How To Do a Social Media Audit

October 3, 2011
The importance of a social media audit

If you’re new to social media, it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed — diving right in with no idea of what to do will most likely result in frustration and failure. So before you get too carried away, I recommend that you conduct a social media audit.

What is a social media audit?

A social media audit helps you begin with the end in mind, and is a roadmap to which you can refer when you feel you’ve lost sight of your destination. Having this roadmap makes it easy for you to stay on track with your social media strategy, and avoid taking detours that waste resources or take you further away from your goals.

Where to start

If the idea is to begin with the end it mind, then the first question to ask yourself is, “What is my social media goal?” The answer differs from business to business, and can be just about anything:

  • Create positive brand experiences and loyalty
  • Real-time customer support
  • Increasing awareness of my business’ worthy cause
  • Sharing industry expertise and knowledge

You may discover that you actually have two or three goals, and these goals may change over time. But it’s important that you know them, and keep them in mind whenever you participate in social media.

What to consider

If your social media goal is a bit hazy, here are some questions you should ask yourself that will help sharpen your focus.

  • Does my audience use social media? - Unless you serve some of the world’s smallest niches, chances are good that your target audience is on at least one social media platform. 16 million of Facebook’s users are 55+, and 25% of Twitter’s 106 million users follow brand Twitter accounts (with 67% of them buying that brand).
  • Which platform(s) is my audience on? - Before you start panicking about the possibility of having to maintain a presence on every social media platform, take time to do a little research. Focus your efforts on the platform where the largest number of your target audience spend their social time. If you decide that Facebook is where you should be, it’s easy to create a Twitter account that links back to that Facebook page — so if someone does search for you on Twitter, they can still end up at the right place.
  • What are my competitors doing? - Are any of your competitors participating in social media? Where are they succeeding, and in what aspects? What do their goals seem to be? What can you learn from them, or use to succeed where they are failing?

Conducting the audit

Audit by developing a snapshot of your current social media presence.

  • On which platform(s) do you have an account?
  • Are those accounts branded properly? Do you have a good name, descriptions, photos, logos, links, etc. where they should be, or is everything still set to default?
  • How often do you post to each platform?
  • How many followers or fans do you currently have?
  • Do those followers interact with the posts you write? Which posts get the most interaction (questions versus statements, photos versus text)?

Compare and contrast

Now that you’ve got a good idea of what your current behaviors on social media are, consider whether they are assisting or preventing you from reaching your goals. If you see that you’re doing a terrible job of responding to people’s questions or complaints, but your goal is to use social media to provide excellent customer service, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Comparing your current actions with your goals lets you see where you’re going wrong, and can help you get back on the right track.

What to do next

If you didn’t have a social media goal, or your actions didn’t match the goal you do have, now is the perfect time to make changes. Start using your social media accounts with your goals in mind, and don’t forget to measure and track success.

Do you have any tips for someone working through a social media audit? What helped you conduct yours? Let us know in the comments!

Related Links

[Image: the trial]