Conducting a Social Media Audit
The nitty-gritty on developing a comprehensive audit
The purpose of a social media audit is to analyze the effectiveness of your company’s existing social media efforts, and understand audience behaviour, competitors, and trends. Skipping a social media audit could result in an ineffective social strategy, and accidental imitation of your competitors, which could reflect negatively on your brand.
A Social Media Audit involves three components, an Audience Analysis, and Internal and Competitive Audits.
An Audience Analysis provides insight into who you’re currently reaching, and where potential customers might be found. To do this, take a close look at your followers on each of your social channels, to identify who you’re reaching by demographic. Next, identify the audience you want to target, and ask yourself what social channels they’re on, and how you can tailor your approach to reach them.
Although your organization may already have reporting methods in place, it’s best practice to complete a detailed Internal Audit prior to embarking on the creation of a new Social Media Strategy. Begin by listing all social properties, posting frequency, follower counts, engagement rates, and referral traffic to your website over each month for the previous year. Create a spreadsheet with these essential metrics and use them as points of comparison once your strategy is put into action. This is also the time to identify any unauthorized, off-brand, or forgotten accounts and either report, delete or update them.
Once you’ve collected the necessary information, take a hard look at your channels, and consider shuttering underperforming accounts – or shifting resources toward channels that better reach your target audience. At this point, you should also identify both top performing and poorly-performing content and then use this knowledge when creating a content strategy later on. A thorough internal audit will allow you to contextualize your progress by looking back at your numbers and analyzing your improvements.
Next, perform a Competitive Audit to learn from your competitors successes and failures. To do this, look at your competitors on a per-channel basis. Gather their basic metrics so that you can determine your Share of Voice, and either build, grow, or maintain it. Ask yourself, “What content of theirs is outperforming our own?” and “How can we use this information to tailor our approach?”
In a competitive audit, you can also look to aspirational brands – even those outside your own market – for inspiration. For example, a hotel chain that’s interested in improving their strategy on Snapchat, could take inspiration from a retail clothing brand that’s succeeding on that network.
Finally, wrap up your audit with an overall summary of your findings. There are different ways to go about this, but two of the most popular are the Start, Stop, Continue format, and the SWOT format. Start, Stop, and Continue is a useful and informal way to identify the different actions you’d like to start, if they seem promising, stop, if they’re ineffective, or continue, if they’re doing well.
Other organizations take a more formal approach by using the SWOT format to identify their overall Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. This format can be used to gain an understanding of your competitors, and gain insights you need for crafting your strategy.
Overall, the key question you want to consider is “What value is your company adding to your customers through social now vs. the value you want to be adding?” Once you’ve completed this big picture analysis, you’ll be ready to set achievable goals for your new social media strategy.