For many growing businesses, social media is an effort that has organically sprung up as a “need-to-do” activity. All too often, the company realizes that social media is important to promote content and attract new visitors, but might not always have a solid strategy behind their efforts. 

But how do you know if what you are doing in the realm of social media is working? Are you posting the right content? Is your audience responding? Is there a return on investment in your social campaigns? Or, are you even investing in the right things? That’s where a social media audit can be a game changer for your business. 
A social media audit is a hard look at the data from all your social accounts, the social conversation about your brand and your competitors. Conducting a social media audit will help you: 
  • Develop or adjust a social media strategy that aligns to specific, actionable business objectives and goals.
  • Discover trends that you can use to create or modify social media campaigns.
  • Receive valuable insight into customer sentiment and perception of your brand.
  • Provide executives and your team a look into what is or is not working so you can manage and justify social media spend.
An audit gives you the opportunity to see the ebb and flow of your audience engagement, content performance, and what’s working and what’s not. It truly is a way for you to put your thumb on the pulse of everything you are doing in social. 

Conducting a Social Media Audit

The data

As part of your audit, you are going to be looking at a whole bunch of data. There are a variety of ways to record all this information, but many social managers find that developing a tabbed spreadsheet is the way to go. It will be helpful if you have a social analytics tool such as Netbase, Sysomos, Crimson Hexagon, or another type of metrics tool that can aggregate your data, but if not, you can manually pull the data and compile it from each channel’s social media metrics. Some of these metrics are easy to acquire, such as: Unfortunately, some social channels don’t make it easy for you to analyze performance. Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok may require you to manually look at posts and determine metrics on your own. There are some companies that offer to manage this information for you. For example, Snaplytics will help with Instagram and Snapchat.

If you are a HubSpot Social user, you can use Reports to analyze some of what is needed, namely your social website traffic and your content post data.

Consider your buyer personas and business goals

If you don’t have your business goals and buyer personas in mind as you are developing content and social campaigns, you aren’t likely using your channels as effectively as you could be. Look at your content and channel usage with these goals and personas in mind. Are you developing content that will resonate with your audience? Are you engaging them in a way that they will appreciate? Are you focusing on efforts that will help make a difference in your overarching business goals? 

If you don’t have any goals in place, then conducting the audit will help you establish a benchmark for you to develop new objectives and work toward specific key results.

What to measure 

binary-2450152_1920.jpgEach social media channel will be slightly different based on the available metrics you can measure, but there are a few commonalities:
  1. Owned channels: What channels are your official company channels? The bigger your business, the more likely you are to have many channels.
    • Who are the internal owners of these channels?
    • Who has the passwords? Do you have the right governance over these passwords?
    • Followers - how many people follow your official social channels?
  2. Non-owned channels and followers: Are there channels that are illegally using your assets and logos (and potentially taking a share of your followers?). Are there fan channels that co-opt your branding? Should you consider filing take-down notices for some of these channels, or find better ways to interact with those accounts?
  3. Your profile for each channel: Do all your social channels have a similar look and feel? Does your profile imagery (covers, icons, avatars, etc.) adhere to brand guidelines? Is your tone and voice consistent across the channels?
  4. Content performance: This is a big one, and you’ll want to analyze each channel individually. Afterward, you can also use this data to determine if some of that content might resonate differently or better in other channels.
    • Top/worst performing posts
    • Posts with the most engagement (comments, likes)
    • Post frequency
    • What types of content have best/worst performance
    • The time of posts that have the best engagement
    • Video views
    • Click-through to content
    • Post reach/impressions
    • Number of mentions (Twitter)
    • Effective keywords
    • Response rate (are you responding in a timely manner?)
    • Sentiment (some tools enable you to measure positive and negative sentiment)
  5. Advertising: If you do a lot of social media advertising, you might want to conduct a separate, in-depth audit. You’ll want to track similar metrics to the above for content performance, but also look at budgets, ROI, a/b test results, and areas for opportunity.
  6. Competition: How are your competitors using social media? How many followers do they have compared to you? How is their content performing? What types of content perform the best? How do they engage with their followers? By examining the competition, you can get a sense of how you stack up, but also where you might have gaps that you need to close.  

Putting the Social Media Audit to Good Use

Conducting an audit might take some time, but the value it will provide can help you do a few different things:
  • Develop new benchmarks and KPIs
  • Determine the best mix of content on the right channels at the right times
  • Identify opportunities to better engage with customers
  • Adjust budgets and calculate ROI
  • Identify how you need to make resource changes to boost social media efforts
Be prepared to conduct an audit of this depth every 12-18 months at minimum--more often if you don’t have strong metrics you regularly track. With the rapidly changing social media landscape, you’ll want to always have an eye on how your efforts are making an impact.  

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Originally published Nov 14, 2017 11:00:00 AM, updated January 21 2022