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How to perform a stress-free social media audit

It’s that time of the year again where you need to review your past social media strategies and fix holes in your methods. Social media audits take a lot of patience, but they are a necessary evil.

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! In this guide you’ll get step-by-step instructions along with a nifty social media audit template to make this process as smooth as possible.

Ready to roll up your sleeves? Let’s get auditing!

What is a social media audit?

You’ve probably heard the word audit before, and even the mention of it might spark a shiver down your spine (sorry about that). There’s a tax audit, financial audit, compliance audit - you get the picture. To put it simply an audit just means to analyze or review something. It sounds scary, but it doesn’t have to be!

A social media audit is a process that involves looking at all aspects of your business’s channels and performance. Performing a social media health check is key to uncovering your company’s strengths and weaknesses so they can develop a sound strategy based on data.

Once you’ve conducted your social media audit you’ll be able to see the big picture and zoom in on the small details. Rolling up your sleeves and digging into the numbers will allow you to see where you’re wasting your resources, which channels are bringing in the most results, and how your social media efforts are impacting your web results.

It’s so easy to lose sight of these day-to-day details with so many different channels and content to keep an eye on. So, enjoy this part of the process. Conducting a social media review is the time where you can see the fruits of your labor come to life, or get inspired and begin to plan your next move.

Once you have a social media audit document in place, it should be pretty easy to input the data regularly. The hardest part is getting started.

How to conduct a social media audit

Start by listing your social media profiles

Before you can even set your social media review in motion you’ll need to list all of your profiles. That means your Twitter account, your Facebook, your Instagram, your Myspace (okay, well, maybe you can leave that one out) – you get the idea. The rule of thumb here is, if you use it, list it.

Once you have your master list ready you should organize them neatly into a document or excel sheet. We’ve already done some groundwork for you and have created this social media audit template to set you on the right track. Feel free to add or edit in any way you see fit to cover bases that are more specific to your company. We’ve included the major social media platforms in our social media template to get you started.

Once you have your master list ready you should organize them neatly into a document or excel sheet. We’ve already done some groundwork for you and have created this social media audit template to set you on the right track. Feel free to add or edit in any way you see fit to cover bases that are more specific to your company. We’ve included the major social media platforms in our social media template to get you started.

While there will be some profiles that are more active than others, you should include each channel where your company is present. This can get even more challenging if your company has multiple social media profiles for their other regions or brands. Though including all of this information can seem daunting, it’s always better to have more information than less.

Dig into your social media analytics

Some metrics can be applied to your social media review across the board. Others will be a little different because they may be specific to that platform. For example, Shares are super important on Facebook but don’t exist on Instagram. As a result, each social media platform will vary a bit. You’ll be able to get your hands on your social media performance metrics using native analytics, or you can take advantage of our free trial to complete your social media audit template with ease.

Now we’ll go into different metrics you should track and explain why they matter.

1. Follower growth

Follower growth isn’t everything - but it’s essential to know where you stand. Back in the day follower growth was a metric many brands strived to boost. Today, we know that follower growth is more of a vanity metric than anything else. What is important, however, is that you grow a loyal following of people which will be more likely to interact with your content. Bigger doesn’t always mean better.

So, what should you look out for? If there are huge drops in followers try to understand what may have accounted for those losses. It could be that this happened at a time when social media platforms were actively removing fake accounts or where you changed up your social media strategy. Pinpointing where your followers began to drop off is crucial to your social media audit.

Most common reasons for loss of followers

  • Fake account clean-up

  • Lack of relevant content 

  • Over-posting

  • Offensive content 

  • Company PR crisis

Getting a breakdown of your follower growth is extremely easy. Just jump into your social media analytics account and start filtering by date range to get an accurate overview of where you stand. Record your Total Change of Fans during the time period you are observing.

In the image above, we chose to conduct a quarterly audit. In this case, we would input 6,533 in our social media template. To then take it a step further we would calculate the change of fans by calculating the quarter over quarter growth.

