What words come to mind when you hear “audit”? Tedious? Overwhelming? Boring?
It doesn’t have to be like that for your business. A social media audit is an opportunity. It's a fresh start and the beginning of something exciting for your organization (or your client's).
While the term "audit" sounds daunting, a social media audit is simply an inspection of your organization's social media accounts—a record that is going to be crucial to your business if you need to develop a new social media marketing strategy or overhaul your current one.
The good news? We're going to break this down into a series of simple tasks that anyone can execute quickly. This lightning fast social media audit might take you an hour now, but it will save you hours (dare we say days) later. After using our social media template and gathering your data in one place, you'll be ready to design the perfect social media strategy going forward—piles of receipts, forms, and files that you pictured when you heard “audit” not included.
What’s on tap? In this article, we are going to tackle everything about performing a fast social media audit:
- What is a social media audit?
- The purpose of a social media audit
- How to conduct a social media audit
- How often should you conduct it?
- What to include in your social media audit?
- How to perform it for a competitor’s social media?
- Next steps after the social media audit is complete
What is a social media audit?
A social media audit is simply tracking down all the places that your business has a presence on social media, and compiling key facts about each presence in one place so you can see the whole picture. You can’t start going where you want to go until you know where you currently are. In order to allow you to digest this big picture view, a social media audit is a document that must remain high-level with key facts—not a place to get bogged down with comprehensive tracking of performance metrics.
While the very first audit will require some heavier lift, once you have the process in place, a regular audit will allow you to update any major changes to your organization and avoid brand-damaging oversights.
Have you ever used a financial app that shocks you with the information that you spent $200 at Starbucks this month? You already knew this happened—you were there—but often you need to view information in the aggregate to see where huge holes exist in your strategy, or where a large amount of resources were wasted over the last few months.
A social media audit is an opportunity for you to think about your goals. What are you really trying to accomplish in your social media presence? What type of investment is social media worth to your business? Are you accomplishing what you set out to do when you began building your brand on social?
What is the purpose of conducting a social media audit for a business?
Why should a business perform a social media audit?
Here are 8 reasons:
- Get a holistic view of where your current efforts are and aren’t, and where they should be.
- It will help you start a new social media marketing strategy or do a substantial overhaul in strategy to align with a major business change in the form of a rebrand, a change in offerings and products, or your business has matured to the point of bringing on a dedicated social media manager or social media agency.
- Track down and uncover past social media efforts that can be deleted or repressed, and prevent unforeseen consequences of those accounts that could be brand-damaging.
- Indicate if the platforms you’ve chosen and the core components of your strategy still align with the demographics of your target market.
- Identify any profiles that don’t reflect your most current branding.
- Maintain organized documentation to transfer responsibilities easily to new employees and remove access from employees no longer with the organization.
- Report to any stakeholders and executives at a high level on past performance, assets, and strategy.
- For social media agencies, it's a valuable lead generation tool. Imagine approaching a prospect with a personalized audit. You've invested in them, committed to putting in the work for them, and showing that you’re already a few steps ahead of your competing agencies. Similarly, you can close new clients by providing a more comprehensive Scope of Work derived from your research, highlighting what services they need from the performed audit.
If any of these things sound like benefits your business needs, let’s begin the social media audit process.
How to conduct a social media audit
You already know the “why”—all of those business-flourishing benefits—now let’s cover the “when” and “what” so you can get started.
How often to perform a social media audit
Running a social media audit isn't something that needs to be done weekly, monthly, or even quarterly.
Like discussed earlier, running a social media audit is most useful at the start of planning a major social media strategy revamp. It's meant as an inventory and organization tool, not a way to track your social growth or engagement. It should be done once a year (perhaps ahead of when you decide the next round of resource allocations) or whenever a significant branding, personnel, or product change occurs.
Instead—for tracking your social media metrics—use Social Report's advanced reporting tools. This gives you an always-updated look at your social media, and lets you take an in-depth look at what is and isn't working for you social media.
What to include in a social media audit
If you're reading this article, you’re probably ready to begin your social media audit. We've got you covered.
Use our simple Google Sheets template for your own social media audit.
- Click this link
- Click File > Make a Copy or File > Download > Microsoft Excel
Once you've made a copy or download it, feel free to colorize, brand, and customize to make it your own.
