Unless you have the brain of an accountant or tax advisor, you probably cringe when you see the word audit. Traditionally, audits are performed on accounts and can involve having to answer numerous tricky questions – feeling guilty even when you haven’t done anything wrong. However, not all audits include a visit from the IRS, and not all audits should have you quivering with fear.
If you’re a busy manager, you might wonder whether it's worthwhile carrying out a social media audit – it certainly isn’t the most glamorous part of either marketing or management. But if you want social media to function correctly for your firm, it’s one of those tasks that must be done.
When it comes down to it, why is your firm devoting precious time and resources to social media? There must be some reason for it. You need to be working towards some goals. And if you aren’t meeting your goals, merely operating social media for the sake of it, then perhaps your organization should possibly be doing things differently.
Not everybody uses the same social media accounts. You could try and have a presence on every social media channel – but that is a significant commitment, and probably a waste of resources. The better alternative is to ensure that your brand has a presence on the same social accounts as its target audience. This is one of the fundamental tenets of a social media audit.
How to Perform a Social Media Audit:
What is a Social Media Audit?
A social media audit is a process you go through when you hunt down all your organization’s social media channels, compiling as much information as you can about them. From that, you can check you are operating on the best social channels for your brand, and that you are running each account effectively. It also gives you a chance to find and ring-fence any old or unofficial social channels bearing your name.
When you carry out your social media audit, you effectively check how successful you have been at meeting your social media goals, and then determine how you could change your strategy to lead to improved results.
There are differing opinions on how often you should carry our your social media audit. One possibility is that you carry out a full-scale audit at the same time each year, but you take a close look at your social performance each month. Your annual review looks at all your accounts in detail, including an analysis of whether you should be on a platform at all. Your monthly review simply looks at the analytics relating to the content you share each month, helping you decide which posts work versus those that are less successful.
If you are into influencer marketing, you could expand your analysis to include the effectiveness of posts made on your behalf by influencers.
How to Conduct Your Social Media Audit
Create a Spreadsheet for Your Audit
You are going to have to collect a quantity of data for this job. Much of the data will be numerical, so it makes sense that you use a spreadsheet for this purpose.
It is up to you whether you use Excel or Google Sheets – use whichever product is the norm for your organization.
We have included a suggested template you can use. Feel free to modify this to meet your organization’s needs better. Either make a copy of the spreadsheet in your own Google Drive or download it as a .exe file and open it in Excel.
Search for All of Your Existing Social Media Accounts
You are going want to analyze all your organization’s existing social accounts – even the ones you may have started up but then abandoned. The first time you carry out this social media audit, you should also do a deliberate search for social accounts that previous employees may have created and are no longer used.
Record all your social network usernames and URLs in your spreadsheet. At this point, don’t worry about recording your passwords in your spreadsheet.
Next, record the person who currently has responsibility for operating each account. This may be the same person for all of them or different people for individual accounts – all depending on how your organization runs its social media. You may choose to change this later, once you’ve evaluated your accounts.
It might take some searching to find any old social accounts. Begin with a Google search for your company name and chief products. Take note of any social accounts that appear in the search. Record any that seem to belong to your company but aren’t currently active and already in your spreadsheet. You might find some run independently by other sections of your organization that you would prefer to bring under your central umbrella.
If you find accounts that clearly aren’t official accounts of yours, you need to determine whether they are “imposter accounts” connected to your business or whether they relate to a completely different organization.
Once you’ve searched Google, do a similar search within each social network (including those where you aren’t currently represented - as far as you know).
If you pay for social listening software, check there for “fake” social accounts. Make this a regular practice, whenever you check your social listening software.
If you find any unowned accounts add them to your spreadsheet, beneath your official accounts. Contact each account holder directly, making it clear that you don’t want unofficial accounts. You may find some fan accounts, which should be acceptable if the account holders make it clear to visitors that they aren’t an official account holder. You may have to contact the social networks directly if you can’t reach an agreement.
Use Analytics to Evaluate Your Social Performance
You will find a differing array of analytics for each of your social networks. For the purposes of this post, we are relying solely on the information provided by the social channels. However, many other tools and apps provide additional analytics. We have written many articles previously looking at possible tools, including Top 10 Social Media Analytics Tools That Will Add Value to Your Marketing Efforts.
Define and Evaluate Your Best Posts
You will find that some of your posts will have been more successful than others. Take each of your social accounts in turn and look for your three best posts. The easiest way to decide this is by looking at your engagement data. Record links for these in your spreadsheet.
The exact terms will depend to some extent on the social network. For instance, your Facebook Analytics shows you an individual total for Post Engagements, that you can use to determine your best posts. In other cases, you may have to add together individual figures to get your number of engagements. You could look at engagement as being:
- Facebook: Organic Likes, Paid Likes, Mentions, Impressions, Post Engagements, Links Clicked, Reactions, Comments, and Shares.
