In Optimize, I include guidelines for doing a number of different audits to establish a basis for determining the gap between a company’s current situation and where they need to be in order to succeed.
One of those audits is a type that has gained a tremendous amount of popularity given the dramatic increase in attention and budget towards the area. Of course I’m talking about a Social Media Audit.
Why do an audit? If you don’t know where you’re starting from, a lot of time and resources can be wasted improving things that don’t need it and neglecting things that really need your attention.
Who should do an audit? Companies that are new to social media marketing, companies that have been unorganized and uncoordinated in their social media marketing, companies that have used an outside agency and are pulling social media inside (or vice versa), or companies that have matured in their social media marketing and need to jump ahead a few steps.
To start your own social media audit, here are some of the key things to consider:
Social Media Audit Process & Considerations:
- Inventory all social digital assets
- Where is the brand currently leveraging social?
- Who (staff: official and “cowboys”)
- What is current performance? Good and bad.
- What are competitors doing? Opportunities?
- Listening: brand, customers, prospects, employees, executives, competitors
Social Media Content & Activities to Audit:
- Content creation, curation, frequency, quality
- Social media policy – global, regional, departmental
- Technical (microformats, code, responsive)
- Inventory social profiles
- Networks participating, tombstone accounts
- Conversations and engagement
- Sentiment, brand, frequency, topics
- Advocates & dissenters (internal and external)
- Integration between departments – Marketing, PR, HR, Customer Service, Legal, Product
- Internal and operational social media/platform use
Of course, once you’ve collected and organized the data, it’s essential to create benchmarks for the key performance areas that you’ll be focusing on. Those areas of focus will depend on your goals. Most companies focus on social media for brand awareness, so goals tend to be marketing and PR oriented. But of course, that’s not the only reason for a brand to “be social” and measure social performance.
Ultimately, the results of a social media marketing audit should reconcile the difference between the current situation and where the brand social media efforts need to be. Just like the other online marketing audits companies will perform, a social media audit is not a “one and done” situation. They should be repeated periodically as part of being accountable for the social media investment.
Have you run a social media audit for your own company? What kinds of information and activities are you benchmarking? I’m curious if the kinds of things we’re focusing on are similar to our readers.