A social media audit is equivalent to a marketing health and wellness check-up.
It’s an opportunity to proactively check the vitals, DNA, circulation, deficiencies, activity levels of your social media efforts.
Auditing the performance and outcome of your social media marketing gives insights on how your brand compares to the size, weight, reach and influence.
Here’s how you can conduct a successful social media audit in 12 steps.
1. Schedule It
Instead of waiting until a potential problem is detected or for failing results to appear, proactively schedule an audit for your brand at least two times a year.
A social media audit will create an efficient and actionable update to a social media strategy.
2. Include PR, SEO & PPC to the Audit
Living behind closed doors in the social media marketing room leads to dehydration and loss of healthy nutrients to a social media marketing plan.
Public relations, search and PPC will add depth, optimization, and vital content to a social media plan.
Combining marketing agendas gives a sense of synchronicity and supplements the social media planning with aligned business goals and objectives.
3. Grading Scale
Having a process and methodology for a social media audit is essential for long-term success and efficiencies.
Whether it’s your own process using Excel, a template from a third party source, or a platform such as Sprout Social, using consistent methods puts a science behind the historical comparisons.
Considering 72 percent of the content industry say they’re challenged with managing workflows and new technology, V.P. of Brand Creative at Hanson Dodge Sarah Collins shares her approach to a social media audit.
4. Headlines & Grades
“We start with competitors and look for ‘who’s to beat.’ Then we write the headline for what each competitor’s strategy appears to be. From there, we map it on a quadrant to determine the white space for the brand we represent,” Collins said.
Taking the quantitative and qualitative factors, Collins breaks down a social media audit approach like this:
Quantitative takes into account competitors, community size, engagement, native channels (including Facebook insights, analytics), and paid channels (such as Iconosquare, Cubeyou, Nuvi, Rival IQ).
Qualitative analysis content, paid social via Rival IQ, engagement.
5. Website & Blog Assessment
Check the relevant website and blog pages to check for social media factors including:
- Meta titles and descriptions.
- Content performance.
Questions to Ask
- Are your blog posts easy to share?
- Do your titles and descriptions make sense in a share?
- How about those visuals? Are they shareworthy or boring?
- What is the best performing content? (You might be surprised and want to rework the content strategy.)
- What is the top performing social media network in Google Analytics?
- Are you integrating chatbots to your home page?
6. Social Media Channel Review
This is where you want to review each channel, including this checklist:
- Page/profile optimization.
- Cover and profile image use.
- Visual assets.
- Video optimization (i.e. playlists, featured, etc.).
- Frequency and timing.
- Content types/mix.
- Comment sentiment and response time.
- Live video use.
- Chatbots and messenger use and strategy.
“I like to see how they handle the customer service on social media feeds,” said Melissa Fach, Pubcon Community Manager and Blog Editor at SEMrush. “Many brands are using chatbots and Facebook Messenger wrong. They respond to everyone the same way. Chatbots will be a huge problem in the future if brands don’t start paying attention. Right now it may look like they don’t care.”
Social PR Secret: Consider adding a chatbot strategy to your audit checklist. See what the competition is doing and how you can improve social customer service, better serve website visits and improve messaging outreach using chatbots.
7. Competitive Social Media Review
Compare your brand’s social media channels with at least two competitors or like-minded brand.
Create a spreadsheet and make notations of:
- Publishing trends compared to competitors.
- Content types.
8. Content Style, Messaging & Optimization Analysis
This is an opportunity to see how well your content is feeding social media results. Look at the overall content style and brand voice.
- Is your content robotic and informal or is it personalized and conversational?
- Does your content reflect a strategic content calendar or are you winging it?
- Are you using hashtags effectively to maximize reach?
- Is your social team taking trends into consideration?
Look at each social media networks as its own search engine.
Social PR Secret: It’s important for brands to optimize for each social media channel just like they would optimize using keywords, links, and images for Google. Treat each channel like a search engine and optimize your content, images, video, and profiles.
“I like at where social shares lead to,” Fach said. “Is it helpful content versus something salesy? Offer a solution that will help the person – most brands make a promise and lead the audience back to misleading content. Avoid the bait and switch type of social content.”
When conducting your persona review you just might find your brand does not have any persona. Now is the time to add personas to your social media marketing regimen.
Every brand usually has several types of audience personas to target. If you don’t have personas, start with a template from xtensio or Hubspot.
Social PR Secret: Have a persona review with your team. Add insights, interests and more details to make each persona as real and authentic as possible.
Remember to have one of the personas represent your brand’s targeted journalists, reporters, and media influencers
9. Social Media Distribution & Publishing Assessment
Brand to self “I’ve created amazing social media content! The only problem is it’s not getting exposure, reach or results.”
Check to see the content channels and be sure the channels line up to your audience.
Consider additional distributions such as:
- Press releases.
- Guest posts.
Social PR Secret: Content distribution is a critical step in social media success. Many brands publish once and move on to the next piece of content. Guy Kawasaki’s famous advice when it comes to social media distribution is to publish, rinse, and repeat.
10. Visual Asset Audit Including Video
Today’s social media visual trend mix includes all of the following:
- Live video.
- Vertical video.
- Square images.
- Augmented reality content.
- Text overlay on images.
- Filtered images.
Match up today’s social media trends as to what is working and trending compared to your brand’s use of visuals.
Are you behind the times? Using last years famous trends?
Now is the time for a visual facelift to stay up to speed on what your audience is expecting and engaging in. Sift through the trends and compare your visuals with this checklist:
- Optimization (i.e., alt tags, titles, descriptions, playlists)
- Web/blog visuals
11. Dig Deep & Set up Accurate Tracking
When it comes to social media auditing you’ve got to be real. Social media is full of “fluffy” metrics, also commonly known as vanity metrics such as likes and comments. These metrics types don’t really tell us a whole lot of meaningful insights.
“If you’re looking to dig a bit deeper and correlate actual ROI and money being made because of your social media efforts you need to get nitty gritty when defining your goals and metrics on social,” said Ashley Ward, digital marketing strategist.
One of the best ways to track an actual purchase from a social media post is to do any of the following:
- Use UTM codes within your social media posts with shortened links to product pages
- Track the referral source in Google Analytics or SEMrush.
- Create a unique promo code that you only share on a social media network (make sure you use a unique one for each social media network so you can track which network gives you the most purchases).
Maybe purchases aren’t your thing and those 500 likes are really the gold mine for your business. That’s totally fine!
What’s important is defining a realistic goal, something actually measuring from social media and give yourself a realistic timeline to do so, said Ward.
12. Third Eye Chakra
Consider bringing in a third party outside source to review or facilitate a social media audit.
This independent insight can unlock fresh perspectives and ideas while also identifying problems and blocks your in-house team might not be able to see.
Get on the scale, see how your brand weighs in.
Keeping your social media marketing in a healthy state creates the most opportunity for audience retention and attention.
Scheduling social media check-ups twice a year gives brands a competitive advantage, no Fitbit required.
More Social Media Marketing Resources:
Featured Image: Unsplash
Screenshots taken by author, August 2018