It's no secret that businesses today should have some sort of social media strategy.

But all too often we see companies improvising with little or no plan.

And hey, we totally understand why it happens.

Perhaps you inherited your social presence from someone who was "winging it." Maybe you haven't had the time to sit down and really dig into what's working and what's not.

Either way, conducting a quick audit can let you know whether or not your social strategy aligns with your business' goals.

In this guide and with the help of our totally free social media audit template, you'll have all the answers you need in no time flat. If you're looking for something quicker, watch our step-by-step video guide on performing an in-depth social media audit.

What is a social media audit, anyway?

A social media audit is the process of reviewing your business' metrics to assess growth, opportunities and what can be done to improve your social presence.

Don't let the word "audit" freak you out, by the way. Social media audits aren't painstaking or tedious (or at least they don't have to be).

The good news is that our template does most of the heavy lifting in terms of what you need to measure: all you have to do is plug in the numbers.

Download Our Free Social Media Audit Template

And if you're using an analytics tool like Sprout, honing in on your most important metrics is a cinch.

Of course, we understand that different brands have different priorities. Feel free to customize your own social media audit template based on your needs, but be sure to include the following:

  • Profile information (name and URL)
  • Engagement metrics
  • Publishing metrics
  • Audience demographics
  • Referral traffic
  • Channel specific metrics

For any type of metric, you should include the percentage change from the previous month or year. Tracking year over year metrics is a good idea because it accounts 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 month over month comparison for January of the following year.

We also recommend conducting audits either monthly or quarterly for the sake of tracking big-picture trends while giving yourself an opportunity to make timely changes.

What do I need to do for my first social media audit?

Let's say you're conducting a social media audit for the first time. No sweat!

Below we've broken down the step-by-step process for your first audit, much of which can be rinsed and repeated next time you need to analyze your presence.

1. Wrangle all of your existing social media profiles

First thing's first: you're going to need to take inventory of your social profiles.

This might seem like a no-brainer, right? But also consider your social profiles beyond "big" networks like Facebook or Twitter. You know, like that YouTube account with two subscribers or the Pinterest profile you haven't touched in three years.

If there are networks you're no longer active on, you don't necessarily need to track them. Just make sure they're claimed and under your company's control. On the other hand, an audit might help you uncover opportunities that are a perfect fit for the unique features of networks you’ve been ignoring.

Our social media audit template has tabs for all the major networks, but it’s simple to add a new tab for any additional platforms you use. We also included a section in the summary tab to list all of your brand’s social profiles in one place.

Once you have all your current social profiles listed, the next step is deciding which platforms you want to focus on. Chances are you're aware of your priorities, but a proper social media audit can be an eye-opener in terms of which profiles are actually your top-performers.

As a quick aside, a tool like Sprout is helpful for keeping all of your social accounts and content consolidated.

sprout social smart inbox

2. Define specific goals for each network

To keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, it's important to zero in on your social media goals for each platform you're active on, including:

  • Increasing brand awareness
  • Generating more leads and sales
  • Increasing community engagement
  • Growing your audience (think: followers)
  • Increasing traffic to your site

For reference, here's an analysis of Instagram engagement in our social media audit template.

sample social media audit metrics

Not only will goal-setting help guide your presence, but also inform you of which metrics to track for each platform.

For example, you might be growing your Instagram followers faster than that of Facebook but the latter is resulting in more paying customers. When it comes to your metrics, the context of your goals matter.

Keep in mind that you don't have to fill in every single blank for your first social media audit!

Again, focus on the social media metrics that reflect your goals.

Download Our Free Social Media Audit Template

3. Make sure your branding, promotions and language are consistent

Consistent branding on social media is obviously important, but some details are easy to overlook.

As you audit your social presence, make a point to double-check that your profiles "match" when it comes to creatives, promotions and campaigns. This includes:

  • Bio and "About" language (when in doubt, refer to your style guide)
  • Profile and banner images
  • Destination URLs and landing pages
  • Hashtags

For example, brands like Skullcandy have consistent profiles from Twitter...

skullcandy twitter Facebook...

skullcandy facebook

... and Instagram, alike.

skullcandy instagram

See how that works?

