media profiles listed, the next step in the process is deciding which platforms you want to focus on. This will vary depending on your brand. You likely already have a good idea of where you want to be active. The profiles will be the foundation of your audit.
Analyze each social media profile
Now that you know which profiles you’re going to focus on, the next step is to dive headfirst into the data and see how each platform is performing. This data will be the majority of your social media audit. Not only does it show you what’s working, but it also highlights where you need to improve as well as your biggest opportunities.
Once you begin to enter the data, it should become pretty clear as to which channels are outperforming others. This is especially true if you’ve been measuring your efforts for a while.
You’ll discover your best-performing platforms and profiles and areas of opportunity. You’ll also find the channels that require more time and effort.
Identify top-performing social media posts
This phase will improve your social media content strategy. It’s not that complicated, if your posts aren’t engaging and fail to resonate with your followers then you simply will not succeed. Use your audit to review the content you’ve shared and identify which posts had the biggest impact.
If you’re looking to really dig deep, you can organize your top posts:
- Rich Media (images and gifs)
This will provide you with a clear picture of exactly which type of content is working on each channel. From there it’s simply a matter of fitting more of that type of effective content into next month’s social media calendar.
Identify your sites most shared content
It’s time to take a look at the content on your website now. You can likely pull this information from there if you do content audits. All you need to know is which posts are getting the most social shares and then break it down platform-by-platform. BuzzSumo is an awesome way to get this data too.
Check your branding
Your audience should be able to recognize your brand across all social platforms right away. It’s difficult for your audience to determine which profiles are official, or if they’re even following the right brand if there’s a disconnect between your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. That being said – consistency is critical.
Most social media audit spreadsheets have an area for branding. Here’s a brief overview of what you should include:
- Bio: Enter the bio for each profile
- URL in Bio: If you have a URL in your bio, add the link here
- Verified: Is the account verified?
- Matches style guidelines: Does your brand have style guidelines? If so, make sure all your social profiles follow them. From your cover photos to profile image and any other visuals associated with your profile…check it all.
Next, look through your bios and URLs. Every bio doesn’t have to be identical, but they should convey a similar message, tone, and vibe.
Lastly, check out the URL you’re using for each profile. It may seem like a minor detail, but small details like this are easy to overlook. For example, you may have changed the URL in your Instagram bio to promote a special campaign or promotion at some point. After that campaign is over, you need to change the URL again so people don’t get confused or think that you’re still running an old contest or promotion.
Define your audience
Back when you first created your social media marketing strategy, you likely had an idea of who you wanted to target. However, sometimes the people who end up following and engaging with your content will be totally different than what you expected. So for this step, you’ll want to audit your followers. You can attain this data in a variety of ways. Some networks such as Twiter and Facebook give you information about your audience.
It’s also a wise idea to compare your audiences across all of your social platforms. Hopefully, they’re somewhat similar. If this isn’t the case, check your messaging and the type of content you share on each network to see if there’s a disconnect.
Explore new social platforms
There are new social media channels popping up all the time. While you shouldn’t jump on every new platform that you hear about, but you should at least be aware of the variety of options out there. Every now and then you’ll have an opportunity to become an early adopter and get a head start on your competition. Make sure to highlight new platforms you want to explore in your social media audit spreadsheet.
Keep in mind that adopting new platforms isn’t a necessity. If you’re focused on a few networks or don’t find any new platforms interesting, don’t force it. However, it’s always a wise idea to stay on top of new and emerging social media trends.
Calculate your monthly ROI
Knowing your ROI is critical. The reason why it is so important is that many brands fail to measure their social ROI. As a result, they end up spending time and money on activities that aren’t delivering any value and likely never will. Furthermore, most businesses tend to have a pretty strict budget for social media.
That being said, monitoring and improving your ROI should be a priority. Here’s the basic formula for calculating your social ROI:
Naturally, earnings and costs vary from brand to brand. For example, some brands associate value to every new visitor they get from social or each lead earned. That being said, you need to tailor your social media audit spreadsheet to account for your brand’s specific understanding of value.
Create new objectives
Now that you have a wealth of data in front of you, it’s now time to figure out how to put it all to use. The primary purpose of a social media audit is to provide a better understanding of where you are currently and to make plans for the future. You can use all the information that you gather to develop fresh objectives and goals for the month. Whether it’s growing your followers on a certain channel, getting more engagement, or broadening your audience. You have all the data you need to make intelligent decisions on how you reach your new goals with the right social media analytics tools. All in all, a social media audit provides you with the raw means to improve your social media strategy. However, the means through which you go about improving said strategy is purely up to you!