How to Perform a Social Media Audit
Social media marketing has rapidly become a key component in most digital marketing campaigns. For agencies just breaching this new territory, it can be overwhelming at the beginning. Clients can run the gamut from creating one barebones social profile to maintaining multiple disorganized ones – and it’s up to you to sort them all out. Between forging a posting schedule for an abandoned profile and nailing down the target audience for dozens of haphazard sites, deciding what to do next can take some real effort. That’s why it’s so critical to run a social media audit at the onset; to figure out what your clients have, what they need, and what to do next.
What is a Social Media Audit?
The basis of a social media audit is to compile the client’s social media assets for an accurate assessment of their online presence. After getting a comprehensive summary, the next step is to decide where improvements can be made. Then, what actions to take to get their online presence where it needs to be.
Since each client will be coming to you with a unique portfolio, it’s important to know as much information as possible to move forward. Social Media audits are also occasionally provided as a service, much like something you would expect from a consultant, for companies that want to keep execution completely in-house.
Taking Stock of Their Current Accounts
There are hundreds of social media channels out there. Many clients will have a few accounts and will be able to provide you with a list. The fewer, the simpler in usual cases. Some clients will have already accrued many social media accounts, especially those with previous experience utilizing Search Engine Optimization marketing. These clients will be more difficult to audit due to the sheer volume of accounts and diversified activity.
The first step in taking stock of their current accounts is to ask. Typically this is something that you can include on a client intake form or during an initial meeting.
After getting this list, you’ll have to do some searching. Almost every client has some social media accounts that have slipped their mind. Doing a quick Google search of some variants of the client’s name will help to turn up any accounts they forgot about. (Remember to use the ‘~’ search operator with terms like “Co.”! Searching for “~Co.” will include results such as Co, company, and other variants.)
If it seems like your client might have a large number of dormant accounts, use something like namechk.com to search for their usernames over hundreds of channels.
Finding the Ideal Channels
Now that you know what social media channels they’re already using, you need to figure out which they should be using. A good rule of thumb is to automate three channels for every active channel. For example, if a client actively runs a Facebook campaign, they should connect it to their Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ for optimum exposure versus workload. It’s important to keep active profiles, but managing their time well is equally as important.
Picking the right channels can be complicated, especially taking demographics and target audiences into account. Generally speaking, however, businesses that operate locally work best on Facebook. National brands see greater success on Twitter. Pinterest and Instagram work well for those with visually stunning products.
Finding additional channels will require research, especially as the social web becomes increasingly niche-based. A quick way to determine the usefulness of a social media channel is to look at its top influencers: do they align with your brand? If so, that channel might be a good fit. While picking out channels, make sure to jot down some notes on why you’re choosing them – you’ll need them later!
Are the Basics in Place?
With your list of current and potential accounts in place, you can start looking at how they’re being utilized.
For Current Channels
Determining what needs to be done on current channels is more difficult than with new ones. This is mainly because you’ll need to work in an already existing structure, and will inevitably need to critique something the client has written themselves. Make sure your notes are as kind as possible, or at the very least focus on exclusively constructive criticism.
Things that you should be looking for on existing channels:
- Are all their image slots filled? Having a profile picture, a cover image, and a few other photos is a good idea.
- Is their business name correct? Local citations can have a big impact on digital marketing campaigns, so make sure their profile name matches on every online property.
- Are they using a vanity URL? These make it easier to send people to your social media and are crucial for cross-media campaigns.
- Is their business information correct? Accurate addresses, phone numbers, and websites are key.
- Do they have expanded information? Business history, description of services, hours of operation, and more can help them get discovered. Well-written descriptions can even convert visitors.
If you find any of these missing, document them and what needs to be done for completion. When there are changes necessary, write notes for those as well, along with a few reasons why they should be changed.
For Ideal Channels
This section is simpler since you’re just compiling a list of resources to complete profiles. Typically these include profile image, business name, address, phone number, website, and a description of the business. Some channels offer much more, so make sure to take advantage of expanded fields when possible.
Creating Consistency Across Channels
Now that you know everything you need for marketing collateral, it’s important to enforce consistency across each of them. This doesn’t mean that every image and blurb of text should be identical, but they should be similar.
If your client already has a well put-together style guide, this step is easy. Otherwise, you’ll need to define the common threads they want to portray across the digital landscape. When possible, make sure they are utilizing similar profile pictures across different social media channels to make it clear to identify their brand.
Measuring for Effectiveness
You probably have an idea of how a good social media campaign goes; regular posting, useful content, engagement with the community, etc. Now you’ll need to take your client from where they currently are to where they need to be. Each channel will have its own unique features, but these are some main factors to look for:
Regular Posting and Reach
While regularity will vary from client to client, making sure they put content on their social media is necessary. If they are having trouble keeping content up, suggest tools like a social media scheduler or automating less influential channels.
On a related note, if they are posting regularly but the content just isn’t getting anywhere, provide them with guidance on how to improve. For Twitter, this might include rotating popular hashtags on posts, or for Pinterest, it might mean a different layout for images.
Engagement and Interactivity
Besides being a great lead generation tool, social media is often used to build up the reputation of a brand. Check that your client is receiving regular engagement with their content, and if they aren’t, suggest solutions. A common way to improve engagement is by utilizing images and video, or by posing questions.
Also, note the responsiveness of your client. Do they respond quickly and appropriately? Do they scarcely respond? Find methods that will help them to stay on top of their customer’s interactions.
Are They Missing the Mark?
What if your client is doing all of the above, but still isn’t getting the attention they should? It’s possible that the channel they’re using might just be a bad match.
[twitter_link]Not every social media channel is good for every business, and sometimes replacing old accounts is the best solution.[/twitter_link]
Holding the Bottom Line
Even if all the other statistics are performing under your expectations, if your main conversion metrics are successful, then don’t worry too much! Distill what’s working for your client, determine ways to duplicate the results, and then find ways that they can repeat for improvement.
Creating an Audit Report
You should now have a small stack of notes and data points. All that’s left is to put them together in a professional format. Here’s a simple breakdown of how to structure your report:
- The cover page: typically includes your agency name, the client’s name, the name of the report, and the date it was compiled.
- State social media goals: put what your client wants from their campaign here, what goals are realistic, and a brief overview of how it will be achieved.
- Analysis of each channel: Break down each channel that they currently use and should be using. Talk about the statistics you’ve found, what changes should be made, and why.
- One-time action list: Place all the action items that will only need to be done once.Things like the initial completion of account descriptions and uploading profile pictures go here.
- Recurring campaign outline: This piece goes over what needs to completed on a recurring basis. Any notes on how content should be handled, posting schedules, and content types should be organized here.
- Conclusion: A restatement of their social media goals and the “next steps” that your client should take to get started.
With your report in hand, you can now feel confident about your client’s social media direction! Place your report in a well-designed PDF, and send it off (or better yet, go over it in person). Have any further questions? Drop a comment below!