Chances are you’re already using social media as a tool for marketing your business, but are you performing social media audits as well? Conducting an audit will allow you to see a thorough view of your performance across all of your social channels. In this article we will dive into what a social media audit is, why it matters and how to get started with one!
What Is A Social Media Audit?
A social media audit is defined by Sprout Social as “the process of reviewing your business’ metrics to assess growth, opportunities and what can be done to improve your social presence.” In simplest terms, it is most helpful for identifying the areas in which you have been successful or unsuccessful in your posting. It also allows you to view your social media data across all platforms in one place. Keep in mind, success looks different across the board depending on your company and its set goals and objectives.
The purpose of putting all the data side-by-side is to allow you to measure the effectiveness of
your content and strategy as each platform relates to one another. Seeing all info in one place is a powerful way to analyze the effectiveness of your content and your tactics.
Social Media Metrics
If your current strategy is posting to your socials and using “likes” and comments as an indicator of progress, you should also try to consider the overall growth of your platforms and business, as well as lead generation and return on investments. Although post engagement is great for seeing positive customer perceptions of your posts, it’s better for your strategy in the long run if you have an in-depth understanding of what is working and what isn’t.
You can use data and analytics to take your strategy to the next level. That’s where social media metrics come in. On business profiles, most applications collect analytics data on its own, but it’s up to you to gather the information from all your socials and draw conclusions from it in a meaningful way. Hootsuite put together few broad examples of social media metrics that you might try to analyze:
- Awareness – Measures the attention your brand receives across all platforms, how quickly you grow your following, how many people have seen a given post and the potential percentage of views from people within your network.
- Engagement – Collects data on the number of likes, comments and shares from visitors.
- Conversion – Measures effectiveness of your posts by the number of people who take action on your website from a link.
- Consumer – A reflection of customer feelings about your brand, from a review, for instance.
Note that this list is a brief, incomplete overview of the social media metrics you can gather from an audit.
Why Does A Social Media Audit Matter?
Everyone’s marketing strategy varies by specific goals and objectives that inform how they post to their social media channels, but how do you know if your strategy is working? Is your content appropriate for your audience? Is your audience responding? Conducting an audit is the best way to answer these questions. There are many areas of a social media strategy that benefit from an audit. Below you will find four takes on the advantages of performing a social media audit.
- You’ll discover what’s working and what isn’t.
As mentioned before, identifying top-performing posts will reveal what your audience is resonating with the most. This information might show you what offers the most value to your visitors, in turn encouraging you to produce more content that is similar. For instance, if you notice that video content receives a higher engagement rate, you would want to try producing more video content to see if it performs just as well over time. Learning what your audience enjoys the most and adapting your strategy to provide the most value to your customers is important for building a strong brand, growing your following over time and increasing your brand’s credibility.
A social media audit will also give you the ability to analyze performances across all platforms. Perhaps you’re not receiving any engagement or growth on a certain channel. This could indicate that you need to try posting a different type of content on that platform or you could deem that platform as a misuse of current resources.
These insights are valuable for many reasons. Social media marketing strategies take time and money to function, and the goal is that they function well and towards your set intentions. Learning areas of strength and weakness will inform your social media marketing efforts to aid in your overall efficiency.
- You’ll build your brand’s credibility.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important that your branding, user handle, profile image and voice are consistent across all your social media channels. A social media audit will reveal these types of inconsistencies. Unless these inconsistencies are strategic, you will want to correct them. Regularity and uniformity on social media are beneficial for many reasons. For one, it’s a simple and easy method to help users locate your social media profiles. It’s not likely that a spectator would go searching for your company profile if it wasn’t easy to find, and who wants to miss out on a follower or potential customer?
It also improves your brand recognition, in turn crafting your overall image as reliable, credible and organized. These characteristics are obviously powerful in distinguishing you from your competitors as well. Another perk of consistency is that it gradually increases your engagement over time, grows trust among your followers and fosters stronger relationships with them.
- You’ll understand your audiences better.
One feature of analytics is the ability to view demographic data. Demographic data allows you to see certain characteristics of your following such as age, gender, location and when a user is the most active on the application. This type of insight will help you better cater to your audience and create more relevant content for them.
Strategically posting on the days of the week and times that your followers are active gives your content a better chance at being seen. The algorithms on certain platforms and the massive amount of content being posted every day lessen your odds of being a priority in people’s feeds. Don’t let your post get buried too deeply – use data to post at the most opportune moment.
Distinctions such as age across platforms can also inform your strategy. If you find that a younger age bracket is viewing and interacting with content on a specific platform, you might want to tailor your content to that younger audience. It’s possible you find that a younger audience is associating with your brand so much that you consider exploring a platform you don’t currently have. A social channel such as TikTok may not have been on your radar before, but you could be missing out on a new avenue of growth.
Understanding your audience is an enormous factor in social media success, and conducting a social media audit can result in getting a fuller picture of who your target audience is and what they want from your brand.
- You’ll have the information you need to set up specific goals and objectives.
Goals are a key component of a worthwhile social media audit. Whether you already had specific goals at the start of your audit or not, the information you collect from an audit will allow you to make educated adjustments to existing goals or form new ones. Hootsuite wrote an article that highlights what types of social media goals exist and how you can incorporate them into your marketing strategy. The top four common social media goals for many businesses are to:
- Build brand awareness
- Manage brand reputation
- Build and manage an engaged community
- Increase conversions and sales
Once you have thoughtfully finished goal setting, develop or adjust your social media strategy to align with those goals. If you are investing money in ad spend, you’ll have the opportunity to clearly identify areas of weakness that require revision.
When Should You Conduct A Social Media Audit?
Different companies have their own opinions on when you should perform an audit. Some recommend monthly, quarterly or yearly. Ultimately, it depends on your business goals and objectives. Doing monthly audits of your social media allows you to trace changes immediately. Hootsuite proposes this method because, “over time, this will allow you to spot regular seasonal variations, which also makes it easier to spot any unusual changes in real time.”
How To Get Started With Your Social Media Audit.
The simplest way to begin conducting a social media audit is checking your social channels for branding consistency. Start this by making sure your display photos use the same image or logo, and the content and language used on your social media adheres to your brand guidelines and generally matches from platform to platform. In addition, you’ll want your links and biographies to be consistent too. Spend some time focusing on a biography that is effective. Check out this article from Zoho for thirteen strategies for writing a great company bio on social media.
Going beyond branding elements, applications like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube have analytics tools built in for you. Alternatively, you can begin a spreadsheet and record your findings or explore tools that will help you collect and combine the data you need, such as Google Analytics. Hootsuite suggests that if you’re just starting out with social media, an audit might not be completely necessary quite yet, but understanding the process will help you set up a framework to monitor the data on a weekly or monthly basis, which will help you save time in the long run. If you’re interested in executing a quick and simple audit, try Buffer’s 15-minute social media audit, or a free audit template provided by Sprout Social or Hootsuite. Eventually you’ll discover a method that works best for you and conducting an audit will be quick and effortless.
Collecting and analyzing a high volume of data might feel intimidating at first, but it’s a useful and powerful way to inform your social media strategy and bring success in many forms. With the ubiquity of social media, a social media audit matters because recognizing patterns and acting accordingly will build your brand’s strength. Even tasks as simple as ensuring consistency in your branding elements can make a world of difference to your audience. In time, understanding the data of your social channels will help you make informed decisions regarding your delegation of resources and adjust your strategy for success.
Social media is an undeniably effective business tool and an audit is the most efficient and effective way to understand your social media presence and work toward the highest success of your channels.