Like previously discussed, an in-house social media audit is meant to be a checklist of sorts. Make this checklist with everyone on your social media or marketing team—you may need their input or help finding certain info! As you hunt down these components, streamline your documentation by populating this template or a similar spreadsheet that works for you.
1. Known Social Networks
Record the name of each social network you use in this column.
2. Forgotten Social Networks
Use a search engine to look for your company name as well as any common variations of your company name that may exist. Are there any platforms with an account whose life and death preceded your time at that company? Any profiles that slowly stopped receiving TLC a while back when they failed to serve any goals? What about a personal account from a very high-profile member of leadership who uses social media, often on behalf of the business? These are all worth recording.
3. Profile URLs
Add the link to each social media account, so members of your team have a streamlined place to find the profiles and so you can quickly offer up the link for any emails, press releases, etc.
4. Date created
If possible, put the date you created the social account here. This will give you insight to the rate that it has accumulated followers and may help indicate if it’s current with company goals and branding.
5. Number of followers
Record the current number of people following you on each network. This can help you find any profiles that haven’t gained traction and might need to be deleted, as well as provide a general baseline for your next future audit.
Input the demographic you're targeting on this social network. But if you’re about to just jot this down from memory based on your marketing strategies and goals, not so fast. This field needs to be the actual demographics of who has ended up following you. If you find that this is different from the target demographics that you’ve consistently parroted from marketing goals, you may have to reconsider your presence on that platform or reconsider your business’s target market. Do this task in Social Report or by clicking through your followers one-by-one.
7. Account Purpose
Describe the purpose or mission of your social account, so you can have it documented and anyone on your team has the ability to check in on it moving forward and make sure you’re staying on course.
Identify and record the goal of this social network. For example, using LinkedIn to “build B2B connections that are likely to schedule a demo.” Hint: if you have the exact same goal for every platform despite their vast differences, you may need to make some adjustments.
9. Last posted
Note when this social media account was last updated. This is another metric that can indicate if the profile is being leveraged as much as possible by your business or if it’s no longer useful to you.
10. Most engaging posts
Find your most engaging posts on this network. We personally recommend adding links or screenshots of 3-5 top-performing posts, so that it’s enough to see a small trend. For example, if your business typically posts 5 different types of content each week, yet you notice your top 5 highest performing posts for the entire year were consistently all links to blogs that feature industry experts, this is a helpful insight for your content planning. To keep this organized in your spreadsheet, you can create 3-5 separate columns to log each post in order of performance. You can find this info easily in Social Report reporting, or however else you track engagement metrics.
11. Average number of website sessions from social
Using Google Analytics, determine a period of time (for example, maybe you choose how many website sessions you got this month from social media sources, so next time you do an audit you will know to again use the sessions for the most recent month) and record how much traffic social has driven to your site.
Find this in Acquisition>All Traffic>Source/Medium and then your chosen source and medium. If you aren’t currently using Google Analytics or UTMs that allow you to differentiate between sources and mediums, skip this column, but it may be something you want to implement into your strategy going forward.
12. Is branding up-to-date?
Check if the bio, cover photo, website links, pinned tweets, and profile pictures are up-to-date, then mark “yes” or “no” for up-to-date on that profile.
13. Date you checked that the branding was up-to-date
In the next column, record the date you updated the branding. This will be helpful in the future as any of your branding or messaging changes—it will indicate to you that you need to update social profile branding again if these changes occur after the most recent date you documented updating the profiles.
15. Posts Per Day
Mark down the average number of posts you post per day to help determine if you need to post more or less in order to make a social network effective and current.
Input the name of the person responsible for running and updating this account at the time of the audit. This will help officially delegate responsibilities as well as help you in the future if you need to track down lost or new efforts that may have coincided with changes in personnel.
17. Password stored
Does more than one person have access to this account's password? Is the password known and available to all that need it? This section will help you tighten up account access and tie loose ends. Only record the actual password if the document is password protected
18. Do customers use this as a customer support channel?
Record this as a yes or no answer based on any mentions or direct messages from customers requesting support. If you do see that happening, and providing support isn’t included in your goals for the profile, something may need to be adjusted there. This is also a great moment to take pause and consider if they seem to be getting satisfactory responses, and if you need to work with customer success team members to determine a process for solving these problems.
