Lee Odden

What Do You Get With A Social Media Audit?

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Social Media

social media audit

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.

social media marketing maturity

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.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Excellent post Lee! Audits are an essential element of any strategic initiative. One way that I’ve learned to avoid the “one and done” situation and help ensure top-of-mind awareness for the team is to leverage the work done in a gap analysis for creating a dashboard. As you point out, audits are typically done for businesses entering a new territory, so with just a few additional steps, this helps teams maintain awareness of their progress while indoctrinating them with the KPI in a new area of their business.

  2. Avatar Adam Vincenzini says

    Lee, thanks for sharing this. The chart ranging from status quo to community is really useful.

  3. Quite an insightful article. Thanks for sharing !

  4. Avatar Abhishek Tiwari says


  5. Avatar Abhishek Tiwari says

    hi anu

  6. Excellent post ,Audits are an essential element of any strategic initiative. thank you for sharing .

  7. Avatar Henley Wing says

    Dumb question Lee, but what would you say are the top 2-3 things social media marketing agencies do? When I think of social media marketing, I immediately think of interns who just post status updates on Twitter and monitor your brand mentions. Am I totally off?

    • The first step is understanding what the company (client) expects to achieve through social and then research into their industry, competitors, customers and networks that currently exist on the social web.
      That “homework” creates a baseline for the second thing, developing or augmenting the marketing strategy and where social fits to achieve business goals. This means clear goals identification, customer segmentation and a plan on how to reach those goals through social media. The third most important thing is implementation – what resources and tactics are needed to execute the plan from content creation, to networking, to amplification to ongoing social listening, measurement and performance optimization. There’s a lot that goes on before an intern ever gets to clicking “like” or “publish”. I hope that helps.