Social media is constantly evolving — you can always expect new platforms, audiences, and features to emerge. This means there are always new ways to utilize this channel for your business.
As a business owner, it’s important that you stay abreast of the best ways to use social platforms as a marketing and advertising tool.
However, it’s not something that should just be done blindly, without auditing or measuring. Tracking what social media actually does for your business is important to determine what’s working and what’s not.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit gives you a full view of how social media is working (or not) for your business. An audit is the process of reviewing certain metrics to evaluate your current social media strategy. These metrics include information about demographics, engagement, locations, campaign performance, and more.
A social media audit can include impressions, comments, likes, shares, and other interactions, as well as which posts are getting the most engagement and what audience is doing the most engaging. This data provides you with information you can use to make social media more effective for your business.
How to Do a Social Media Audit
As you begin your social media audit, remember that you don’t have to start from scratch. Use templates or examples to get you started. Be prepared to gather a lot of information and perform some in-depth analysis. Below we’ll cover the steps involved in a social media audit.
1. Start with the basics.
Round up all of the social media profiles that your business currently has, even the ones that you may have never posted on or haven’t been active on recently. For each platform, record your username or handle the URL, and the number of followers or subscribers, engagement metrics, or any other KPIs that might be relevant to each channel.
2. Analyze each profile’s engagement.
Social media platforms generally have built-in analytics features that will provide a lot of helpful information. For each platform, record the engagement metrics, demographic information, top posts, plus your impressions and reach. This data can show what each platform’s strengths and weaknesses are for your business.
3. Find the patterns.
Now that you have a record of your top-performing posts on each platform, analyze whether there are any similarities. See what popular posts within each platform and across platforms have in common. The type of post, the target audience of the post, the time it was posted, and any media in the post are things to explore.
As you’re looking at the collected data, you should be able to see these patterns in how your audience is engaging with your business. Which platform generates the most traffic to your website? Where are the highest levels of engagement stemming from? What demographic is most commonly engaging with which types of content? These are all patterns you can begin to unpack from the data.
4. Set goals for each platform.
Now that you’ve determined the state of each of your social media profiles, decide what you want to improve. Also, consider what is already going well that you could better capitalize on. These goals should be about more than just growing a following.
Your social media goals should be about how social media can benefit your business, including increasing brand awareness, engagement, and traffic to your website. Watch the video above for more info on how to set social media marketing goals.
5. Make a plan.
Collecting data through your social media audit is a large undertaking. However, don’t let that distract you from its purpose. The audit is meant to help you determine what needs to change about your utilization of social media. Once you’ve completed the audit and set your goals, forge a plan for how to accomplish them.
6. Assess new platforms.
Your business might be putting a lot of effort into the major platforms and underutilizing others. So, if you’re seeing potential elsewhere or just want to explore new options, then go for it.
Use the information you’ve collected to help you decide where your content has the highest chances to thrive and engage an audience. Social media audits should also be done quarterly, so you’ll be able to easily track data for any new ventures.
Social Media Audit Template
The typical social media audit will include a few basic elements. They should include sections to display audience demographics, your recent most successful posts, how ad campaigns are performing, and more. Check out this free social media audit template for some inspiration.
This template begins with a summary and report on your overall performance. These two sections will hold the most important information to take away from the whole audit. Many of the other sections show the "performance" of your social media presence for different elements. The demographics section will show who is engaging with your content, while the location targeting section will show from where.
This template also details the "creative performance" of your top posts so that you can make comparisons between them. Ending with the next steps means making sure the insight provided in the data is consequently understood and applied to your social media strategy.
Social Media Audit Examples
Different businesses and their marketing teams will conduct social media audits in different ways. They may use different templates, want to record different metrics, and utilize different platforms. It’s important to tailor social media audits to the way your business uses social media and the data you’re seeking from it.
Associate professor of marketing and author Keith A. Quesenberry included a social media audit template in his book "Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution." He developed his template from the five Ws: who, where, what, when, and why. The endpoint is a judgment of each on a scale from "challenge" to "opportunity."
This template makes it easy to collect, digest, and evaluate all the relevant data for your audit. Including the "competitor" is also beneficial to compare your social media strategy with another business in your industry.
This template from JourneyEngine focuses on the most meaningful metrics of engagement. Some templates only include impressions or one-second views that don’t really provide valuable data. This one goes very in-depth, including reactions and even the thumbnail for each post. It gives a thorough snapshot of your social media activity.
Your business likely uses multiple platforms, but which one is doing the best? This template is made to not only track your social media engagement but also to easily compare it across platforms.
This template shows how social media data is collected through Google Analytics’ social channel. This audit is divided into two sections, "Acquisition" and "Behavior." This separates "how" the engagement occurs from "what" the engagement activity actually is.
If your business wants more defined information about how users are interacting with your social media, this provides that extra detail. The pages per session and average session duration inform you of how long and how many users are viewing your social media pages.
Social Media Audit Tools
Using the right tools to complete your audit can make the process faster and easier. Social media management platforms can not only compile the data needed for an audit but will also track it over time so that it’s always accessible to you at a glance. Many will give you extensive analytics that offers more than each individual platform’s built-in capabilities. Check out the tools below to see what might work for your business:
- Sprout Social: This is an all-in-one social media management platform that provides an in-depth view of how audiences interact with your social media profiles.
- HootSuite: This tool creates custom reports for your business that show exactly how social media is impacting your brand.
- Unmetric: This platform focuses on helping to compare, benchmark, and analyze your business’ social performance.
- Zoho Social: The monitoring feature of this tool gives you multiple "listening" columns that update in real-time as engagement happens with your social media profiles.
- Sociality.io: This tool will also give you social media reports on competitors to get the full picture of how your audience is engaging with your industry online.
Social Media Audit Checklist
As you begin your social media audit, it’s important to stay on track. Having a simple checklist will help you focus on what you need to accomplish. Keep the following one in mind as you begin working on your social media audit.
- List all of your social media accounts. Gather all of the social accounts you own into one spreadsheet.
- Use a social media audit template. Have a guide so you know where to start.
- Pick the right social media audit tool. Utilize tools that will save you time and resources during the process.
- Monitor your key metrics. Find data on audience, engagement, and post information for each platform that your business uses.
- Set your goals. Define what you want to improve about your social media presence.
- Plan for the future. Incorporate what you’ve learned and apply it to your social media strategy.
Get Started on Your Social Media Audit
Maintaining multiple social media profiles can be a lot of work. A social media audit can help you determine how to best utilize your efforts and resources. A quarterly audit of your online presence will help your business get the most out of social media and all it has to offer.