2. Audiences demographics

You can take your analysis a step further by breaking down your follower growth by the distribution of regions or countries. Recording this information is extremely important because it gives you insight into who you are attracting. If your company has a goal to be prominent in a certain market, but you notice a different region is taking the lead, you can revisit your strategy and come up with a plan to put your company back on track.

TIP: Keep in mind that audience demographics differ from platform to platform. While LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook allow you to see a breakdown of audience location every month, Instagram will only show you this information every week. This is why it’s especially important to keep a record of these changes. To make your life easier you don’t have to add Instagram’s audience changes to your social media audit every week. Just be sure to include your findings in your regular reporting.

Gender and age are also important metrics to keep an eye on. In native tools such as Facebook Insights, you can see a breakdown of your audience by gender and age. However, keep in mind that the audience insights Facebook provides are derived from audiences that have Liked your page. With audience persona tools you take your audit to a new level by looking into the audience demographics of only your active community members. Taking a look at your active data helps you better understand which groups are engaging with your brand, which in turn can be used to fuel your content ideas and perfect your targeting.

3. Audience interests

It’s safe to say that audience interests play a huge role in your social media strategy, which means your social media audit wouldn't be complete without this information. Unfortunately, the audience interests each social media platform provides varies - or isn’t mentioned at all. With LinkedIn you’ll be able to track things like “Top 5 Job Functions,” “Seniority,” or “Industry,” which gives you a little insight into who your audience is and what their interests are (somewhat). Facebook, on the other hand, provides information on “Top Job Titles” or “Pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on Facebook Page likes”. Then there are platforms like Instagram where there are no interests listed at all.

With the help of third-party tools you can get a consolidated view of who your active audiences are across your web and social media platforms. This is an effortless way to get a bird's eye view of who your biggest supporters are so you can attract buyer personas that are similar to your known audience.

Learning which Pages your active audience is interacting with can help you get a feel for what they are interested in based on what content they like. This is especially essential for enterprise brands as they’ll be able to get a clear view of how each of their regions differ from each other. After all, the key to good marketing is through content personalization!

Looking at the page affinities your audiences like is a quick and easy way to get inspired. From there you can dive into some social media analytics to discover exactly which content is getting the most interactions. Are they posting how to’s? Contests? Live videos? Find what’s working for them and see if there is a way you can adapt this content for your own channels.

If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! We have a great resource that will help you. Take a detour and check out this blog on Why Knowing Your Audience is Key in Content Marketing.

4. Reach

Reach is nothing new - marketers have been relying on this metric since the dawn of advertising. It’s just as relevant today as it was then - we now just have the tools to track it with precision.

Reach is one of the most important metrics to track across your social media platforms. While interactions help demonstrate the quality of your content, reach can show you just how much bang you're getting out of a post. With reach constantly changing with every algorithm update it’s absolutely essential to keep tabs on this metric. After all what good is content if no one is seeing it anyway?

There is a multitude of different ways you can react based on your reach health. For example, if you notice that one platform just isn’t giving your content enough visibility, you may want to reconsider where you are spending your resources. Or perhaps your goal is to promote brand awareness; if this is the case reach is your best friend. But reach, of course, is just a piece of the puzzle if brand awareness is your goal. Whether or not you’ve done it successfully will depend on your engagement - which leads us to our next section...

5. Engagement

There are many different ways you can break engagement down. You can look at comments, shares, likes all separately or you can lump them together. Your social media audit should cover both the whole picture, along with smaller parts, to give you an in-depth overview of your social media health.

To get the full picture we think it’s best if you take a look at the average Number of Interactions per 1,000 Followers. This metric will give you a more accurate look at your engagement levels relative to the size of your community. Be sure to do this for all of your platforms every month for your regular reporting. For the purpose of your social media audit, you’ll want to look at the Sum per Period metric.

