A social media audit is an all-important aspect of your social strategy.
It helps you uncover opportunities and wrong moves that you're making in your social campaigns.
A social media audit can be a difficult project for a new company if they don't want to bring in outside consultants – after all, to what standard do you hold the ever-shifting world of social media?
The best audits seek to understand exactly what the business needs from social media, then study how close it is to meeting those goals. Successful audits will include these steps:
The first step is to determine the questions you should be asking. Psychographic research should be the very first step when working on a social media audit.
Understanding more than your audience’s demographics will help you gain empathy and knowledge of your target audience that will be relevant and impactful. Some of the information you should gather includes:
What platforms do they spend most of their time on? Do they play in Pinterest? Share images on Instagram? Talk about their lives on Facebook?
What content will move them? Do they like to read inspirational quotes? News articles? Funny videos?
When are they online? Do they go online during work? After work? In the morning during commute time?
Who are the influencers? Of your audience, who has large engaged audiences that can help to propagate your message?
Demographic data tells you so very little. Psychographic data can help you create comprehensive buyer personas which can be factored into your social media strategy.
Once you understand your buyer personas, you can make sure you are delivering content that will appeal to each of these audiences.
It's important to choose the right data management tools for this process. Most of the robust social media platforms can be quite expensive.
If your company doesn’t have the budget, you may need to gather the data and create formulas to review and process all the data by hand. There are inexpensive tools, such as TrueSocialMetrics, that can help you get the job done. Research extensively before you start in order to have the best tools ready to perform your audit.
Examine Your Goals
What does your company and brand need out of social media?
Just wanting to "do better" is nothing to base a plan on. A proper audit needs proper goals to work, which means creating real goals in the form of more social media accounts, sales, conversions, percentages, numbers of new customers, deals utilized…you get the idea here.
Analyzing the process of leveraging conversations to drive sales is important to clarify so this can be a part of your audit. There are more intangible goals as well, such as improving brand recognition, but you still need a way to measure success here.
Now that you have a better understanding of your audience’s psychographic profile, your campaign goals, and tools to be used, the next step in performing an audit is identifying and analyzing your competitor’s strategy.
Competitive analysis can be incredibly helpful in formulating and fine-tuning your own strategy.
What type of content are they creating that is resonating with their followers? What is their engagement, conversation, and amplification rate? Are their social profiles unified?
Using a tool like TrueSocialMetrics, you can analyze your competitor’s social content to see what content has the most resonance with the idea.
Understanding what works and what doesn’t will help you know what to emulate and what to avoid. Of course your goal should always be to perform better than competitors, but the first step is to perform an in-depth analysis first.
Analyze Your Current Activities and Perform Gap Analysis
Now it’s time to analyze your current presence on social media. Where are you active? How often are you posting? How many new customers or conversions are your efforts bringing in? How branded are your social profiles?
Using the same analysis that you followed with competitors, analyze your own social profiles.
Is your audience engaged? If so, what causes them to take action? Be thorough; to perform a powerful social media audit, you need to go beyond the metrics offered by the social media sites.
Check your Google analytics to analyze what types of actions do your visitors from social media take on your site. How much time do they spend reading your content? How many pages do they visit? Do they convert?
After this research, it should be easy to do some simple gap analysis that shows how much work you need in each area to meet your goals.
Understanding Social Signals
You should ideally examine social signals while performing gap analysis, but this is such an important and complex part of the audit that it deserves its own heading.
A social signal is any social action that consumers can take, from liking and sharing to making a comment or entering a social contest.
While signals are not directly connected with sales, they are a major influence and provide vital data on your social media ROI. Track them!
The easiest way to track social signals is to create a simple spreadsheet where you can look at your social content for the last few months. Add a column for total posts, likes, shares, and comments.
Then, you can do a simple formula that divides total posts by likes, shares, and comments. This will give you your conversation, amplification, and engagement ratios.
Once you have these numbers, you can track over time to see how your social content is performing. If your numbers aren’t continuously increasing, you need to reanalyze your efforts and keep tweaking until you maximize your engagement ratios.
Check Out Your Profile Data
How do your social media profiles look? Do your profiles present a unified front? Is your brand consistent against social profiles, or are all of your social profiles different and disjointed?
Between the many different sites and networks you are probably juggling lots of profiles, so it's ideal to create a standard template with important descriptions and keywords that can be plugged into any profile.
If you are not yet present in a social channel, this is the time to sign up and start creating unified, branded profiles.
The audit should also take a look at what customers want. Creating online surveys is quick and easy these days (Survey Monkey is particularly popular).
Send an email to your customers to see how customers prefer to access your content, and what social media sites they use. Remember to consider your target audience carefully and think about exactly what they want.
Study Specific Best Practices
Don’t hesitate to look outside of your field.
Experts in social media marketing are continuously sharing studies and findings based on their own experience and analysis. Create a reading list on Feedly for both social media marketers, and competitor sites so you can stay abreast of relevant news.
All of the primary social media sites are constantly rolling out new features, so it’s important to understand what’s out there and how you can maximize it.
Create a Plan to Bridge the Gap
With best practices, customer opinions, and competitor tactics known, you are ready to deal with the gap in your social media and get where you want to go.
Your plan should be comprehensive and include several aspects:
How often should you post?
What is the best time to post?
What type of content resonates most with your audience?
What types of images engage your audience?
Is your audience interested in watching videos?
Do they want emotional, news, inspirational, or funny content?
Are they interested in hearing about special offers and promotions?
What moves them to act?
How can you get your social audience to perform your desired call to action?
In reality, your social strategy will simply be an answer to all of these primary questions.
Remember to conduct additional audits over time to make sure you continue to meet your goals. The playing field constantly changes, and only be conducting ongoing social media audits can you guarantee to stay ahead of the curve.
Adapting and Advancing
When you're using a social media strategy to scale, sometimes defeats will lead to the abandonment of a certain segment of the strategy that wasn’t working.
More often than not, your intended use of a portion of the overall strategy might prove to be something different than what it was originally planned to be.
For instance, If it becomes apparent that your Twitter feed is becoming a popular place for customer service, don’t fight the matter if you primary goal is to share high quality content. Embrace the audience engagement, and adapt your strategy accordingly.
Creating and using a concerted social media strategy usually boils down to one thing: your audience's interest.
Creating valuable and unique piece of content, sharing that of others, and increasing company awareness is given a top priority in the organisational social media goals, it's also an integral part of an effective social strategy.
When it's all over, content that adds value to others will always win.
Creating and implementing a social media strategy can seem like a daunting task, if only because it seems like such an overwhelming process.
The harsh truth really, is that social media success boils down to creating unique and interesting content, sharing others’ content, and increasing company awareness.