Why Your Small Business Needs a Social Media Audit
It’s hard to deny the presence of social media in our personal and professional lives. Most small businesses now accept that having at least one social media channel is necessary to maintain status quo, even if they don’t fully understand why they’re online or what to do once they get there.
Social media for business has several important uses, like:
Reputation (think online reviews)
Once you establish your brand on Facebook, LinkedIn, or one of the newer social sharing platforms like Snapchat, your content on that medium should reflect your bigger marketing goals. The problem for many small businesses is that they don’t understand how social media fits in.
What Is a Social Media Audit?
A social media audit is a simple exercise to help you figure out if your current social media mix is working. I’ve combined two similar templates – one from the book Social Media Marketing: A Practitioner Guide and the other from HootSuite. I like this combined template because it’s simple but still focuses on social media as a marketing tool.
The template is straightforward enough. You record each network where you have a profile, copy/paste the URL, list the number of followers, and who’s responsible for maintaining the account. Apart from marketing, this information is useful for basic record-keeping purposes, and later, a starting point for benchmarking and planning.
The Mission Statement – A Must-Have for Every Social Network
For every social network, you should have a clearly defined purpose for being there. The mission statement is a one-sentence objective to guide actions and content for that specific channel. To help you in forming the mission statement, ask yourself:
What’s our primary reason for being on this network?
Who is our target audience?
What content/services/products/offers/etc are we publishing to that audience?
Combined, a sample mission statement for a boutique retailer on Pinterest might be:
We will use Pinterest to display our new products and fashion trends to our younger potential customers between 18 and 30 years old.
A more traditional, service-type business might have a mission statement that looks like this:
We will use LinkedIn to share relevant news about the company’s employees, hiring notices, and industry trends with our current clients and circle of influencers in and around Western PA.
After you write your mission statement, look at the previous posts on that network. Do they match your objective? If Yes, great! Check the Y box in your audit spreadsheet. If No, adjust your content going forward.
The final component of the social media audit is a (very) brief competitive analysis. You want to compare your top two competitors and how many followers they have on that network. If they have significantly more followers than you, what are they doing that you could emulate or learn from? If they’re not on that network at all, then you’ve got a great positioning tool – use it to your advantage.
Of course, this exercise assumes that your business is on the right channels to begin with. To do this, find out who uses the network and how. Look at demographic and behavioral data; this is usually available in each network’s About Us (or similarly titled) section.
Other uses of the social media audit:
Identify and delete fake or outdated accounts
Assess if the current social media mix is working
Help a company scale up their social media as they grow
Determine the direction for future content
Benchmark against the company and its main competitors
The social media audit is a starting point for better understanding your company’s social media use. On a basic level, you may find that profile pictures, company descriptions, etc need updated.
To get the most benefit, use the audit as one tool in your social media and online marketing planning toolbox.
You’ll start to have questions about content creation, audience targeting, the role of paid content and new media, and suddenly, you have the beginning of a plan.
The beginning of the year is a great time to reassess your social media goals. If you don’t know where to start, or if you think you might need help conducting a social media audit, contact us.