If you don't run a ton of social-specific campaigns and are just trying to funnel traffic to your site, chances are not too much will change from audit to audit.

On the flip side, brands that run seasonal campaigns will need to regularly assess these details. For example, you should double-check that you aren't still running your holiday campaigns in mid-March.

Open up your social media analytics

Now that you know which profiles you're auditing and what metrics you're looking for, it's time to dig into the data.

Here is where you'll be able to identify whether you're hitting your targets or if there's room for improvement.

Note that a social media analytics tool like Sprout can really speed up the process of pulling your metrics, not to mention keep them all up-to-date in one place.

Sprout group report

In our template, we outline the recommended metrics to look at to identify your profiles' performance. This includes engagement, link clicks, shares, referral traffic, impressions and more.

We've also included notes in the spreadsheet that tell you exactly where in Sprout to find each metric to make your social media audit a bit easier.

Start a free trial of Sprout Social

Once you start entering in the data, it should be pretty obvious which channels are outperforming others, especially if you’ve been measuring your efforts already.

5. Identify your top-performing social media posts

Drilling down to individual posts can highlight which types of content you should be creating.

For example, does your audience adore video? Photos? Question-based posts?

Your native analytics for each platform can help you understand what any given piece of content is receiving in terms of:

  • Impressions (or views)
  • Engagements (comments, "Likes," shares, etc)
  • Reach

If you find sorting your posts by engagement to be too tedious, remember that Sprout Social can highlight top-performing posts in a matter of seconds.

social media sent message report

Additionally, our platform can quickly measure hashtag performance across your social profile to showcase which campaigns are resonating the most with followers.

sprout social hashtag analytics

Our template has sections to measure the performance of your publishing overall, as well as your individual top posts. If you want to go more granular, you can also categorize your top posts based on criteria including:

  • Videos
  • Promotional
  • Educational/information
  • Entertainment
  • 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.

6. Figure out how you're funneling your social media traffic.

No surprises here: it's important to measure the relationship between your social media presence and your website.

This will not only help you understand which posts result in legitimate interest from your audience but also which channels are the most valuable for generating leads.

You can find traffic numbers in Google Analytics under "Acquisition" (and then filter by "Social"). Alternatively, you can use Sprout Social to further highlight the correlation between your social followers and web traffic.

social media audit web traffic

7. Dig into your demographic data

From how you speak to your audience to prioritizing different content or platforms, demographic data matters.

For example, messaging for Gen Z and millennials versus Gen X and baby boomers is apples and oranges. As such, age and gender should be included as part of your social media audience.

Some networks such as Twitter and Facebook highlight this information, while Sprout’s Audience Demographics provides a high-level breakdown for all of your profiles.

social media demographic report

Ideally, your audience data should be similar across all your platforms. If not, you may want to reconsider your messaging and content strategy for outlying networks.

8. Assess opportunities from new social media platforms

Although not all of them necessarily stick around for the long-term, new social media platforms do pop up rather regularly.

For example, maybe you're not quite sold on TikTok but are still considering opportunities there. Good! Likewise, becoming an early adopter of new platforms can help you position yourself before your competitors.

In your social media audit spreadsheet, highlight new platforms you want to explore. If you’re using our template, there’s a section for this in the “Summary” tab.

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, no worries.

That said, it’s always a good idea to stay on top of new and emerging social media trends.

9. Come up with new objectives and action items

At this point, your spreadsheet should be mostly filled out. Now what?

Remember that the purpose of a social media audit is to give you a better understanding of where you are currently and to make plans for the future.

Whether it’s growing your followers on a certain channel, getting more engagement or broadening your audience, you have everything you need to make more informed decisions.

In order to help make your social media assessment more actionable, we included a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis section for each network in the template. You can use this area to add some high-level analysis based on all the data you collect from your audit.

Or to go a step further, conduct a full-blown SWOT analysis after your social media audit to highlight your business' most pressing opportunities.

Ready to conduct your first social media audit?

If you want to improve your performance via social media, you need to get knee-deep in data.

And conducting a social audit is the perfect way to do exactly that. After reading our breakdown, hopefully you're inspired to dive into your numbers.

Download our free social media audit template to get started!

To get access to your social metrics all in one place and make every social media audit easier, test out Sprout’s capabilities with a free trial.