- Twitter: Organic Impressions, Links Clicked, Mentions, Direct Messages, Retweets, Replies, and Likes.
- Instagram: Likes Received (Including Live and Stories), Comments, Engagement per Media, and Most Engaged Hashtags.
- LinkedIn: Impressions, Clicks, Likes, Comments, and Shares.
Look for any trends here. What types of post lead to your best engagement figures? This will give you a good idea of the kinds of posts you should create more of in the future.
Calculate engagement rates with: Engagement rate = total engagements / by number of followers x 100.
Note that you will need to set up Business Profiles if you want to get this data from Instagram or Pinterest.
Ensure Each Profile Reflects Your Brand
You want each of your social accounts to appear professional and accurately depict your brand. The degree of formality will very much depend on your target audience. There are simple things you can do to add to your brand’s consistency:
- Ensure your brand name is used correctly and consistently on each channel. Make sure that it’s spelled correctly
- Ideally, you should have the same username on each network (with a suitable vanity URL where possible), along with the same pictures used as your profile and cover photos. Ensure that each account has correctly proportioned images. The preferred image sizes differ for each social network, but they all should have a similar look.
- There are times where you may have set up multiple social accounts on a social network for different purposes. Obviously, they won’t have the same username. However, make sure that the naming is consistent, logical, and fits in with the rest of your social accounts.
- If you use video, make sure that you use the correct orientation for each network, I.e., use horizontal-format videos on the networks that prefer it (e.g., YouTube and Facebook), and vertical videos on channels who use that (e.g., IGTV, Snapchat)
- Ensure that you are using your preferred brand colors (including exact RGB or Pantone shade where necessary)
- Verify any accounts that are still awaiting you to do so
- Fill in bios appropriately, using language suitable to your target audience (but which meets social media network guidelines). Ensure that your profiles include all your essential details
- Make sure you’ve included links through to your website, and that they work. Some social channels, such as Instagram, don’t give you many options with links, so you have a link leading to a specific landing page for your current campaign, rather than your website’s homepage.
- If you have pinned posts, are they still the best posts to feature at the top of your page?
Who are You Reaching Through Each Network?
For you to be able to measure your social media success, you need to know who you are targeting with each of your social accounts. This should tie in your overall business marketing goals. You will want to know who you are hoping to attract as customers to your business.
Ideally, you want the people who follow you on social media to have the same demographics and psychographics as your target customers. So, for example, if you sell stair lifts that help the elderly remain mobile in their home, you will have little reason to use a Snapchat account.
Which Channels are Best for Your Brand?
Take a close look at the demographics of each of your social accounts. Are you attracting the types of followers who will be of value to your brand?
Ideally, you should create a mission statement for each social account. You don’t need to use each account for the same purpose, though. For instance, you may use a bright, cheerful Instagram account with beautiful photography as your primary way to drive engagement. In that case, you will be more interested in engagement statistics than anything else. You might, on the other hand, use Twitter more to make company announcements, or even to provide customer service. You might use your YouTube channel to display How-To videos, helping existing customers to use their products better, and giving suggestions to new leads of what they can do with your product.
The different social networks target different audiences. Some will match your demographics well and should be your priority. Others won’t match your demographics at all, and it will be wasteful to use resources on them.
Should You Create Any New Social Media Accounts?
At this point, you should also look at any “missing” social networks. Allowing for your staffing and resources available for operating social media, are you missing any social media accounts?
You certainly don’t need to be represented on every social network. However, you must have a presence on those social networks where your primary target market spends their time. If that means opening new social accounts (possibly at the expense of some existing ones) then seriously consider doing so.
It also makes sense that you should operate an account on any social network where you work with influencers. Depending on your aims, you may want them to direct traffic to your own accounts – which you obviously must have set up first.
Determine Social Account Responsibilities and Centralize Passwords
You previously entered the name of the person responsible for each social account. Is he or she still the best person for that job? Who will operate any new social accounts you may have decided to set up? Go back to the top of the spreadsheet and make any modifications to this column.
You will notice that we don’t have a column for your passwords. Having them all stored together in a spreadsheet is not a particularly secure way of managing passwords. It would be better for you to store all of your passwords in a specialist password management app, such as 1Password or LastPass.
Determine Social Media Objectives and Schedule Your Next Social Audit
As you move forward, ensure that each of your social media accounts has clear goals for you to work towards as you move towards your next social audit. Allocate your time to the accounts that best meet your current objectives.
This means that you might put some accounts on hold for the present (or simply automate a basic posting routine) and concentrate your best posts on others.
Free Template for Your Social Media Audit
We have provided a free template on Google Sheets to help you with your social media management audit.