How to Conduct a Social Media Audit
Social media marketing has quickly become a key component in most digital marketing campaigns. For agencies just entering this new territory, it can be overwhelming at first.
Clients can run the gamut from creating a basic social profile to maintaining multiple disorganized profiles, and it's up to you to figure them all out. Between creating a posting schedule for an abandoned profile and targeting dozens of random sites, deciding what to do next can take real effort.
That's why it's so important to conduct a social media audit early on; to find out what your customers have, what they need and what to do next. Additionally, it will enable you to determine whether your social media strategies were successful or unsuccessful so that you may adjust your approach.
What is a Social Media Audit?
The foundation of a social media audit is compiling the client's social media assets for an accurate assessment of their online presence.
After getting a complete overview, the next step is to decide where improvements can be made. Then what actions to take to get your online presence where it needs to be.
Since each client will come to you with a unique portfolio, it is important to know as much information as possible in order to move forward.
Social media audits are also occasionally provided as a service, much like something you'd expect from a consultant, for companies that want to keep execution entirely in-house.
Balancing your Checking Accounts
There are hundreds of social media channels. Many clients will have a few accounts and will be able to provide you with a list.
The fewer, the simpler in the usual cases. Some clients will have already amassed many social media accounts, especially those with prior experience using search engine optimization marketing.
These clients will be more difficult to audit due to the large volume of accounts and diversified activity.
The first step in balancing your checking accounts is to ask.
Typically, this is something you can include on a client intake form or during an initial meeting.
After you get this list, you will have to do some searching. Almost every customer has some social media accounts that they have forgotten about.
Doing a quick Google search for a few variants of the customer's name will help bring up any accounts that have been forgotten. (Remember to use the '~' search operator with terms like 'Co.' Searching for '~Co' will return results like Co, company, and other variants.)
If it looks like your client may have a large number of inactive accounts, use something like namechk.com to search hundreds of channels for their usernames.
Find the Ideal Channels
Now that you know which social media channels they are already using, you need to figure out which ones they should be using.
A good rule of thumb is to automate three channels for each active channel. For example, if a client is actively running a Facebook campaign, they should connect it to Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ for optimal exposure versus workload.
Keeping profiles active is important, but managing your time well is just as important.
Choosing the right channels can be tricky, especially when considering demographics and target audiences. However, generally speaking, businesses that operate locally perform better on Facebook.
National brands see greater success on Twitter. Pinterest and Instagram are great for individuals who have aesthetically appealing products.
Finding new outlets will necessitate investigation, especially as the social web grows more niche-focused.
A quick way to determine the usefulness of a social media channel is to look at its top influencers – do they align with your brand?
If that's the case, that channel could be an excellent fit. As you choose channels, be sure to jot down a few notes about why you're choosing them—you'll need them later!
Are the Basics in Place?
With your list of current and potential accounts in place, you can begin to see how they are used.
For Current Channels
Determining what to do in current channels is more difficult than in new ones. This is mainly because you will need to work on an existing structure and will inevitably need to critique something the client has written themselves.
Make sure your notes are as polite as possible, or at least focused on purely constructive criticism.
Things you should look for in existing channels:
Are all the image slots filled? Having a profile photo, a cover image, and a few other photos is a good idea.
Is your business name correct? Local dating can have a huge impact on digital marketing campaigns, so make sure your profile name matches all online properties.
Are they using a custom URL? These make it easy to send people to your social networks and are crucial for cross-media campaigns.
Is your business information correct? Accurate addresses, business phone numbers, and websites are critical.
Do you have extended information? Business history, description of services, hours of operation and more can help you get discovered. Well-written descriptions can even convert visitors.
If you find that any of these are missing, document it and what needs to be done to complete it. When there are changes needed, write notes for them too, along with some reasons why they should be changed.
For Ideal Channels
This section is simpler as you are just compiling a list of resources to complete profiles. These typically include your profile picture, company name, address, phone number, website, and a description of the company. Some channels offer much more, so be sure to take advantage of the expanded fields when possible.
Creating Consistency Across all Channels
Now that you know everything you need for marketing collaterals, it's important to reinforce consistency in each of them. This does not mean that all images and advertisements must be identical, but they must be similar.
If your client already has a well-crafted style guide, this step is easy. If not, you will need to define the common threads that you want to represent in the digital landscape.
Where possible, make sure they are using similar profile pictures across different social media channels to make your brand identification clear.
You probably have an idea of how a good social media campaign goes; regular posts, helpful content, community engagement, etc. You will now need to take your customer from where they currently are to where they need to be.
Each channel will have its own unique characteristics, but here are some of the main factors to consider:
Regular Posting and Outreach
While the regularity will vary from client to client, you need to make sure that they post content on their social networks. If they're having trouble keeping content fresh, suggest tools like a social media scheduler or automation of less influential channels.
On a related note, if they post regularly but the content just isn't going anywhere, give them guidance on how to improve. For Twitter, this could include rotating popular hashtags in posts, or for Pinterest, it could mean a different layout for images.
Engagement and Interactivity
In addition to being a great lead generation tool, social media is often used to build a brand's reputation. Check that your client is receiving regular engagement with your content and if not, suggest solutions. A common way to enhance engagement is by using images and videos, or by asking questions.
Also, keep in mind the responsiveness of your customer. Do they respond quickly and appropriately? They hardly respond? Find methods that help them stay on top of their customer interactions.
A most common reason for less engagement and interactivity is copied or plagiarized content. Always remember, your content gets boost both by SM platforms and audience when its unique. Moreover, use paraphrasing tool before posting to make your content unique.
Are They Missing the Mark?
What if your client is doing everything listed above but still isn't getting the attention they deserve? The channel they are using may not match.
Not all social media channels are good for all businesses, and sometimes replacing old accounts is the best solution.
Holding the Bottom Line
Even if all other stats are performing below your expectations, if your main conversion metrics are successful, don't worry too much! Distill what works for your client, determine ways to duplicate results, and then find ways they can iterate to improve.
Create an Audit Report
You should have a modest stack of notes and data points at this time. All that remains is to organize them in a professional manner. Here's a simple breakdown of how to structure your report:
The Cover Page – This usually includes your agency name, client name, report name, and the date it was compiled.
State Social Media Goals – Put here what your client wants from their campaign, what goals are realistic, and a brief overview of how it will be achieved.
- Analysis of each channel: Break down each channel that they currently use and should use. Talk about the stats you've found, what changes need to be made, and why.
- Content Audit: Always perform a detailed and thorough audit of your content. This will help you niche down your content and know about your audience’s interests.
One-Time Actions List – Place all action items that only need to be done once. Things like initially filling in account descriptions and uploading profile pictures go here.
Recurring Campaign Outline – This piece goes over what needs to be completed on a recurring basis. All notes on how content should be handled, posting times, and types of content should be organized here.
Conclusion: A restatement of your social media goals and the "next steps" your client needs to take to get started.
With your report in hand, you can now be sure of your client's social media address! Put your report in a well-designed PDF and send it (or better yet, review it in person). Do you have more questions? Leave a comment below!