7 Steps for a Successful Social Media Audit

07/20/2017 09:20 am ET

By Brett Farmiloe

Measuring the value of social media is one of the toughest challenges marketers and business owners face. What does all the boosting, posting, liking, commenting, and following really do for your business?

Conducting a social media audit helps you answer the tough questions surrounding your activity on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat. By analyzing activity, a company can make adjustments to evaluate the benefits and improve their social media marketing performance. In this article, I’ll share core components we evaluate in a social media audit, what we look for, and how this insight can help you move your brand forward online.

Competitor Research

Analyzing competitor social media activity can be enlightening. What platforms have competitors established themselves on? What are they posting about? Do they appear to be successful? And most importantly, what platforms are they not using that can work to your competitive advantage?

Start a social media audit by creating a chart that lists measurable data points, such as the number of followers and posts per platform. List five competitors and compare them side by side with your social media data. Who is the clear leader? What can your business incorporate into its social media strategy that other competitors are doing? How can you be better? By taking a good look at competitors, you can establish clear growth goals for your accounts and advance your social media strategy.

Out-of-Industry Inspiration

Brands do innovative things on social media. Most of the time, they find inspiration outside of their industry. Every social media audit should look for inspiration in unusual places to advance your social media efforts. This could be something as small as emoji incorporation or something as big as a full-blown contest giveaway offering a trip to Tonga. Take note of what’s happening online, and see how you can channel your brand inspiration into brand innovation.

What are people saying about your brand online? What are industry influencers sharing in their feeds? How can you incorporate your brand into the conversation? Social media is a two-way street. Instead of fixating on what content you think your brand should share, focus first on the conversation already taking place.

Customer Habits

Where are your customers online? Which platforms are you effectively reaching these customers? Social media advertising platforms lend insight into how many customers match your target demographic data. Plug in the characteristics of your target persona to a self-serve Facebook ad platform and see how many people you can potentially reach.

When are your customers online? What are the most popular times, and when do people want to engage with your brand? If you’re a frozen yogurt company, chances are people want to engage with you at 7 p.m. – not 7 a.m. If you’re marketing to CEOs, chances are they want to engage with you at 7 a.m., not 2 p.m. Learn about when your customers are online by looking at the analytics tools available on social media platforms. Also, be sure to take a look at your email marketing efforts to determine what times of the day you receive maximum engagement.

Social Advertising

Do you have an email list? If so, uploading your list to Facebook and Twitter to match user IDs to an email address is a great way to target your advertising. Additional forms of social media advertising include retargeting, lookalike audience ads, paid influencer promotion, and running campaigns to people who match your target audience. What forms of advertising are you engaged in, and which of these types of campaigns could work for your company?

Community Building

Community is the heart and soul of your company and the conduit by which fans engage and support your brand. Where does your community interact with your content? Where do you interact the most with your community? Initiate the engagement by boosting posts, producing content followers want to see, and interacting with the community both on social and offline.

Tone and Voice

The tone and voice of your brand on social media should be extensions of your company mission. The copy should reflect the words on your website, and pique the interest of someone following your page, and inspire them to take action. When in doubt about whether the copy is considered “good,” see if a status update moves a reader to take action on your mission.

Are your social media images primarily thumbnails from shared articles, or is your team creating original, engaging images that mirror the imagery on your website? Image is everything on a platform like Instagram. When someone visits your Instagram profile page, what are your images saying about your brand? Are they saying you’re in touch with your consumer base or are they emitting an entirely different message?

Frequency and Automation 

How often are you posting content on each platform? Has it been two years since you last posted something on LinkedIn, and only two hours since you last posted on Facebook? Determining the right frequency on each platform is tough. Focus on posting content when you believe that content will have a positive impact on the people following your accounts.

How can you maximize your resources to automate daily social media tasks? Do you use a social media scheduler and a social media monitoring tool to help free up some of your time? Understanding how to make a social media manager’s life easier is a critical part of an audit. The less the manager has on their plate, the higher quality of work they can execute.

The most overlooked portion of an audit is taking action on recommendations. There is a tendency to piece together a nice presentation, and then completely lack follow-through. Organize your audit recommendations into “high,” “medium” and “low” priority items. Assign a target date to complete each recommendation. Then, enjoy executing a buttoned-up social media strategy.

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Brett Farmiloe is the founder & CEO of a digital marketing company that moves small businesses forward online.

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