The word audit brings thoughts of taxes and the IRS and generally has a negative connotation. But, audits can be a useful tool for your business, and not just concerning finances. Have you ever conducted a social media audit? It’s a simple review of the important aspects of your social media strategy and its effectiveness. Don’t fret; following the steps below will allow you to conduct a social media audit in as little as 15 minutes.
Document all Your Social Media Profiles
Where can you be found online? You may be able to list your major social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+), but what about others? Did you create an Instagram or YouTube channel on a whim and never really do anything with them? How about Pinterest? Or Quora? Or Tumblr? Perform a general search for your brand on all the major networks to discover any fake or unofficial accounts. You may be surprised at what may be out there.
As you examine each of your profiles, create a spreadsheet and record the following elements of each account:
- The social media platform
- The URL
- Your profile name and description
- Your number of fans or followers
- The date of your last activity
With this list of all your total accounts, consider whether your presence on those networks is purposeful. Ask yourself some of these questions:
- Why am I using this social media account?
- Why do I want to use it?
- What are my goals for this social media platform?
- Are my target markets using it?
- Am I using this social account regularly?
If you cannot provide a definite answer to these questions, consider whether you should be using it at all or if you need to delete the account and focus your time and efforts in a more profitable area.
Check for Consistency
Checking to see that all your profiles have been completely filled out. Social media networks offer lots of customization options, and it’s easy to miss one or more areas. Open the customization settings on each social network and make sure all text, images, and other options are optimized. It’s also important to ensure that your branding is consistent across all your social networks.
While consistency is important so users can locate your brand with ease, each social network offers its own personality. These differing personalities may beg a different look or feel. If this is the case, consistency isn’t as important as making sure the tone of your profile is right for the network. Think environment first and consistency second.
Examine Your Goals and Metrics
How each social media account performs is an area of top interest. For each business there will be certain things that register more importance than others, but generally, the following items are important to measure and record:
- Followers and fans. How has your audience grown over time?
- Posting frequency. How often you post? How does that relate to how your audience grows?
- How many conversations do you have each week? Engagement also includes direct contact, retweets, likes, +1s, and reshares.
Organize this information into your spreadsheet so you can see if your profiles are performing the way you desire. How do these numbers compare to where you were a year ago, or even two years ago? Many social media measurement tools will go back this far automatically, so you get these numbers with ease. In this audit, document the important metrics to create a baseline for the next time you perform an audit.
Determine New Goals
An audit isn’t just about information. It’s about gathering data in order to measure performance with a view toward making improvements. Now that you have metrics that show performance, the next step is to set new performance goals and make a plan of action. Here are some suggested measureable goals:
- Follower/Fan Growth – Tracking this is basically recording how many followers you have today and checking again in a month of two to see how many have been added. Some tools allow an analysis with greater insights and provide basic growth stats for the more elusive networks.
- Increased Engagement– This metric looks different from platform to platform. For example, Twitter engagement could mean direct conversations or tweets that include your handle anywhere but at the beginning. Retweets also factor into Twitter engagement. Tools make engagement over various profiles much easier to record, measure, and understand, but they are not absolutely necessary.
- Content by Type– Which types of content perform best? Different social networks will do better with different types of content—text, links, photos, videos, etc. The type of content that promotes engagement on Facebook may not have the same effect on Instagram or Pinterest followers.
Along with follower growth, engagement, and content, here are five additional goals you may choose to focus on:
- Referral traffic from social
- Click rate on your social shares
- Your fanpage reach
- Your Twitter followers
- Your social influence score
Your audit should include immediate action plans. You may decide to update your social background images or shift your focus to a network where more of your target market engages. The important thing is to make improvements across each platform as you are able and monitor the metrics to determine if your changes have improved your social reach.
Have you ever performed a social media audit? What did you learn? Is it a regular part of your business performance plan? I’d love to hear your experience and thoughts in the comments! Share your process or suggestions with us and let our readers benefit from your experiences.