A social media audit will take a very close and very detailed look at what’s been happening on your social media marketing platforms to help you assess what content, strategies, and efforts are benefiting you most.
Just as with all other marketing platforms, it’s essential to assess the impact of your current strategies across multiple platforms on a fairly regular basis.
You want to give your strategies enough time to start to kick in (and this does take time), and you want to look at overall impact.
In this post, we’re going to go over how to conduct a multi-platform social media audit in a few easy steps.
Some marketers absolutely detest social media marketing.
Unlike PPC campaigns, which are clear-cut and have can have clear and immediately measurable ROI, social is a little different.
Instead of running a campaign, getting a click, and then getting a conversion, you have to try to figure out how to place value on things like follower counts, impressions, likes, and shares across multiple platforms, all while trying to combat organic reach and always-changing algorithms.
It can be an enormous challenge evaluating how much social media is actually impacting relationships with your followers, which is the biggest focus of social marketing as a whole, but it can be done!
And that’s when social media audits come into play.
Why You Need a Social Media Audit
Social media audits can be an intimidating process, largely because there’s just so much information to consider. You may be trying to accomplish multiple business goals through multiple strategies across multiple platforms.
There are a lot of metrics to look at (including both crucial metrics and the sometimes-distracting vanity metrics), and some of it can feel a little abstract.
When you’re conducting a thorough social media audit, you should be doing a manual review of all of your existing accounts along with analyzing the detailed data available to you that can help indicate your social performance.
This process does take some time, but it’s essential in determining whether your social media marketing efforts are helping you reach your business goals, or pushing you further away from them. Y
ou may notice during an audit, for example, that you have slow response times on social direct messaging that may be resulting in unhappy customers, or that the video campaigns you’re pouring a lot of funding into aren’t doing as well as you’d hoped.
There’s no way to know this without careful review, and if you don’t know, you can’t fix, optimize, or adapt as needed.
How to Conduct a Multi-Platform Social Media Audit
Conducting a thorough, multi-platform social media audit that will actually provide actionable data will take a little bit of time, so bear with us here, because we promise it’s worth it.
When you go step by step through the process, however, it’s relatively straightforward.
Let’s get started.
Step 1. Review Your Business Goals
This doesn’t necessarily have to be part of your audit itself, but we find it to be particularly valuable.
Take a moment to go over your business goals for the past six months, thinking about what your plan was in terms of how you wanted to use social media to accomplish these goals. Write them down, along with any core strategies you were using to do so.
Your list might have goals and strategies listed out like this:
Connect with more potential customers to expand reach and grow client base. Strategies include using location-based and industry-focused hashtags, boosting popular posts in the ad system, and asking users to tag their friends in comments.
It’s also helpful at this stage to set key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you evaluate success for each of your goals. If you want to use social media to reach more people and expand your customer base, for example, it can be good to look at impressions, reach, and new follower count. If you want to drive sales, look for in-app purchases and clicks on product-focused posts to a product page.
There’s so much data on social media that you can easily drown in it if you don’t have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and what matters. Taking the time to do this now will be a huge help later on.
Step 2. Find All of Your Business Accounts
You’ve made a list of your business’s goals on social, and now it’s time to track down your entire online presence on social.
You’d be surprised, but sometimes you may be surprised by what you find. You might have had a Pinterest account three years ago that you’ve completely forgotten about, or have a fan account that someone started with your business’s name that isn’t run by you.
Sometimes, you might even have a duplicate account; I’ve seen this happen on platforms like LinkedIn, where someone forgets there’s already a company page and they create another.
Search for your business name on Google, and on every platform you can think of. If you’ve got an account that you don’t use anymore (I see this a lot with brands who have abandoned niche platforms like Snapchat or Pinterest), consider shutting it down or deactivating it.
An empty, abandoned profile can make you look unprofessional or disorganized if users find it, which isn’t the impression that you want to make.
Make sure you include Facebook groups that have been started in your business’s name, and any branch-off accounts designed to promote something like a course your business created.
Step 3. Assess Your Existing Accounts for Consistency
While hard data and metrics will be the focus of your audit, you also want to take this time to look at things that analytics won’t catch, because it can matter just as much.
Consistency, for example, is essential. Are you using the same profile picture for every platform? If you aren’t, you should consider doing so.
Plenty of users might be following you on Twitter and go to look for you on Instagram, only to assume that it’s not the same business because the profile pictures are different.
Your business name should be the same on each one (you don’t want to be “Gotter Writing Solutions” on one and “Ana Gotter, Writer” on another).
While your bio should be optimized for each individual platform, like listing your UGC hashtag on Instagram, each one should ideally be consistent in conveying USP.
You don’t want to mention that you offer the most affordable tax preparation services in town on Facebook and boast being the top experts in the field on Instagram; this is consistent and confusing to your followers.
While your content should be optimized for each individual platform, you do want to make sure that the overall brand voice is consistent.
This is crucial if you’ve got multiple team members each managing a platform.
Your Instagram might be a lot more quirky and funny than your Facebook, which ends up coming across with an esoteric, serious voice. It goes without saying that it’s normal to have quirkier content on Snapchat or Instagram Stories than you would on LinkedIn, but everything should at least feel connected.
