How to Conduct a Social Media Audit

Conducting a social media audit is the first step in any social media strategy. It provides a holistic view of what’s working and what’s not. You will be able to see whether imposter accounts are stealing your users or if any profiles need to be updated, repurposed or shut down. Most important, you will find new opportunities to grow and engage your audience.

The following is an outline of the steps involved with starting and completing a social media audit.

1. Get Organized

The first step is to create a spreadsheet you can use to collect information as you go. You can create your own spreadsheet or download any one of the free templates you can find online. This Social Media Audit Template from Hootsuite is a good starting point.

For each social media account you manage you will want to record:

Account details:

  • Your social handle (for example, @hootsuite)
  • The link to your profile (for example, instagram.com/hootsuite)
  • The bio text for the account
  • Any hashtags that appear in your bio or regularly appear in your posts
  • The URL you link to from your bio
  • Whether your account is verified
  • The internal person or team responsible for managing the account (also known as the “owner”—for example, the social marketing team)
  • The mission statement for the account (for example, to promote company culture using employee photos, or to provide customer service during office hours)
  • Details of the current pinned post (if applicable)
  • Date of the most recent post (to help you identify underused/abandoned accounts)

Performance details:

  • Total number of posts published
  • Total engagement numbers, engagement rate, click-throughs, etc.
  • Change in engagement
  • the top three posts in terms of engagement
  • Campaign ROI (optional) 

Audience details:

  • Key demographic information
  • Total number of followers
  • Change in followers

Goals:

  • 2-3 SMART goals you want to achieve by your next audit
  • Whether you met the goals you set for the current audit

You should also include a column for any relevant notes about the account.

2. Locate All Social Media Profiles

Find where you are online and begin recording account details. It’s easiest to start with the biggest social media players ( e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin ).

Now think about the uncommon spots, those outside the large social networks. Did you create a YouTube channel a couple of years back? Are there social networks that you tried and abandoned or forgot about?

Also, look for unofficial accounts. Those accounts set up by well-meaning employees and users or maybe people in other departments. Look for accounts created by rogues and spammers. Perform a general search for your brand on all major networks, you might be surprised what you find.

3. Prune Your Social Media

It’s important to remember that managing your social media takes time. Most businesses don’t need to be on all networks. Take a look at your list and ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are we using this social account?
  • What purpose does this social account serve?
  • What are our goals for this platform?
  • Are our target audiences using this platform?
  • Are there new platforms that we should be using, and why?

Go through your list and flag each platform as either keep, quit or need more data.

For those you marked quit, shut down the accounts.

For those you marked need more data identify what you need to know. This may be more information about the platform’s audience, its reach, past performance, etc. The best source for this data is often the platform’s own documentation. There are also many 3rd party sources like Statusbrew — check out their post 100 Social Media Statistics You Must Know In 2022.

3. Check for Completeness and Consistency

Social media networks offer many options for customization and periodically add new features, so it’s easy to miss something that was added or overlooked.  You’ll need to look at each social account individually to make sure everything is completed and optimized. 

Make sure everything is consistent with your brand standards — e.g. up-to-date images, hashtags, keywords, product descriptions, brand voice. Here are components to check for each account:

  • Profile, Cover Images and Background
    Make sure they reflect your current branding and adhere to the social networks’ image requirements.
  • Profile/Bio Text
    Check that all fields are filled in completely and accurately.
  • Handle
    In general, it makes sense to use the same handle across social networks. However, you may need a different handle for different purposes ( for example, National Pixel has Twitter accounts @NationalPixel and @NationalPixel_Work). Whatever you decide make sure you record your handles on your social media spreadsheet.
  • Links
    Check to make sure your accounts are linked to your homepage, landing page, or current campaign. Record this information as well.
  • Pinned Posts
    Are pinned posts appropriate and up-to-date.
  • Verification
    Is your account verified with a checkmark or a badge? If not, should it be? If you need help getting verified, Hootsuite has instructions on how to get verified on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

4. Revisit Your Goals and Metrics

If you already have well-established and clearly defined goals for each of your social media platforms a social media audit is an excellent time to re-evaluate your performance metrics. If you need help with goal setting check out Sprout Social’s post on how to set meaningful social media goals.

The metrics you use to track your goals will likely be specific to your company or industry, but there are some key types of metrics that most companies are interested in tracking:

  • Traffic data – how many visits and visitors did social drive to our sites?
  • Fan/follower data – how many people are in our various networks and how are they growing?
  • Social interaction data – how are people interacting with, sharing and re-sharing our content on social networks?
  • Social content performance – how is the content we’re producing on social sites performing?

Each social media platform has different online tools to answer these questions, but it is important to remember that not every question will have direct answers in the data, you may need to make assumptions or inferences.

The main point of setting goals and tracking metrics is to measure the success of your social media efforts over time and to make course corrections if needed.

5. Find Some Inspiration

You can learn a lot from those who do it best.

Find four to eight influencers or brands who exist in the same space as you and who tend to speak the same language to the same audience. 

Once you have your list, you can go through the same steps that you did for your accounts. You’ll find that a lot of the questions you ask about these influencer accounts are the same questions you asked for your own account. Generally, you will want to know the following:

  • Where Are They: What is their social media footprint. Where do they have a presence?
  • Branding: How does their overall look promote the brand? Can visitors get an accurate sense of their personality or culture? How have they chosen to use images in the header and avatar?
  • Popularity: How many followers/likes does the page have?
  • Frequency: How often do they post? What do they do on weekends?
  • Engagement: What is the number of people talking about the brand compared to the number of fans?
  • Types of posts: What topics do they frequently discuss? What types of posts do they use: photos, questions, videos, chats, text? What is engagement like for each of these post types?

This process will help spur new ideas and initiatives that you can tailor for your own social media plan.

6. Make an Action Plan

By this point, you should have plenty of data on how everything is performing and where you can improve.

Now it’s time to make sure your social media plan is implemented.

  • Break your tactics into short-term and long-term actions.
  • Define who on the team is responsible and accountable for each action.
  • Create a social media content calendar — don’t forget to take into account the time needed to produce content.
  • Determine how often you will track performance.

Most important, set a date for the next audit and incorporate this into your marketing systems.

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