Social media needs to be a key part of an organization’s digital marketing strategy if it’s not already. What that means is going above and beyond publishing new blog posts and actively contributing to the social conversation. Especially post-pandemic, social media has been one of the primary means of staying connected and relevant, after all.
How can you tell if your current social mix is working? Follower growth aside, there are some specific ways to measure growth and progress. It starts with a social media audit.
Social Media Benefits
Marketing staff already know why their brand is on social media; what about everyone else involved in marketing and budgeting decision-making?
Social media can help professional services firms and small businesses with:
- Thought Leadership
- Reputation (think online reviews)
- Competitive Positioning
- Business Development
But sharing content for the sake of content is pointless. Once you establish your brand on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc then your content on that medium should reflect your bigger marketing goals. The problem for many firms and 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. Below, we combined two similar templates – one from the book Social Media Marketing: A Practitioner Guide and the other from Hootsuite. This combined template works well 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. Share it with HR to keep track of any third-party sites where they may need to monitor feedback, like Glassdoor.
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.
An accounting firm might have a mission statement that looks like this:
We will use LinkedIn to share relevant news about the firm’s employees, hiring notices, and industry trends with our current clients and circle of influencers in and around our region.
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 brief competitive analysis. You want to compare your top two or three competitors and how many followers they have on that network, plus any publicly available analytics data (LinkedIn and Facebook at least have some comparable data on follower growth and engagement).
If they have significantly more followers or engagement 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 to be updated. Some firms have used this as an opportunity to educate partners and managers why their LinkedIn profile needs to be optimized — because that’s the first place prospects usually go when they’re researching the firm!
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.
There’s really no bad time to assess whether your current social media mix is working and retool your social strategy. If you don’t know where to start, or if you think you might need help conducting a social media audit, contact us.