The importance of utilising social media as a part of a wider marketing strategy is something we have covered in depth before. Creating a clear plan for how you are going to use the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is crucial to help increase the chances of a successful social strategy. However, the work doesn’t stop once you have implemented a social strategy. Checking that everything is running smoothly and going to plan is vital, and carrying out a regular social media audit is the best way to do that.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit is a way of documenting the success of your social media strategy. It’s an opportunity to assess what is working well, identify areas that need improving, and highlighting potential gaps in your current plan.
Audits are often seen as a long, dull, tedious task however with the mass of analytics tools available through the various social media channels it can actually be a relatively quick and pain free process.
Below I’ve covered everything you need to know to help carry out a full social media audit:
1. Getting prepared
As is the case with most tasks, preparation is key. Going into a social media audit blind can waste a lot of time and effort and you could end up missing some vital information. The best way to stay organised is to create a lovely spreadsheet where you can record all of your findings. Below is an example of how to lay out an audit spreadsheet.
The main headers should include:
- Channel and link – This makes it easy to access every social profile from one place
- Follower numbers – Tracking the number of followers will help you gauge growth
- Engagement metrics – Monitoring Retweets and Likes helps you to understand what resonates with your audience
- Top performing updates/posts – This allows you to highlight the specific posts that interest your followers. (for the same reason, I guess)
- Demographic data – Understanding exactly who your audience is crucial for when planning your social activity
These are few examples of the data we like to include in our social media audits but there is a wide range of data available through various analytics tools so it’s not by any means a definitive list.
2. Track all social media channels
Now you’ve created a document to track your social accounts it’s time to round up all of your existing social profiles to make sure you can get a full overview of your brands’ social activity. It’s key to audit all of your social profiles, even if they are rarely used, not just the profiles you have on the ‘big’ platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram).
By knowing what accounts you currently have, you’ll see any gaps in your social strategy and highlight potential channels that you aren’t currently using which could be useful. Throughout this stage, it’s also important to check for rogue social profiles that are using your company’s name or branding. Additionally, it gives you the chance to create profiles on the channels you aren’t currently using to reserve the handle or username that you want to use in case your social strategy changes in the future.
3. Ensure consistency across all profiles
Now that you have rounded up all of your social profiles it’s time to get your branding consistent across all channels. That way, your customer/audience can easily recognise you. These are some of the key things to look out for:
- Username/handle – Your username should be as close to your brand name as possible to make it easy for customers to find you.
- Profile and cover images – Make sure your logo is present on all channels. Also, remember that each channel requires slightly different sized images so make sure you have different versions to meet the needs of each profile.
- Profile info/bio – It’s important that all key information is included in all of these sections. Social media channels don’t give you lots of space here so make sure all information is included and all fields are filled out.
- Links – Make sure all profiles link to your homepage or an appropriate landing page.
- Pinned posts – This is a feature that not everyone makes the most of but is very useful. Pinning important content or a new campaign/blog post to the top of your page helps promote it directly to your audience. It is, however, important to stay on top of this to prevent accidentally promoting an old campaign or highlighting outdated information.
By carrying out this stage you can be confident that all of your information is up to date and all branding is consistent making your profiles easily identifiable.
4. Evaluate your current social performance
Now that you have a list of all of your current social channels it’s time to take a deeper look at what is working well and what needs improvement. You’ll start to spot patterns and identify the type of content that your followers are most interested in, so you can tailor your social strategy. Do posts that include images get the most engagement? Does your audience respond better to content on a certain topic? By answering questions such as these you can alter your future social strategy to help improve success.
Additionally, it’s important to remember that what works well on Facebook might not get the same response on Instagram. Each social media platform has a different user-base so it’s key to have an individual plan for each social channel.
5. Prioritise key networks
By now you should have a nice big spreadsheet full of actionable information to help you improve your social media strategy. At this stage, you should know which accounts are the most valuable, which accounts need more love, and which accounts are less important. So now it’s time to pick out the key profiles to be at the centre of your social strategy. Previously you might have been spending loads of time on Facebook and less on Instagram, however, throughout your audit you might find that your Instagram audience is more receptive and engages with your content more. Therefore you should rearrange your time to put more effort into building your presence on Instagram.
By knowing which channels offer the biggest rewards and prioritising key networks you can be sure that you aren’t wasting time and resources building a presence on a network that your audience doesn’t use.
Social media audits aren’t a one and done task
You have a big, in-depth spreadsheet full of information, so it’s time to start marketing and putting your audit to use to help improve your social strategy. It’s vital to remember that social media is a fast paced industry that’s constantly changing and evolving and it’s important to make sure you evolve with it. Social media audits need to be completed on a regular basis to make sure your social strategy is staying on track and up to date with the latest trends.
Audits can often seem a daunting task that keeps getting put off to a later date so it’s important to schedule a time in and get stuck into a social media audit. It’s a crucial job that can be extremely beneficial in growing your business overall social media presence and strategy.