Social Media Audits - Is It worth the Effort and What Should It Include?
Social media is becoming more and more important for companies, brands, and their communication. Starting from the smallest, local firms to the biggest corporations – almost every one uses social media as a marketing tool.
The question that most of them should ask themselves is – are you using social media effectively and how are you measuring it? That’s why we decided to create a short guide for auditing your social media communication.
First of all, you have to answer one basic question – why are you on social media? What do you want to check – all of your communication, only specific channels, your marketing strategy, etc? Different answers mean auditing for different things. Remember to share your thoughts with the people who will make this audit and inform them about your brand’s strategic goals. You can divide them into the following types:
- Business goals – e.g. Increasing the sales of your product/service, raising your brand awareness
- Marketing goals – Building your brand’s image
- Communication goals – Quality of the dialogue with your customers
It’s better to start from thinking about specific goals and/or problems in each group and then setting KPI’s for them. For Facebook (the main concern in this article), the main KPI’s are as follows:
Pretty much everyone conducts Reach-based activities. The main goal of improving reach is to get as many people as possible interested in your offer (ideally, if they are from your target group). Reach indicators tell you how many users you’ve reached with your communication and how many times they saw it (this indicator is known as Impressions). You have three types of reach on Facebook – organic, viral, and paid. Organic reach is the reach that was given to your post by Facebook’s News Feed algorithm, which is based on numerous variables (we tried to shed some light on them here). Viral reach refers to various natural actions made by users – reactions, shares, and comments. The more of these actions your posts have, the more people will see it. Paid reach is, as the name indicates, people who saw your sponsored content. But keep in mind that reach structure is different for each industry and category on Facebook.
For example, bloggers and youtubers have very devoted audiences, so unpaid reach prevails. If you often pay for promotion on Facebook, you’ve probably already noticed that the majority of Impressions come from ads. Unpaid reach constitutes merely a small percent of your whole reach. The cause of this? The ever changing News Feed algorithm, which consequently cuts organic reach for brands and makes user-generated content more visible.
Remember that this algorithm treats Page categories in different ways. For example, news and media outlets can post more frequently than brands without severe losses in organic reach (we looked at this topic here).
Another important reach factor is the frequency of contact – how many times a user saw your content. It’s an indicators used in communication for other channels, but you can easily count it for Facebook – just divide Impressions by your Total Reach.
Social media communication is based around dialogue. That’s why it’s important to check if users react to yours. This is engagement in social media – reactions to your content. Of course, types of reactions and their titles vary between social media channels. On Facebook, users can engage by liking posts, using reactions, sharing and commenting on content, as well as clicking on the post. If a user clicked on the post, it’s worth knowing where exactly they did it, did they go to your website or just expanded it, or did they like your Page? Remember that liking is the least engaging thing for a user to do. Writing a comment or sharing a post is more effort-full, thus more engaging.
The higher the engagement, the bigger your viral reach. That means your content will be seen by more people who have never seen it before. Engagement is also the best and the quickest indicator of communication effectiveness – reactions (or a lack of them) shows if your communication has met any feedback. Of course, the most engaging content on social media is humorous, not-so-serious, and often not even related to a brand.
One of the biggest advantages of social media marketing is the possibility to reach very precise target groups. That is why, with the ever-improving targeting ads on Facebook, reach is becoming less important. Getting your message to the right target group is crucial. You can check your fans demographic data easily in the admin panel of your Page.
Sometimes you’ll reach your desired target group, but it doesn’t translate into an increase in engagement. It’s probably because your communication doesn’t satisfy the needs of your fans. Facebook itself doesn’t let you know the interests of your fans, but there are external solutions that enable you to check what other pages your fans interact with. Sotrender is one of them. If you want to know your fans’ interests – write to us. Based on this knowledge, you will not only be able tofit your content to your fans needs, but also choose a celebrity or an opinion leader for your next campaign.
It’s important to analyze your content itself. Maybe it’s too long, maybe it’s too short, maybe you write too much about your product. Maybe your content quality is insufficient – disjointed, unoriginal, or maybe you don’t use your Brand assets with your social media communication.
You can divide content on Facebook into the following kinds:
- Text status
- Images and photos
Although links are the most popular content on Facebook, the most important ones are native video and live video. ‘Native’ video refers to video uploaded directly to Facebook or Facebook Live broadcasts. These are the most visible posts for users. However, brands tend to rely on images, because producing them is less time consuming.
Another way to divide content is by their topic/subject. You can assign different themed categories to a single post. The most basic division would look like this:
By comparing content topics and how your audience reacts to them, you will understand your fans even more. And by doing so, you’ll get to know how to conduct a more effective communication.
If the first channel that a customer encounters your brand on is Facebook (or social media in general) and spends lots of time there, it’s natural that customer service should also be provided over social media. It’s much easier to write a post or leave a comment than call an info-line. It was noticed by Facebook itself, and Mark Zuckerbeg announced quite recently the addition of bots to Messenger. It should make communication with customers even easier.
Before it happens, companies have specially dedicated customer care teams or use social media agencies to do it. But how do you measure their effectiveness? The easy way: count the number of comments and private messages, reviews, and how many were answered. Of course, not all user communication deserves an answer – you don’t have to answer spam or hate messages (in fact, you should delete them without question). That’s why you should also pay attention to more sophisticated aspects of customer care – the number of complaints, opinions, and positive sentiment. Another good indicator of customer care in social media is the time between the initial contact from a customer and until the problem is solved.
Compare with competition
Besides what I wrote above, it’s also worth comparing your activities and feats with your competitors. It will help you evaluate your communication and your recent activities, as well as crafting a new communication strategy. Facebook lets you choose several Pages to observe and offers you basic data about it – reach, number of likes, engagement, and number of posts.
Facebook Insights (statistics available for Page admins only) has competitor data, but only for the last seven days. If you want to have access to longer periods or more advanced data, you need to use an external tool. You should observe your competition constantly, even after finishing your audit. It’s safer to learn from someone else’s mistakes rather than your own.
If you have already used ads or paid promotion on Facebook, you should analyze it too. It’s worth evaluating budgets and CPM, targeting methods, reaching your desired target group, ad quality and your response to them. If it’s possible, you should also analyze the promotion strategy and structure of your competition. There are estimation methods based on machine learning that are getting better and better results. If you know how much your competitors spend on Facebook promotion, it will be easier for you to evaluate your own.
To sum up – yes, you should conduct a social media communication audit. But only if you really know why you your brand is on social media and what you want to get out of it. A well conducted audit should include clear recommendations – what to improve, how to do it, and what is doing well. Remember to implement audit outcomes right away and your future results should be the basis of further audits.