Social Savvy: How to do a social media audit and why business owners should - Nov 2021
By Irene Williams
What is succeeding in your business’ social media outreach campaigns, and in what places could they use a boost? Completing a social media audit enables a business owner to take a deep dive into their program, gather insights and, if necessary, restructure their campaign to improve its response.
So, when’s the last time you gave your social media marketing a full review?
A. I did a full audit and made updates within the last three months.
B. It’s been many months since I took a look.
C. It was so long ago, I can’t recall.
D. Um, we’re supposed to review this stuff?
If you answered ‘A,’ bravo! Feel free to flip to another article in this magazine and come back to this information at another time. If you answered ‘B,’ ‘C’ or ‘D,’ please settle in and prepare to take notes as I take you through the hows and whys of a social media audit for your business.
Social media marketing is like a powerful yet ever-changing engine that can operate in support of your business goals. For best results, you should never put it on cruise control, and you must regularly get under the hood for maintenance to ensure it’s functioning optimally. I suggest once a quarter as a minimum for social media marketing reviews, supported by nearly daily observation and adjustments by a designated team member.
There are a few key reasons why it’s essential to stay on top of your social media efforts.
• Social media marketing is frontline customer communication. By nature, it is a barrier-free touchpoint for those with whom you need to do business. That’s a big deal that merits your consistent, intelligent attention to be certain you’re effectively representing your brand and connecting with customers.
• We are at the whim of the constant changes enacted by the owners of the social platforms, and these changes often require that we pivot our content and strategies. If you haven’t audited your content and strategies in months, you’re likely far behind, because this stuff morphs all the time.
• As a business leader, you need the insights the data your social profiles provide to better understand your market(s) and the mindsets of your customers. You are running a digital-era company in a tech-driven economy in which content is currency.
Have I convinced you that social media audits are import? Good! Let’s dive in.
Please note: In this article, I am focusing solely on organic social content. For many businesses, paid social media programs and ads are quite vital for measurable success. The good news is that data gleaned from organic content can inform paid strategies, so keep that in mind along the way. Also, I focus on the most commonly offered native tracking information available through the top social media sites, namely Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. There are many variances amongst platforms, so I’ve identified the top metrics you can likely find whenever you post. This article assumes you have properly set up business accounts or profiles on your social media sites. If you are not using business tools, you will not have access to tracking data.
CRAFTING A SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
1. Review your profiles and posts through the lens of your business goals.
First things first: Conduct your review with your business goals always in mind. This will help you see past the appeal of vanity metrics to discern if the content is supportive of key performance indicators (KPIs). I always say it’s better to have the attention of 50 people in the market to buy what you’re selling than it is to have the fleeting affirmation of 5,000 passersby.
2. Start the review with human intelligence.
It’s an error to presume digital data holds all the answers for social media marketing; you have to be present and hands-on to make the smartest plays. That’s why I advise starting reviews with good ol’ human intelligence.
Ideally, you or a designated team member will be watching and making adjustments to social media content nearly daily: observing post engagement (likes, comments, shares) and responding, noting what performs well in order to replicate, and so on. In a quarterly or monthly review, it’s helpful to take some concentrated time to assess the success of recent posts. This will help you identify patterns in your posts’ performance, determine with your own eyes what types of content hold the most visual appeal, identify any spots in which messaging and branding can be improved-those kinds of things that numbers on a report may not reveal.
3. Use the platforms’ native reporting.
Most social media platforms provide native data collection that’s quite helpful. Utilize their reporting dashboards to identify the stats that matter to your business. Here’s a quick list of some stats I recommend you pay the most attention to during your review, as these are often most useful in making adjustments to ongoing tactics.
• Audience demographics: Are the people seeing your content in the preferred geographic location? Are they in an age range that represents your most likely buyers? What’s the gender breakout of your audience, and does that align with what you know about your customer targeting? (These data points will be handy when you’re ready to start running ads, by the way.)
• Most active times: Note the days and times that those who follow you are most active on the social profiles. I find the most helpful stat here to be the active time of day by hour, as we can use that information to guide when to post to reach the most people.
• Top posts: This information is especially helpful in support of your direct observations and assessments as described in point 2. Pay particular attention to the content types in relation to performance. Are your videos outperforming static photos? On Instagram, are Reels or Stories going gangbusters over your standard newsfeed content?
• Profile visits and clicks to email and website: These action-oriented stats reflect real victories on social media. If you can get people to visit your profile, that’s the first step to getting them to go to your website or send an email. Customer actions equal potential sales opportunities, so these stats hold weight.
Please don’t fixate on your follower counts. Why? First and foremost, you should always go for quality over quantity when it comes to your marketing efforts. Secondly, the social platforms are quirky entities with fluctuating, unpredictable algorithm changes; it’d be an exercise in futility to try to play that game just to boost numbers.
Likewise, “impressions” can be a less meaningful data point, though the social reporting always includes it because those numbers are often nice and big, but they don’t necessarily move your KPI needles and don’t address the quality-over-quantity standard.
4. Integrate other sources for a full perspective.
Beyond native metrics, I recommend integrating data from other sources to provide a more meaningful perspective for your social reporting. Most importantly, I advise utilizing Google Analytics to discern social media’s influence on your website traffic. With Google Analytics, you’ll be able to see what social platform is the best driver of traffic to your site-sometimes very surprising info-and then get insights about the visitors’ onsite paths on your pages. When you apply the aforementioned human intelligence to these analytics, you’re poised to make really smart moves with not only your social media but your website content, as well.
There are many other third-party sources that collect and provide reporting for your social media activity. Most of these are subscription-based and offer more functionality beyond data collection (such as automated scheduling). They can be worth the cost depending on your business goals and the social platforms you use most. Some examples for your reference are Sprout Social, Hootsuite, Sprinklr, Falcon.io, Cision, Sked, Later and Buffer.
5. Make updates based on your audit!
I put an exclamation point on this for a reason-action is necessary for any of this reporting to mean anything. It’s misleading to say knowledge is power. Knowledge is only powerful when we do something with what we’ve learned. Data is inert-just numbers in a spreadsheet. It takes application to make them meaningful in support of your business goals.
One of the things I enjoy about social media marketing is the immediacy of it. We post content, get feedback from followers quickly and can move forward based on that engagement-no waiting weeks for results to come in before we know what to do. Though the concentrated reviews I’ve covered here are important, it’s the day-to-day, thoughtful and intentional use of social media to genuinely connect with people that makes the difference.
Copyright 2021 Floor Focus