If you are consistent with your record-keeping you’ll be able to pinpoint significant changes and uncover the reasons why. For example, you’ll notice there is a huge spike in engagement for the month of March. If we caught this during a social media audit we would want to look into this a little further and find out if this was because we posted more than usual, an event took place, or a new content format was experimented with.

Not sure how much engagement you should be expecting? Check out these exclusive stats on Instagram engagement to start your social media audit off on the right foot.

6. Engagement metrics by average

Don’t just rely on the bigger picture - get granular! It sounds strenuous but it can be really easy. Here is a list of metrics you should track by calculating the monthly average in tandem with the quarter over quarter growth rate:

  • Reach

  • Post Likes

  • Comments 

  • Reactions (Facebook)

  • Shares (Facebook) 

  • Retweets (Twitter)

  • Pins (Pinterest) 

  • Mentions 

Some metrics will have different names depending on the platform. For example, “Shares” come in many shapes and sizes. On Pinterest, you’ll refer to Shares as Repins while on Twitter they’ll be called Retweets. Once you've collected all this data, you're making some great progress.

7. Publishing frequency

Have you noticed your engagement levels are going down even though you’re creating quality content? You may want to check your posting frequency. Posting too much or too little can have a detrimental effect on your overall reach and engagement. Use your social media analytics tools to find out how much you’re posting a day, on average.

Learning how often you need to publish gets you closer to perfecting your current workflow. If you notice that you perform better when you publish more, you may be in a position to ask for another team member who can take on some of the workload.

Not sure how much you should be posting on each social media platform? Don’t worry, many marketers are in the dark when it comes to publishing frequency.

8. Most engaging content formats

It’s no secret that Facebook formats are not all loved equally, results differ with every algorithm change - nothing is static. Meaning, that Facebook favors some formats over others, especially if they are new.

Point is, what will be your top performer one month, may not come in first place the next. Finding out which content types are coming in first place every month is easy to do with social media analytics tools, and only takes a second. In the image below, you’ll notice that our Photos account for nearly half of all engagement - that shows we’re doing something right. While links used to be one of our most engaging formats, you’ll know they’re now at the bottom of the list. This could mean we should include links to our blog within our top-performing posts to keep referral traffic stable, or perhaps experiment with description text in link posts to see if that makes a difference or not.

9. Top-performing posts

This is a fun one that doesn’t require much work. Simply take a screenshot of your best-performing posts across platforms every month or copy and paste the URL of your posts into the social media audit. Think of this as your content spotlight. Tracking which posts are resonating with your audience can also give you intel on what topics your audience is interested in, which content formats they prefer, and how they interact with posts on average.

Here’s a look at our best-performing content on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the quarter. This gives us a quick look at our social media bests. We instantly see that our best Facebook post received 178 interactions - 46 of which were shares. You’ll also notice that the same post was repurposed for Instagram, which also became a monthly top performer with 313 interactions.

These top posts show us that our audiences on these platforms are interested in fun data with quirky insights that make them go “Haha.” A key takeaway for us is that we should smartly repurpose content to fit other platforms. You’ll notice we included a chart in our Facebook post and included some office shots in our Instagram post. From our Twitter post, we’re able to tell that our audience is a bit more serious, but has the same interest in social media data. This illustrative image of platform usage was Retweeted 55 times.

10. Source Traffic

Google Analytics is a perfect solution that can show you exactly when platforms are getting you the most referral traffic down to the very product page. With this data, you can see which of your content is resonating with your audiences most.

There are so many different things you can discover through this quick analysis. Notice a popular trend in the pieces that are generating the most traffic? Maybe this could help point you in the right direction of what to post, or even who to target.

Perhaps you notice that month-to-month social media is generating less traffic to your website. If this is the case you may need to reevaluate your social media content strategy and pinpoint the reasons why. It could range from poor quality content to lack of links. It’s easy to get lost in the 24-hour News Feed chaos which is why it’s always best to know where you stand.

