With a quarter of the planet’s population using social media regularly, having a social media marketing strategy is no longer optional. But just being online isn’t good enough when you have the world at your fingertips. Are you using social media platforms to their best potential?  

Not sure? Maybe it’s time to conduct a social media audit.

Once, online conversations felt akin to shouting into the wind, but today’s social media channels break down referral traffic and engagement to highlight key performance indicators (KPI) and where improvement is possible.

What Is a Social Media Audit?

If you’ve ever had the tax man audit your books, the term “audit” probably puts fear into you, but it’s just taking stock of the value and effectiveness behind what you do online. Anything worth doing is worth doing well, right? This audit discerns whether you’re getting a good return on your investment in social networks.

Here are six steps to learn more about your online presence.

Step 1: Create an Audit Spreadsheet

Get started by creating a social media audit spreadsheet. Google Documents has shareable group spreadsheets for team-wide use and real-time editing. You could put all your social media accounts on the one page, but it’s probably easiest to create a new tab within the spreadsheet for each social network or platform.

Each social account will have different metrics to track. Creating an audit spreadsheet allows you to track social media performance month after month, year after year.

Here, compile information on each account, including:

  • Profile name and corresponding URL
  • Metrics that include engagement, publishing, and channel-specific data
  • Audience demographics
  • Referral traffic

Step 2: Account Check-up

Consistency is the penultimate goal of online identities. Make sure you’re on-brand with identity and messaging across all your accounts. Do a “branding check-up” on your spreadsheet. Make note of what’s kosher or where changes are needed.

For each account, investigate the following:

  • Imaging: Are profile and cover photos current and relevant to your brand? Are they high-resolution and well-cropped? Are profile shots consistent with other social media accounts? Are the cover photos proper dimensions for the social media channels in question? Sprout Social’s Landscape can help you create a universal profile photo.
  • Profile: Are your social media profiles’ bios current and accurate with your brand? Is the account name consistent across social channels, and if not, can you make changes? If it’s a local or regional account, have you listed the location? There’s nothing worse than a Twitter account for a local business that doesn’t even say what city it’s in.
  • Links and Posts: Do you have a current, proper link on the profile page? Test the link to see if it works. Have you capitalized on pinned posts yet? If your pinned post is stale or expired, change it up. If you haven’t pinned a post yet, either choose one for an ongoing campaign, or find an evergreen post that nails brand messaging.
  • Style and More: Tone of voice and style (grammar, approach) need to be consistent across all channels too. Also, take a look now and see if you’ve had all your accounts verified. If not, add that on your to-do list, because it’s important for customer service purposes.

And if you’ve got bricks-and-mortar locations, it’s a good idea to add Google Maps to your account check-up. Have you claimed your business? Are the hours right? Is the location accurate? Even having inaccurate information can cause reviewers to rate you “one star” out of exasperation, so now’s the time to make sure you’re on point.

Step 3: Take Stock

Do you know what works for you? Do you understand why? Evaluating your top-performing content can be a gold mine of understanding what resonates with your audience, and why. Each platform has analytics, but you might learn from trying content analysis from Buzzsumo too.

Things to note on your spreadsheet include where Google Analytics says all your referral traffic comes from, who’s following your page or account, key Facebook insights, and other intriguing details on performance.

The goal here is to understand who your audience is and what types of content work best for them. Once you’re done sorting through top posts, you should understand what social accounts are performing best for you and where you get the most conversions.

Step 4: Streamline for Excellence

It’s bad for your brand if you have an account but don’t monitor it; don’t have an account just because you think you should – if it doesn’t add to your brand, it hurts it, so it’s got to go.

Everyone’s always looking for the next Twitter or the next Facebook as scandals continue dogging the social giants, but no one has dethroned them yet. Ello, MeWe, and other sites have had their moment in the sun, but their audiences haven’t taken off. Unfortunately, brands often knee-jerk open accounts on such sites, then have neglected social media profiles as a result. Either tend to the account or ditch it; neglected accounts are bad for brand identity. Note dormant accounts that should be deleted.

Do a web search for accounts too. Tools like Namechk and Knowem may lead you to obscure social accounts created for your brand before your time, or you may find suspect accounts that could be run by imposters or are simply a mystery as to who set it up. You can create an “unknown accounts” tab for such sites and deal with them later.

But don’t just do business-as-usual because your accounts are on big social channels. Even the big sites could be time poorly spent for you, once you take a hard look at their target audiences versus yours. If you’re aiming products at Baby Boomers, then Snapchat might not be a good ROI for you, so it might be time to nix Snapchat and focus on Facebook and Twitter instead.

Step 5: Security Check-Up

Are you vulnerable to spiteful employees? Can you be hacked? Do you know where the passwords are? Having password control is critical. Employees come and go, but the account needs to stay with you, accessed by your team. And this isn’t just about security, it’s about being able to act when needed without having to rely on third-party access to social platforms.

When Facebook locked out APIs for days in 2018, most brands scrambled and got caught under an avalanche of non-responsiveness when they couldn’t manually take charge of their accounts.

Take steps now to ensure that won’t happen to you. Password-control tools keep your account access centralized and secure.

We Do Audits, Too

It’s relatively easy to get a sense of where you stand in the social media world, but it’s a whole other thing to improve your standing. It takes constant vigilance, 24/7 attention, relatable engagement, compelling content, and so much more.

It’s a deft blend of monitoring for mentions of not just you but your products and competitors. It’s about listening to your audience far beyond complaints and praise, by building on that and learning how you can capitalize on loyalty while winning new customers.

As comprehensive as this is, it only scratches the surface of how deep metrics and social audits can go. Learn our top tips for completing a social media audit.

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