We’ve discussed the importance of creating a social media strategy before. Having a clear plan for how your business will use channels like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter significantly increases your chances of success.
After you start implementing your strategy, you need a way to follow up and make sure everything is going as planned. The best way to do that is with a social media audit.
What is a Social Media Audit?
Most people don’t look forward to audits. When’s the last time you were excited to get a letter from the IRS about issues with your tax return? However, not all audits are bad.
A social media audit is the process of reviewing what’s working, what’s failing and what can be improved upon across your social media channels.
Yes, there are spreadsheets involved. And yes, you will have to get detailed. But it’s nowhere near as bad as you think. And with all the social media analytics tools available to help you, it’s pretty simple. On top of that, you only have to do a social media audit monthly, or even quarterly in some cases. As you start to get into the habit of completing audits, each one will become easier.
Whether you’ve never done a social media audit before or are unsure if you did it right, we’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you need to perform a successful social media audit.
Create a Social Media Audit Template
As we mentioned earlier, you’re going to need a spreadsheet to stay organized. No matter how well you can go off your memory, you cannot do a social media audit in your head. Plus, your audits need to be accessible for everyone on your team as well as having data to be able to track and compare down the road.
There are a lot of social media audit templates online. If you decide to use one, keep in mind that they’re just guides. Don’t feel obligated to limit yourself to the columns and rows in the template. Customize it to fit your needs.
Here’s a brief overview of the basics you should include in your social media audit checklist:
- Profile information (name and URL)
- Posting frequency
- Follower count
- Referral traffic
- Channel specific metrics
For any type of metric, you should include the percentage change from the previous month and the previous year. The problem with only comparing your numbers from the previous month is it doesn’t account for seasonal changes. For instance, retail stores usually see a big influx in social media activity during November and December, so it can skew the comparison for January of the following year.
Another tip is to create one “hub” tab on your spreadsheet, then a tab for each individual social media channel instead of having them all on one. Not every social media channel has the same metrics, so it’s easier to just break them up. For instance, one of the things you’ll measure for Twitter is your number of Retweets. Pinterest and Facebook don’t have Retweets, so those columns would be pointless.
Now that you have the base of your template ready, let’s dive into the nitty gritty.
Find Your Best & Worst Social Channels
Nothing is worse for a social media marketer than wasting time on a platform that isn’t producing any results. No matter how popular Snapchat may get, it doesn’t mean anything if it’s not performing well for your business.
Do a complete review of every social media profile you have, not just the big four (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn). Did you create a Tumblr five years ago that you forgot about? Is there an old YouTube channel floating around with 15 subscribers?
You can use a tool like Namechk or Knowem to find existing social media profiles. Only pay attention to the channels where you’re interested. You’ll notice a lot of platforms that probably aren’t of any use to you, so you’ll have to sort through each network.
In order to determine which profiles are the best and worst performers, you’ll have to look at:
- Referral traffic
It should be pretty obvious which channels are outperforming others, especially if you’re staying on top of your social media measurement. You can also take note of your posting frequency to see how active you are on each channel. The goal is to find which platforms produce the best results so that you can focus in on those.
Also, you’ll be able to see what platforms grew, which networks have potential and require more time and effort.
Identify Top Performing Social Media Posts
This step will improve your social media content strategy. If your posts aren’t engaging and resonating with your followers, you won’t succeed. Use your audit to review the content you’ve shared and identify which posts had the biggest impact.
For platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular networks, you can use Sprout Social to quickly figure out which posts received the most engagement.
For others like Snapchat and Vine, there are alternative options to track your content’s performance. For instance, with Snapchat you can track engagement manually with a spreadsheet.
Include the metrics of each post such as Retweets, Repins and likes.
If you want to go a bit more in-depth, you can categorize your top posts.
- Rich media (images and gifs)
This will give you a clear picture of exactly which type of content is working on each channel. From there it’s just a matter of fitting more of that type of successful content into next month’s social media calendar.
Identify Your Site’s Most Shared Content
Now it’s time to look at the content on your website. If you do content audits, then you can probably pull this information from there. All we need to know is which posts are getting the most social shares, and break it down per network.
An easy way to get this data is using a tool like BuzzSumo.
In the Content Research tab, enter your domain name. Make sure you filter the results to only show the last 30 days. Then you can click the column of each social channel to see the most shared content on each network.
Depending on how often you publish content to your blog, you’ll want to copy the URLs of the top 10-20 posts for each network into your spreadsheet.
You’ll also want to find out which social networks drive the most traffic to your website. You can find this in Google Analytics under Acquisition.
This data will help you understand what type of content your audience shares the most, so you can create more of it.
Check Your Branding
Your brand should be immediately recognizable across all of your social media profiles. When there’s a disconnect between your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles, it’s difficult for customers and followers to determine which profiles are official, or if they’re even following the right company.
Consistency is crucial.
If you notice your social media graphics are inconsistent, you can use Landscape to create profile and cover photos for all your accounts using a single image.
Your graphics aren’t the only thing you need to check. Look through your bios and URLs. Every bio doesn’t have to be identical, but they should have consistent messaging.
For example, BellyCard has a different bio for every social network, but they all push the same messageA fun and easy to use rewards card and app.
In your social media audit spreadsheet, create a column for each of your bios.
Lastly, you should take a look at the URL you’re using for each profile. It may seem pointless, but small details like this are easy to overlook. For instance, you may have changed the URL in your Instagram bio to promote a special campaign. After that campaign is over, you need to change the URL again so people don’t get confused or think you’re still running an old contest or promotion.
Define Your Audience
When you first started your social media marketing strategy, you probably had an idea of who you wanted to target. However, sometimes the people that end up following and engaging with you will be completely different than what you expected. Your audit shouldn’t focus so much on who you want to target, but who’s actually following you.
You can get this data a variety of ways. Some networks such as Twitter and Facebook give you information about your audience. You can also use Sprout’s Audience Demographic report to see who’s following you on Twitter.
Include a general description of your audience on each social network in your spreadsheet. For instance, Women between the ages of 20-35.
Explore New Social Media Platforms
New social media channels pop up all the time. You shouldn’t jump on every new app you hear about, but you need to at least be aware of what’s out there. Occasionally you’ll find a golden opportunity to become an early adopter and get a head start on the competition.
In your social media audit spreadsheet, highlight new platforms you want to explore. Keep in mind that this isn’t a necessity. If you’re already focused on a few networks or don’t find any new platforms that interest you at the moment, don’t force it.
Calculate Your Monthly ROI
We’ve talked about social media ROI in several different articles. The reason this is so important is because most brands don’t measure it. As a result, they end up spending time and money on activities that aren’t delivering any value, and probably never will. Additionally, several businesses can have pretty strict budgets when it comes to social media.
However, you shouldn’t let that change your auditing. In fact, with Sprout’s presentation-ready reporting, you can easily show demographics, trends and other critical engagement analytics that shows your social media is worth the investment.
Read our guide on social media ROI to learn more.
Create New Objectives & Goals
With all of this data in front of you, the next question is how do you put it to use? The point of a social media audit is to give you a better understanding of where you are currently and to make plans for the future.
Use all the information you gather to create new objectives and goals for the month. Whether it’s growing your followers on a certain channel, getting more engagement or broadening your audience, you have all the data you need to make informed decisions on how to reach your new goals with the right social media analytics tools.
What’s on your social media audit checklist? Leave a comment and let us know!