Follow these steps to take a look at your referral traffic by social media platform:

  1. Log into your Google Analytics account and select the time range you want to analyze

  2. Go to the Behavior section on the left-hand side

  3. Go to Site Content and click on “All Pages”

  4. Click on “Secondary Dimension”

  5. Type in “source” and click on “Source/Medium”

  6. Type in the name of your webpage in the search bar on the right-hand side

  7. Click on the “Advanced” button next to the search bar 

  8. Click “Add a dimension or metric” 

  9. Type in “source” and click on “Source/Medium” 

  10. Type in the name of the social media platform you want to analyze in the box next to the “containing” button

  11. Click “Apply”

  12. Enjoy beautiful data sheet! 

To simplify this process you can also make use of dashboards to get instant stats on how your social media performance is contributing to your web traffic. With dashboards in Emplifi, you can get an aggregated view of all of your organic social media traffic or you can see into which specific platforms are bringing in the most traffic.

11. Community management

This is a big one. Having social customer care is no longer an option. According to Social Media Today, 67% of all consumers look to Twitter and Facebook to seek out resolutions to their problems. With community management growing more and more every single year, it’s safe to say that your social media audit should include information on your performance in this department.

Here’s what you should look out for:

Community Sentiment: are your comments positive or negative? Track these changes over time with social media listening tools and sentiment labeling.

Question Response Rate: what is the percentage of questions your company responded to vs. questions that remained unanswered?

Average Response Time: how long does it typically take your company to field questions and inquiries on your social media channels?

Luckily with the help of social media marketing platforms, you can easily get updated on your community management progress. Keeping tabs on your community management metrics will enable you to provide your customers with better service. Are you answering more questions than usual? Maybe you’ll need to hire a community manager to help out. Are you answering questions faster than the previous month? Perhaps you can reward your team!

Customers no longer rely on one means of contact to get in touch with your company. Some may make contact through Twitter while others may use email. With many different communication channels, it can be easy to let messages or questions slip through the cracks. To keep your efforts organized it’s best to use a community management tool that will notify your team about incoming questions in real-time.

12. Branding

You are almost done with your social media audit. Congratulations!

The last part of your social media audit should investigate the branding aspects of your social media profiles. Companies change frequently, and with many social media platforms to keep track of, updating information such as profile bios can often be left on the back burner. Be sure to monitor everything from your profile pictures, cover photos, “About Me” section, and company information. Remember to visit your free social media template to fill in your brand checklist. If your company has multiple regional pages, this can get even more complicated.

Take a look at the examples from Airbnb’s Twitter and Facebook profile below for inspiration.

TIP: Each platform has its own style; so it’s okay if your bios vary a little bit – they don’t need to be exactly the same. Just make sure that the focus and facts are all aligned. However, do make sure that the links you provide in your bios are all leading to the same source. Make finding your company's web page or promotional landing pages easy for your community members.

In addition to the visual aspects of your pages, you’ll also want to make sure your tone of voice is consistent. Are you humorous on Instagram but serious on Twitter? You’ll want to ensure that your company’s brand persona is recognizable, no matter the channel.

The takeaway

Conducting a social media audit can be time-consuming, but it’s absolutely necessary. Auditing your strategy, performance, and branding regularly can prevent you from repeating the same mistakes over a long period of time and shed light on what you’re doing right.

Luckily, with the right social media tools you can shrink hours of work into just a few minutes. Sound too good to be true? See for yourself! Take our free trial for a spin to get everything you need to conduct your own social media audit in seconds. Take a deep dive into analytics to assess your performance, integrate your Google Analytics into easy-to-use dashboards, and set up automated reports sent straight to your inbox so you’ll never have to look at a scary spreadsheet again.

With the right social media marketing partner you can make audits #easy.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on socialbakers.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.

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