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They say time is money – but nowadays so is data. If your social media strategy isn’t on point, your data may be wildly inaccurate, causing you to waste resources and miss opportunities.

Time to put your social media auditing tools to use.

Why and How Social Media Audits Work

Don’t let the word “audit” scare you. Unlike being scrutinized by the IRS, a social media audit is all about assessing what’s working for you, and what needs tweaking – so your brand can succeed.

Social media is a big place, and it changes rapidly. No one can be blamed for not remembering every social account they’ve ever opened and abandoned. However, what you don’t remember can hurt you.

Let’s take a look at the various areas you should explore during a social media audit – starting with your social channels.

1. Assess Your Online Presence

Start by taking stock of the channels your brand has a profile on. Don’t limit yourself to just active channels – use Google, or sites like NameChk.com or  KnowEm.com to find social accounts you may not be using.

If there are any you know you don’t need, you can delete them here. It’s also okay to keep them around if you think you might need them down the road and don’t want to lose your brand name. But you should make note of these accounts, and track any activity going forward, so you’ll know if you start to have growing audience interest.

2. Assess Consistency of Social Profiles

Once you have located all your social accounts, get a spreadsheet going – you’ve got to track everything, and you’ll want to compare this audit’s results to those of future audits. We’ll get to what you want to look at in a moment.

First, be sure all your social profiles are consistent – so your audience won’t be confused about your brand when they view you across different channels. Some considerations:

  • How your profile looks – header and profile images; remember image specs change frequently, so look at the current guidelines for best sizes for each channel
  • Bio and messaging – be sure they’re current and consistent
  • Links – did you change your URL for an Instagram promo and forget to change it back? These are the types of details you want to catch. You should know that Instagram Insights can have a huge impact.

By the way, consistent doesn’t necessarily mean identical – different channels may inspire or demand a slightly different take, but the general vibe should be consistent across the board.

3. Record Metrics to Understand Performance

This is where your spreadsheet comes in. Plug in the following metrics from the accounts you actively use:

  • Likes/Reactions
  • Shares/Retweets
  • Comments
  • Views
  • Mentions
  • # of Followers
  • Post Reach
  • Top Posts
  • Top Influencers
  • Key audience segments
  • Whatever else you want to track/compare

You can create separate tabs for each social network, or notate variances of language as applicable – e.g., putting Shares/Retweets so you can view Facebook and Twitter engagement side by side.

What you want to know is where things lie for the specific period your audit covers. It could be a month, a quarter, the entire year – it’s up to you. Whatever the stretch, this is when you need social media auditing tools capable of delivering precise data.

It’s a good idea to include a column to track percentages of growth – or lack thereof – from audit to audit. And here’s a tip: Don’t just look at month to month changes – because January is often very different than December due to holiday sales, for example. Look at year-over-year changes as well to understand seasonal growth.

4. Look at Alignment of Goals and Actions in Context

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 inaction has impacted your results.

For example, if you wanted to increase engagement, but your Likes/Reactions, Share/Retweets, etc. have fallen, 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?

It’s crucial to apply social media auditing tools with built-in sentiment analysis to understand why your audience isn’t responding as you’d hoped.

Perhaps you need more influencers – or different ones. There’s a lot that factors in here – so don’t try to sift through the data manually. Let your social analytics tools do the heavy lifting.

5. Look Beyond Your Brand

One of social media’s greatest advantages is its transparency. Use it to best competitors by analyzing 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.

All this information is at your disposal, so use it. You know they do.

6. Assess Opportunities Beyond Marketing

If you use social analytics to drive overall brand initiatives, you’re ahead of many brands. If you don’t, it’s time to start. Social data can inform everything from product development and where you open your next pop-up store, to customer care and reputation defense.

If you already use social data in these areas, be sure you integrate things like your CRM tools with your social media auditing tools for a complete understanding of the impact social data is having beyond social engagement.

Proof of all social insights offer is the best way to get buy-in from stakeholders who may not otherwise appreciate its value. Yet another reason regular social media audits are so important.

So get ready – and in an upcoming post we’ll share specific how-to’s for getting the most from your audit.

Can’t wait? Reach out and we’ll show you how our social media auditing tools work today!

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