Black Vanilla’s Five-Step Guide to Social Media Audits
During the summer, Black Vanilla hosted JT’s digital intern, Tessa Dutton-Queripel. Tessa was tasked to complete a social media audit for the telecoms brand, and together we’ve put together this guide to analysing your social media presence.
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit is a way of measuring, understanding, reporting and ultimately improving an organisation’s social media performance. A social audit will also help to narrow the gap between an organisation’s social media aims and the reality of its effectiveness.
Why do an audit?
Auditing is the most effective way to gauge your brand’s social performance over a period of time. The intelligence gained will then help to inform a plan to improve the channels.
You get a snapshot of how well your channels are performing against SMART objectives and against the competition. Auditing also catches any inconsistencies or old brand information that has crept onto the pages and you can ensure that the branding is correct across all channels.
Importantly, because social media does not stand still, an audit it a chance to check you are using the channel to its full capacity and the latest functionality.
Step-by-step social media audit
Step 1 – Get ready
Start by taking a list of the channels your brand has a profile on and set up a spreadsheet to capture the audit information. You can create separate tabs for each social network. Recording the audit professionally also ensures you can compare with performance in the future to track the impact of any improvements you make.
Decide what period of time the audit will investigate. Six to 12 months will give you a robust report.
Step 2- Assess the consistency of the social profiles
First, check your social profiles are consistent and up to date, this will avoid confusion amongst your audience when they view your brand across different channels. Some considerations are:
- How your profile looks – header and profile images – make sure they’re current
- Bio and messaging – be sure they’re current and consistent
- Links – make sure all links are up to date and working
Note: Consistent doesn’t necessarily mean identical, different channels are often to set up to appeal to a different audience group, following a set of brand guidelines will help get this right. Use Likalyzer as a quick cheat to check your Facebook page is set up well.
Step 3 – Record metrics to understand performance
This is where your spreadsheet really comes in handy. Type in the following metrics from the accounts you actively use:
- Comments (recording positive/negative sentiment)
- Number of followers
- Post reach
- Top posts (record the type of post as well as post content)
- Top influencers
- A/B paid post results
Record the data relating to these metrics, using the social channels own measurement capabilities. Or for a more sophisticated and in-depth appraisal, try some of our recommended social media measurement tools:
Hootsuite – For Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram
TweetReach – For Twitter only
Buzzsumo – For content research and Facebook analysis
Social Mention – For finding where online and on social your brand is being mentioned
Don’t just look at month to month changes, because, for example, January is often very different than December due to holiday sales, for example.
These monthly metrics can help to inform your social media strategy, helping you to discover where you may need to upweight paid posts versus organic for example.
Step 4 – Assess your metrics against your aims and refine your strategy
With actual numbers in hand, you’ll see whether you’ve met, exceeded, or fallen short of the goals you set for your brand. For each goal, you want to know how your action or has impacted your results. For example, if you wanted to increase engagement, but your likes/reactions, share/retweets, etc. have fallen. Do you have to ask why is that the case? Are you posting enough? Too much? Is your content too impersonal or promotional? Are you focusing on the wrong channels?
Armed with the facts you can then refocus your social strategy to improve or adapt to changing business aims or other external factors.
Step 5 – Look beyond your brand
One of social media’s greatest advantages is its transparency. Use it to your best advantage against your competitors by analysing their social strategies. Examine how they communicate brand values, product information, and how they handle customer care. Look at which influencers are giving them an edge, and which may not be having the desired effect.
Beware bots and dark social
Dark social refers to social sharing that is done outside of a channel’s measurable systems. For example, a LinkedIn post shared via messaging as opposed to on a user’s own feed. This is particularly relevant when you want to track the success of content housed on your website but shared via social media. In this instance, Google Analytics will reveal the amount of direct traffic to the URL, at least a portion of which can be attributed to dark social sharing.
The rise of social bots can also cloud metrics. Beware of posts which have received a large number of simple (and often badly written) comments. Fake engagements make it hard to really know what’s working on your channel and won’t reflect well on your organisation.
Get in touch
Social media is constantly evolving, so regular audits are a great way to ensure you are keeping up with changes. You can measure, learn and refine to improve the value social media delivers for your organisation.
If you would like to talk to Black Vanilla about a social media audit or a more strategic approach to using shared media, please get in touch.