Some Thoughts on Social Media Audits

The term “audit” can have many negative connotations and not just relating to taxes. In advertising, marketing and PR, an audit from a government agency is not unusual to see how taxpayers’ money is being spent, to make sure the media outlets and audience reports are in line with reality and that the agency is actually delivering what has been promised or contracted for, and/or whether the agency is fulfilling the original RFP to the letter. It’s sometimes routine and sometimes a premonition that you are about to be fired.

Equally important, but way less stressful for everyone involved, is the social media audit. That’s when an agency is asked to review a client’s social media presence to make sure they have the right followers and the appropriate engagement strategy. In social media, there is always room for improvement.

What I generally add on to the social media audit is to look at the traditional web properties too—are they mobile friendly? Are they engaging properly with the social media channels in play? Since I’m primarily a video guy, I’m always worried about the video player—do videos play on all devices, whether smartphones or tablets? What about ease of use and the whole customer experience?

When beginning a social media audit, here are the typical steps one would take:

Step 1: Create a social media audit spreadsheet. …

Step 2: Go on a search for your social presence on Google. …

Step 3: Evaluate your social media profiles. …

Step 4: Make sure your social media profiles are on brand. …

Step 5: Centralize the ownership of your passwords.

There are many useful tools that allow you to post once across multiple platforms, but each platform may have a different strategy. That is, Instagram is about pictures, YouTube is about video, and Facebook is about both. In Twitter we find that Tweets that don’t include links all the time draw more interest and engagement than ones that are constantly re-directing followers out of Twitter.

Both Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics are incredibly useful tools, but there are also many paid tools that show great benefit in evaluating engagement and the general “stickiness” of your strategy, i.e., are people sticking around on your website and social media pages and getting a lot out of the connections.

Clients often ask, “How do we know that we are making the best use of social media to promote our organization?” They want to build brand recognition, attract new members, and increase traffic to their website.

A social media audit starts with reviewing a client’s  content for consistency, frequency and proper use of each platform, as well as number of followers, comments, “Likes,” “Shares,” “Favorites” and “+1s” on each platform, including: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and the organization’s own blog. (If they don’t have a blog, it’s time to start one).

Often after an audit, dozens of step-by-step recommendations follow which can include suggested content by platform and proper formatting of posts, a little “hash tags 101” lesson, strategies for them to implement to increase engagement and become more relevant socially.

The best advice is often just to have good, engaging contact—engage with people (which means being responsive) and perhaps create an editorial calendar so you have a plan. Halloween shouldn’t sneak up on you, for instance.

Thoughts, questions, comments, reach out!