As 2016 comes to a close, it’s naturally time to focus on goals for next year. One of the best things you can do in preparation for developing a new strategy, or making adjustments to your current one is a social media audit.
Why Conduct a Social Media Audit?
A social media audit is the chance to review what’s working for your business, what’s not working, and what you can improve across all the platforms you’re using. It’s up to you how often you want to go through it the audit process – but as you wrap up other activities for the year, it’s a good time to take a look at what’s going on.
So you can focus your efforts on what really matters, create a spreadsheet, and make sure you’ve located all your social media profiles, both official and unofficial. A simple search of your company name in Google, along with all the social networks you’re using will help you see if anyone else is using your company name. If you find imposters, make note of this, so you can go back and handle getting those shut down.
This spreadsheet will be the “home” for your audit and all your notes. I suggest creating a new sheet for each network so you have one workbook that you can look through for each audit.When you start the next audit, duplicate the information, and make edits as necessary. Customize it to your needs, but it should at least include:
- Profile information – the name and URL
- How often you’re posting
- Date of last activity
- Follower count
- Referral traffic numbers
- Any channel specific metrics
It’s also a good idea to have email address/login information for each profile in a central location – whether it’s in the spreadsheet or not, to make edits easier. One way to ensure security is to have your IT department create the passwords for each account, and then use a password manager system like LastPass to store it all. Then, share access to that account on an as needed basis.
Questions to Ask During the Process – For Each Network
- What is our mission statement? If you don’t already have one, write one. Ideally, it’s short – think no longer than a tweet – but inspiring and compelling. Look at it on a regular basis – use it to remind your followers why they’re following you. Want help? Look at the social media platforms themselves – Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have mission statements that serve as perfect examples.
- What are the business goals and objectives we’re trying to accomplish here?
- Why are we using this social account? If you don’t know why – your strategy is likely misguided and will lack cohesiveness – which could be hurting your potential.
- Why do we want to use this account? The answer needs to be something more than “because the competition is doing it” or “because we want to.”
- Is our target audience using this platform? If not, why are we spending time here? Does it fit with our overall strategy? Are we better suited to shut this profile down?
1. Are Profiles Complete and Consistent?
Check all profiles for completion. Are there any missing details, or anything that needs to be updated? If so, make those edits. While you’re checking for completion, check for consistency in appearance and messaging.
Open the edit profile option for each social network. Review one at a time to make sure everything is filled out completely. Check that all options, images, and text, are not only in use, but optimized. Ensure you’re using the same logo, displayed according to your brand guidelines. Make sure your backgrounds and other images follow the same theme or branding, and all your descriptions are up to date with keywords related to your business. Check that URLs are all the same, or at least go to the appropriate landing page.
It’s okay to have a different feel on various social networks, as long as the tone of your profile is right for the network. Environment should come first, and then consistency.
2. What Does Your Audience Look Like?
This step helps you see if you’re engaging the right audience on each network. To do this:
Open Google Analytics and look at the Audience report. Set the filters to adjust for demographics, location, and gender. This is what your social media audience should look like as well, since these are the people who are visiting and converting on your website.
Then, open the Channels report. Click the Acquisitions > All Traffic >Channels > Social. Here you’ll see which social platforms are bringing the most traffic to your website. More than likely, these are the channels you’ve built the most qualified audience.
Check platform specific analytics to see how well those metrics match up to the main website analytics. Look at the most popular channel from your channel report and see what the activity looks like there.
3. What Does Your Social Activity Look Like?
Look at each one of your social media networks. When was the last time you posted there? How often are you posting there? Are you taking the time to respond when fans engage with you? What types of content are you posting?
Use this time to find the most popular posts on each network. Look at when it was posted, the topic of the post, and the type of post it is. This can help you figure out what your audience likes and responds best to, as well as optimal posting times to get the best engagement.
Look at the least popular posts, too, to determine if there are issues with topics, post types, or timing. Make adjustments to your strategy so you can run tests. This will allow you to isolate issues… it may not have been the topic, or the post type – just the time of day. It may not have been the time of day, just the topic. Each test can help you fine tune the strategy you’re going to use between now and time for the next audit.
4. Is the Current Strategy Working?
Here comes the fun part – your strategy analysis. It’s time to see if what you’ve been doing is helping you reach the goals and objectives you’ve set out to accomplish, or if your tactics have hurt your social media strategy. Take a look at the goals you set, and compare the current status to the metrics you selected. Though there are likely to be some metrics specific to your business, the most common ones businesses look at are:
Followers and Fans: How many fans or followers do you have on each network? How does this number compare to the past? What kinds of campaigns have you run that have boosted these numbers? If the number has drastically declined, what could possible reasons be?
