The impact that social media has on our everyday lives is apparent. It’s how we keep up to date with our friends, discover new places to explore, and check in with what’s going on in the world. So much that partaking in social media is no longer an option - it’s a necessity. Especially if you’re a business.
Not only does social media give brands a platform to increase awareness and reach people in a whole new way, but it has played a vital role in networking and communicating with customers. It gives you an outlet to talk directly with your audience and express your brand’s personality. This establishes a personal connection with your customers that makes them feel like your brand is actively listening to them and genuinely cares about their opinions
Now, all this being said, actually taking on a social media plan for your business is a whole beast in itself and is often times overwhelming if you’re walking into it unprepared. While your brain might be swirling with visions of quality dog memes, GIFS of Danny Devito, and relatable cat videos and you’re surely screaming The time to start posting is NOW, we’re not quite there yet.
Many people think running social media is simply a matter of trolling Twitter, but it actually takes a fair amount of planning and strategizing. The first step? Performing an audit of your current social channels. If you’re not entirely sure what we mean, let’s dig in.
What is a Social Media Audit?
Simply put a social media audit is the process of evaluating the current state of each social account that your company has and identifying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of each channel.
Why is it Important?
Social media marketing without a strategy is like walking into battle with the mentality of “Eh, I'm just gonna wing it.” Not a great idea. You need to size up what you’re working with before you plan your attack, otherwise, you’ll just be throwing darts with a blindfold on and hoping you don’t (or do) accidentally impale someone.
By performing an initial audit you get a great overview of how each channel functions for your companies overall marketing strategy and any tweaks that you may need to make so that it can perform to its true potential.
Okay, But How Do I Do This?
Now we know the word “audit” doesn’t exactly elicit an ecstatic response. In fact, you may have just had the instinct to grab your go bag and flee the IRS. Please be assured that auditing your social media accounts is a much more pleasant experience than whatever you're thinking of.
Step 1: Make a template
You’re about to sift through a lot of data, which means that you need to make like Marie Kondo and get organized. The easiest way to do this is by making a spreadsheet to keep track of all your findings.
We understand that this sounds a little overwhelming, and whether you’re crunched on time or not sure where to start - fear not! We took the liberty of creating a template that you can use as your own or as a starting point.
Download it here
If you want to take a shot at making your own, here are a few things to include:
- Profile information
- Engagement metrics
- Content performance metrics
- Demographic metrics
- Channel-specific metrics
Now let’s get down to the nitty-gritty and get this audit process started!
Step 2: Take Inventory
You can’t do a social media audit without having social channels first. Right off the bat, you’ll want to uncover every single social channel that your company has. Yes. Even that Pinterest account that hasn’t been updated since 2012. You can use a tool such as Namechk to see if there may be any obscure channels that you’re missing.
Record all of the accounts that you find in your audit document along with their corresponding passwords. This will make accessing them throughout the audit a quick and easy process. However, we do recommend creating a Trello board to store all of your usernames and passwords in a more secure way.
Step 3: Re-brand if needed
It’s important that your branding is consistent across all of the social profiles that your company has. Make sure all your profile photos, about me sections, bios, and cover photos are all up to date and that your brand voice is consistent throughout all of your messaging. Additionally, delete any duplicate profiles or pages that may have been made and forgotten about.
Step 4: Evaluate Your Channels
Before you dig into the numbers, there’s one question that you need to answer for each given social media channel that you have for your business: how am I evaluating performance for this particular account. Every social account that you have will most likely have different goals and therefore different metrics associated with it. For example, you could be using Instagram to drive brand awareness and Twitter as an outlet for customer service.
Once you have your KPI’s set for each channel, it’s time to go through to see how your numbers stack up. Not only will this help you identify which channels are performing, but it will also help you identify what channels are the most effective in reaching your desired audience. From here you can dissect your content to see what’s performing and what isn’t.
Look Into Your Demographics
As you continue to evaluate your social channels, it’s important to get a good understanding of who you’re capable of reaching through each platform. A good place to start is by looking into the audience demographics to see who interacts with your profiles the most.
Step 5: Peek the Competition
It’s no secret that you’re sharing the spotlight with some stiff competition, and what they’re doing on social media is just as important as what you’re doing. While you may not be able to do as deep of a dive on their stats, you can still get a pretty good idea on how you stack up compared to them just by looking through their content to see engagement ratios and by looking at the “info and ads” tab on their page to see what content they’re paying to promote.
Social media audits are a necessary and extremely helpful first step in creating your social media strategy. While you’re probably hoping this is a one-time thing, we suggest doing this on a quarterly basis. The social landscape is ever-changing (ask anyone who deals with Facebook business manager on a daily basis) so checking in every so often to see how things are running is a great habit to have.