It’s hard to deny the potential business benefits of an actively engaged brand social media community.
The Sprout Social Index XVII found that 89% of consumers will buy from a brand if they follow it on social media, and 75% will increase their spending with that brand. Hootsuite’s 2021 Social Trends report reinforced this point, finding that the No. 1 social media marketing goal is to increase new customer acquisition.
This transactional mindset—attract new followers to increase your reach and potentially drive sales—is common for brands. But for social media teams to unlock the full potential of their channels, they must consistently provide actual value to their online communities.
We recommend conducting a social media channel audit to understand if your social media strategy drives its intended results and continues to delight your communities. Here’s why.
What Is A Social Media Audit?
A social media channel audit is a systematic process in which you review all of your company’s social media channels, as well as your competitor or coopetition’s social media channels. This involves any online presence for your brand, whether active or not, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Clubhouse, or Reddit (among many others).
If your team invests in thought leadership activities with designated brand spokespeople, you will also review those online presences during the audit.
Your audit can take any variety of formats or styles. Use a Google or Word document, spreadsheet, or whatever tool you prefer, as long as your team can effectively document key information about your channels, filter and sort your data to find trends, and organize next steps to act on these findings.
We recommend conducting at least an annual social media channel audit. However, a twice-annual or quarterly audit could help your team adjust its course mid-year as needed. Keep in mind that a thorough audit will typically last at least six hours over a business week, if not longer, so weekly or monthly audits are simply an inefficient use of your team resources.
Why Do You Need to Conduct A Social Media Channel Audit?
A social media audit helps you understand whether your social media strategy drives the intended business results. An effective social media audit will help your team better understand:
- How your social media channels are performing
- Whether you have a cohesive brand identity across social media channels
- Which channels have duplicate, inactive, or unsanctioned accounts
- If there are new trending post styles that your team can leverage
- Ways to improve your social media content strategy
Social media marketers are often so deeply enmeshed in the day-to-day management of their channels that they forget to stop and ask whether they should be doing something differently or if the experience they provide is on par with or better than their competition’s.
Simply put, a social media audit is the most effective way to improve the quality of your online communities.
What Should Your Audit Include?
A social media audit is an incredibly valuable process for teams, and it is easier to conduct than you may think.
An audit will gather various key performance indicators (KPIs) for your channels and help you measure these KPIs over time. Generally, an audit will benchmark the following for your brand and your closest sales and content competitors:
- The number of people in your online communities/follower count
- Content cadence or posting frequency by channel
- Engagement on your content
- Which type(s) of posts garner the highest engagement
Your team’s defined social media goals should influence the additional KPIs you measure during the audit.
After you collect your initial data, spend the bulk of your audit time reviewing individual posts and assessing what type of content (format, tone, channel, or time of post) garners the most engagement. This will help you uncover if there are new post styles and topics you should explore.
Refine Your Social Audit Over Time
Your first few social media channel audits may feel challenging or confusing, or you may be surprised by how long the process takes. Be patient with yourself, and remember that you will become more efficient with each audit you conduct.
If you are looking for best practices for conducting a social media audit, the #ContentChat community of content marketers shared their advice to help you throughout your social media audit.
If you plan to attend Content Marketing World 2021, which is a hybrid event from September 28 – October 1, don’t miss our consultancy founder Erika Heald’s session on How To Conduct A Social Media Audit That Helps Your Community Thrive. Get $100 off your registration with code HEALD100 if you haven’t already grabbed your tickets!