Posting Frequency: How often are you posting on each social network? Are you posting on weekends, too? What types of content are you posting?
Engagement: Are fans engaging with your content? Liking and sharing? Leaving comments? Are there any patterns in the type of content you’re sharing and the engagement level? Patterns in the time and date of your posts and engagement levels? For instance, are more people engaging when you post videos than they are photos? Are people more responsive when you post on the weekends than they are on the weekdays?
Keep track of the current levels in your spreadsheet so you can look back and use it to help you set new goals, and evaluate progress at the next audit.
Now, benchmarking. How do the numbers you see now compare to where you were at your last audit? A year ago? Two years ago? Document how important all the metrics are to you today, so that as things shift, you can place more or less importance on those metrics in the future.
Were you able to accomplish the goals and objectives you set forth? If so, how well did you do? What do you attribute to that success? If not, how close did you come to reaching them? What do you think caused you to miss the mark? Remember, nothing is a failure – everything in social is a learning experience.
5. What’s Your Monthly Return on Investment (ROI)?
A lot of companies aren’t taking the time to figure out their social media ROI. One survey revealed 41% of marketers don’t know if their efforts are paying off or not, and another study showed 56% said the biggest challenge was an inability to connect social media to their business outcomes.
To do this, we must look at how much money goes into your social media marketing efforts, and how much money your goals are worth. Your goals should be something you can attach a number to, like purchases, the number of contact form inquiries, downloads of a lead magnet, or email list signups.
Your goals should be based on actions that convert a casual visitor into a paying customer – but you should link your goals to specific campaigns. Setting up campaigns with the Campaign URL Builder will allow you to track the links you share on social media channels. (The Google URL builder migrated to the Campaign URL Builder – if you have questions, check out this complete guide to this new Google URL builder.)
Set up goals in Analytics: Acquisition > Social > Conversions.
Set Up Goals > Name, Goal Slot ID > Type and so on until the details are filled out.
For instance, if you want people to sign up to join your email list, you’ll want to set up a special (non-indexed to keep data accurate) thank you page on your website that someone can only get to after they subscribe. Set the goal type as a destination page.
Assign a goal value. You can use the customer lifetime value x the conversion rate (your average number of email subscribers that become customers), to determine the potential value of each visit. If you’d rather, you could use the average sale – if the goal of your campaign is to get sales. If you use this, your destination page should be a thank you page someone sees after making a purchase.
Now, determine your social media expenses:
- Man-hours: The time you’re spending either as a solo member, or paying a team, to handle your social media marketing campaign over a period of time. Avoid using an employee’s annual salary, because they’re working of multiple campaigns. This investment should be measured for each campaign.
- Content: What are you spending on professional copywriters – either in-house or outsourced?
- Social media tools: Sure the networks are free, but if you’re using any kind of social media management software, you’ll need to factor the price of these in – also on a per-campaign basis. If your campaign lasts two months, only add two months worth of tool costs in.
- Advertising: Are you promoting tweets or pins? Running Facebook ads? Add in those costs, too.
Now, calculate the ROI with this formula:
(Earnings – costs) x 100 / costs
Want to know how much each channel is bringing you? Segment the earnings and costs fore ach channel and use the formula again. Let the numbers tell you which channels are bringing you the most money, and focus more effort there.
6. What is the Competition Doing?
It’s a good idea to look at what the competition is doing on their social profiles, so you can get ideas on how to make improvements on your own. Go beyond the competition and look at influencers in your industry, as well.
Find at least four influencers and brands in the same space you’re in. You probably already know who they are, since they’re going after the same audience you are. If you need help, look into tools like BuzzSumo and Traackr.
After you’ve gotten your list, go through the same steps you did with your personal accounts, as best you can because you won’t have access to their analytics data, and compile another spreadsheet, or add it to your audit workbook.Adding it to your audit workbook may help later because you can also track how the influencers and competition change over time.
7. What’s Your Plan of Action?
While you’re already focused on your social media audit, it’s a great time to go ahead and think about your social media strategy. You have plenty of data in front of you to show you how you need to improve, and you can develop the plan for how you’re going to make those improvements.
You don’t need to stop the audit and create an entire strategy right now, but you can at least be thinking of the new goals and objectives you’re going to focus on, or what you can do to reach the ones you missed before.
Doing a social media audit can be grueling work – especially if data isn’t your thing. But, it will pay off by letting you see where you are, and give you data-driven insights on how to make improvements.
When’s the last time you did a social media audit? How often do you conduct them?
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