Even pros make mistakes. That’s why it’s crucial to review your social channels regularly. It’s even more important to remain objective when conducting your own audit — evaluate your channels from an outside perspective, whether it be that of a business prospect, potential employee, customer or stakeholder.
You’re going to have to go undercover and spy on your own channels. It can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint weaknesses if your channels appear outwardly active and engaged, but there is almost always something to be improved on in this constantly evolving space. Can you use your channels to win more eNewsletter sign ups? Can your site be more optimized for social sharing? Are you making your blog a priority?
Before you begin your audit, you’ll need some backup to provide you with the hard facts, but inevitably lack a certain degree of depth. Is this beginning to sound like an action-mystery movie comparison to anyone else? These special agents are your auditing tools. You can find a multitude of them online but be wary, some of them are double agents and they’ll give you faulty data.
Choosing the right tools comes down to a question of detail. How skilled do you need your special agents to be? Is this a low-key stakeout or a high priority rescue mission? If you’re looking to bring in the heavy hitters, you may need to make a small investment for subscription services and/or paid tools. Remember: Getting access to historical data can be pricey, especially for Twitter data, so we suggest at least three month commitment before your audit if you’re serious about capturing the data you need to really drill down on performance.
Paid tools generally offer more detailed and trustworthy information, resources and graphics. A couple of our personal favourites are Social Report for cross-channel analysis, Minter for Instagram, and WooRank for web sites. We use these tools when we perform audits for our clients.
On the other hand, if you’re budget is tight or you’re really only interested in a general sweep of your accounts, you can find plenty of tools that won’t break the bank. A few free tools we frequently use are Simply Measured, LikeAlyzer, Klear, Facebook Insights and Audiense.
But data isn’t the only thing you need to measure. You should consider post quality — the voice, the tone, and the content mix — as well. During this qualitative assessment is when you’ll have to put on your disguise and head undercover.
We examine performance qualitatively across major social channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram based on three key components: Branding, content, and engagement.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Uniformity is key. Branded channels should follow the same aesthetic. Your profile picture, logo and cover art should be consistent across your channels; they don’t necessarily have to be identical, but there should be a theme or together they should tell a story. The same goes for your brand description. Ensure that there are links to your website on all of your social platforms.
Are you using the same username across all of your profiles? It’s worth trying to retrieve your brand’s name from an inactive account to maximize your public accessibility where possible. There are some platform-specific points to check too, like whether it makes sense to use a branded hashtag for Twitter and Instagram. It’s important to identify inconsistencies as your various channels cumulatively create your brand’s online identity.
Now you need to evaluate your process for creating and curating content and take a closer look at what you’re sharing and how it resonates with your audience. Assess the quality, frequency, style, and tone of your posts; what is your messaging mix? Are you curating content and mixing things up or do you only share content related to your brand? How are your fans and followers engaging with your content, or are they at all?
Aim to share content on a daily basis and mix up your content to keep things fresh. Use analytics tools and insights to pinpoint when your audience responds most to your content to figure out when the optimal times are to post.
We suggest participating in trending topics and discussing current events if they are pertinent to your brand; you can even plan some of these out in advance with your content calendar and integrate them into campaigns.
Remain objective and evaluate the quality of what you’re sharing; your posts should always be edited and formatted so they’re platform-specific and never a result of autoposting. Your content is what keeps people coming back to your profile so it has to be compelling, engaging, and relevant to your audience.
Here’s the point in your audit where you need to look at the activity on your channel. You are probably already aware of your following to follower ratio, or you should be. The more important numbers are those pertaining to how and with what frequency, are people interacting with your posts. Are they liking, commenting, sharing on Facebook? Are they replying and retweeting you on Twitter? Are your Instagram videos getting good views? You can evaluate the performance of the content you’re sharing by looking at how many people are engaging with it.
Don’t just examine your posts from a surface level; delve into your channel analytics and look at trends month over month. What performs well on your channels? What doesn’t? How can you run a cross-platform campaign using some ad spend to really make a splash? How can you create more compelling content? Should you hire a designer to revamp your social branding?
Social media is not a one way street for communication. These are conversation channels and an opportunity to really get to know your audience in a personal way so ensure you’re interacting or responding to followers regularly. Check that you haven’t missed any complaints, questions or praise. This is your opportunity to fine tune your channels and communicate in a more meaningful and engaging way.
If after reading this you feel intrigued but altogether unmotivated to run your own social media audit, you can always employ us in the task and apply for our Complimentary Social Media Audit. If you’re brave enough to venture into the uncharted territory of social media auditing alone, we wish you luck!