Step 4. Collect Your Data
Now that you’ve taken stock of all of your profiles and done a quick manual review, it’s time to get to the data.
There are two options here: Using native analytics, or using third-party platforms like Hootsuite.
We strongly, strongly recommend using a third party social media management and analytics tool, because not only will it make your social media marketing much easier to manage, it will also offer more streamlined access to data.
In some cases, including in terms of audience analytics, tools like Hootsuite may also offer more information that you wouldn’t get from native analytics platforms.
Either way, download reports from each platform that you’re using, whether you’re using a native tool or multiple third-party tools, or a combination of the two.
Make sure that you’re downloading all the information you can, including information about specific post performance, follower trends, and more.
If you’re using Hootsuite, we recommend using the “Mixed Overview” report, as well as downloading the Ow.ly Traffic Overview if you’re using shortened, trackable links to measure distinct impact. (We recommend this, and you can learn more about it here.)
Pull up any relevant third-party tools to look at the data there, too. If, for example, you run a social media contest designed to generate leads through a widget, you’ll want to look at that data, too.
Google Analytics can also be helpful in showing you how much traffic is coming to your site from social media, and how valuable it is to your overall marketing efforts.
If you set up goals in Google Analytics, you can see how much value each platform brings to your bottom line.
Step 5. Analyze the Data
Take some time to go over the analytics, and review KPIs.
You’ll want to look for the following information:
- Which post types drive the most engagement, and what types of engagement they drive.
You want your product and blog posts to drive a plenty of clicks, because it means users are interested enough to click through to your content. You also want to take note of which posts get plenty of shares, because that type of content can help you extend your reach. Likes can indicate interest, but comments are superior in that department and more valuable in the algorithms. Look at type of content (including medium, style, length, and subject) for trends about performance.
- What specific campaigns have driven plenty of traction.
Did you run a hashtag campaign to promote awareness of a new product or a cause? Did you have a series of live videos to talk about something like “budgeting in the time of covid,” which had a Q&A section? See how effective these campaigns were at drawing attention, gaining reach, and driving momentum.
- Which content helped you expand your reach? Did some posts get more shares than others? Which types of content and which platforms offered the most impressions and the best reach? What seemed to help you connect with new followers?
You want to assess the impact of different platforms, too.
Look for which platforms give you the best reach, which ones have the most users reaching out to message you, and where you’re getting the most engagement.
Look for both consistency and potential for semi-viral spikes.
A graphic designer friend, for example, typically has the best engagement consistently on Instagram, but has had two pins go semi-viral even though most don’t get a lot of traction. Both platforms, therefore, are important for her to continue using.
Extra Steps to Take During a Social Media Audit
While the audit is all about reviewing what you’re doing on social media and its impact on performance, this is a good chance to do a standard social media check-up in general, too.
There are a few things that we recommend doing at this point for your brand’s convenience and your social safety:
- Review what team members have access to which accounts.
It may be a good time to change the password if you’re unsure, especially since changing up your passwords every so often isn’t a terrible decision anyways.
Look at each platform to see who has permissions to access it, and at what capacity.
Again, you could be surprised here; I recently found out I was still on a YouTube account for a client that I haven’t worked in two years, and I only found out because I got a notification from it.
Remove anyone (including agencies) who aren’t actively working on the accounts. Check both on the native platforms and through third-party tools that can grant access.
- Review which apps have access to your accounts.
Was there an auto-posting or auto-following tool you used three years ago that you don’t use anymore because it goes against Twitter’s terms of service?
You don’t want any unneeded tools connected to your account, because if they’re potentially ever hacked, it can put your account’s safety in jeopardy.
Each platform should let you review who has access so you can remove it as needed.
Take some time to look at your current tools during the process. Are there any that you really aren’t using, or that aren’t worth what you’re paying for them?
Consider downgrading, deactivating, or canceling the accounts.
- Look for new platforms or third-party tools to consider.
While you’re assessing the effectiveness of your past social media strategies and tools, it’s good to consider what else you can do moving forward.
If you had good results with a “tag your friend” contest on Instagram, for example, you might want to consider third-party contest software to collect lead information, too. There are also video creation tools, graphic design tools, hashtag generators, and so much more.
Look at where things are going well, and consider looking for tools that can help you optimize this moving forward.
- Set up improved analytics for next time.
You may have realized reading this post that you don’t have third-party analytics tools that could have given you more comprehensive data, or that you’ve never used Google Analytics or shortened, trackable links. That’s okay!
Now is your chance to set up these new analytics tools so that you can take advantage of them in the months to come and when the next audit comes around.
Learn more about shortened and trackable links here, and how to set up Google Analytics here.
- Set your goals for the next period.
Whether it’s a quarter or six months, what SMART goals do you want to accomplish next?
Set specific metrics that you want to progress to, and outline some new strategies for how you’ll do so.
Social media audits can be a lot of work, but that work becomes a lot more streamlined when you’ve got the right tools to help.
And as an added bonus, we can get you started with a completely free, social media audit template.
This can make it easier for you to organize the information you’re processing, allowing you to better see trends and see how you want to move forward.
Download the free social media audit template from Hootsuite here.
What do you think? When is the last time you conducted a social media audit for your business? What do you think is the most important part of the audit? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!