When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your social media strategy or conducted a social media audit? If your answer is anywhere between “one year ago” and “we really should do that,” pull up a chair, because we need to talk.
I don’t have to tell you that social media is changing all the time. New platforms are regularly hitting the market and older ones are dying off. You may, at times, feel overwhelmed by new technology or realize you’re spreading yourself too thin across all available channels. It’s time to take a step back and examine what’s working and what isn’t. At Commonwealth PR, we call it a “social media audit” and it’s something we do regularly for clients.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit is a when you dive deep into your social media channels. Spend some time observing what you’re doing on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest or any other channel you’re using to promote your business. It includes looking at your competitors’ channels and social platforms you may not already be using in order to see how your target market is engaging online. Your goal is to see what is working for you, what isn’t working and where new opportunities may be hiding.
How do you do it?
First things first: look at the vanity metrics. How many followers do you have? Are they engaging with your posts? Measure how quickly and in what areas your audience is growing.
Next, identify two to three competitors or similar companies. Look at their social media channels. Look to see how big their audiences are, how they’re engaging with those users and if they’re following best practices for each social channel. If they’re doing well, you know you have room to grow and the potential to make new connections. If all of your competitors are struggling, perhaps you have an opportunity to grab the attention of your market. Or it may be time to abandon that platform altogether if there is no sign of engagement with the right audiences.
Do not forget the ultimate goal: are people visiting your website? Compare your social media metrics to your Google Analytics (or however you measure your website traffic). See what channels are bringing in the most visitors and what pages keep them there. Remember, your social media strategy does not begin or end on social media. Most of the time, you want to drive people to your website to bring in business, but maybe it’s for thought-leadership or general branding purposes. Either way, this is a good analytic to study.
When should you conduct a social media audit?
We conduct social media audits when we onboard new clients. We take a look at what they’ve been doing on social media, what works and what doesn’t. We compare them to similar companies or organizations in the same space. We examine audiences on channels they may not currently be using. From that information, we build a strategy and a plan for the client.
However, this isn’t something you should complete once or only when you hire a new agency. I suggest reviewing your social strategy and tools every six to 12 months. Of course, you can measure growth against your goals on a monthly or quarterly basis but take the time to go a little deeper than that every so often.