18. Compliance with new terms and conditions
Sometimes platforms make significant changes in how they expect accounts to use the platform. Read up on the most recent T’s & C’s (we won’t tell if you simply search for a recap article on major changes to the platform) and make sure that none of your tried-and-true practices suddenly aren’t going to fly anymore. Mark the date that you confirm that you’re updated on the latest rules.
A good example of a T & C that may be relevant to agencies is Twitter’s rule against posting the same word-for-word content across more than one profile. Are you in compliance? Any flags or penalties you’ve received for things like this are a good candidate for the notes section.
Include any miscellaneous notes that are relevant to that social media profile that are important to take into consideration when you’re determining how the findings from the audit will guide your strategy.
How to perform a social media audit for a competitor
Even without having access to their private data and password-protected accounts, you can still adapt this process to perform a social media audit for a competitor and create a key document in your business’s competitive analysis.
Record all the available information from the list below, make inferences where needed, and make a comparison to your in-house audits. A competitor template is also available here.
1. All Social Networks
Record the name of each social network they use in this column, and use a search engine to find accounts associated with variants or outdated versions of their company name and leadership similarly to the search you did for your internal audit.
2. Profile URLs
Add the link to each social media account.
3. Date created
If possible, put the date they created the social account here. This will give you insight to the rate that it has accumulated followers and may help indicate if they perform well enough on this platform to keep it in their most recent strategy.
4. Number of followers
Record the current number of people following them on each network to compare to your profiles on those same networks.
Input the demographic of their followers on this social network using the same fields that you used in your internal audit so that you’re able to make easy comparisons.
6. Last posted
Note when this social media account was last updated. This is another metric that can indicate if the profile is being leveraged in their current strategy, or if it’s a social network that they’ve forsaken and you can shine on.
7. Most engaging posts
Find the most engaging posts on this network and use the same practices as your internal audit to find out where they shine. If it’s the same type of posts as your best performers, you may need to step up your game or make changes. If it’s not, then that indicates that your best type of content is an effective strategy to make an impact in the competitive landscape.
8. Posts Per Day
Mark down the average number of posts they post per day to help determine if you need to post more or less in order to compete with them.
This is the element that requires a little guesswork. In your expert social media manager opinion, what does it look like they typically use that account to accomplish?
Include any miscellaneous notes that are relevant to that social media profile.
You can use competitor audits to find ways that your competitors are outperforming you. Later, you can anecdotally search through their social media and find similar (and not-so-similar) posts. Compare and contrast what's working for them, and prioritize incorporating more of your client's competitor-beating practices into your social media channels.
The priority here should be to identify key areas where you make more of an impact on social media than your competitors do - this will give you valuable insight that you need to adapt your messaging, content plan and create a more targeted value prop. If you were under the impression that you targeted the same demographic, but the followers you find during this audit consistently appear to be younger than your competitors’, you may have a unique opportunity to focus your efforts on resonating with that group that you may not have realized before.
Finding these valuable little nuggets of insight that can only be discovered by comparing your holistic documentation and organizing it into apples-to-apples criteria will make going to extra step and auditing a competitor well worth your while. For more consistent and in-depth competitor reporting, you can connect competitor profiles on Social Report.
So, you've filled out our template and have a good understanding of your company's social media standing—what's next?
Simple: use it to guide your social media strategy.
Use your audit to find social networks you should post more to, and see if there's any networks you can get rid of. For example, if you've been posting twice-daily to Pinterest and notice your key demographic isn't responding, you may want to axe it and move resources elsewhere.
Additionally, update profiles without proper branding, find missing logins, or make any other necessary changes. Having a consistent brand across all your social networks is key to success and building your brand recognition.
And that's all there is to it!
As you can see, performing a social media audit isn't nearly as daunting as it seems. Once completed, you'll have a better understanding of where your brand lives on the web, and hopefully good insights on how to improve.
Remember, performing a social media audit is simply a stepping stone for making a valuable social media marketing strategy. So build your strategy, and start your social media campaigns using Social Report. We make it easy to schedule posts, monitor your mentions, and view results.
Social Report is an essential social media tool for small business. Try us free for 30 days.
Anna Dievendorf is the Marketing Manager at Social Report (and the other brands in the ASG Martech family) focused on bringing you valuable content and social media marketing news through blogs, emails, and social media. Read more about her experience in connecting leads with the right information at the right time on her LinkedIn or connect directly at Anna@grade.us