In 2017, there is no doubt that businesses consider social media to be a valuable tool in marketing strategy. It is undeniable that being able to engage with customers through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat assists businesses in building brand awareness and ultimately increasing sales.
Working the Crowd by Eileen Brown (2012) advises how to be successful on social media:
- Know where your audience is
- Contribute and interact to engage
- Become valuable to your readers
- Be sociable
- Discover who your online advocates are
- Build a relationship with influencers
- Define metrics for success
Having a social media strategy implemented is the simple part but measuring the value of social media is one of the toughest challenges that marketers face. What does all the following, liking, hashtagging and posting really do for your business?
A social media audit is the process of analysing what’s working, what’s not working and where there is room for improvement across the firm’s media channels. It captures what users are saying about their brand, what competitors are doing and how the business itself is performing online.
Here’s four steps for conducting a successful social media audit:
STEP ONE: Measure overall results
The first step in conducting a social media audit, is to compile all of the organisations’ social media metrics so you can begin to evaluate the overall results.
Metrics to include:
- Video views
- Post reach
STEP TWO: Build a social media analysis template
Conducting a social media audit using an analysis template assists businesses in figuring out each platforms purpose and key performance indicators.
Below is an example of a best practice template from Harvard Business Review, which can be used as a guide to help structure the analysis. It categorises the evaluation firstly into each channel your business is present, what content is being posted on each, the frequency of posts and the purpose of posts. Finally, the weaknesses and opportunities of each channel are identified to determine appropriate actions in the social media strategy.
In this example, Twitter is identified as having a poor performance as it is driving little traffic to the website, which is meant to be the key purpose of posting. Based on the competitor’s activity, the company should consider posting more visual content and increase the frequency of posts to drive more consumers to the website.
Further info can be found at Harvard Business Review via: https://hbr.org/2015/11/conducting-a-social-media-audit
STEP THREE: Competitor Analysis
Analysing your competitor’s social media activity can be a useful tool to establish what platforms they are currently operating on, what content they are posting, and whether this appears successful or not. By doing this the company can consider what can be done better and what else needs to be incorporated into its social media strategy that other competitors are doing , providing a competitive advantage to the business.
Some questions to ask during this stage:
- What channels are your competitors present on?
- How regularly are they posting?
- What content are they posting?
- What are their levels of engagement like?
- Which competitor is the clear leader?
- What are consumers saying online about their brand?
See Huffington Post for their top 7 steps on a successful social media campaign: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/7-steps-for-a-successful-social-media-audit_us_596900bae4b06a2c8edb4618
STEP FOUR: Make it count!
During the social media audit, your business may have discovered that it’s not posting frequently enough for example, or maybe it’s not using the correct channels. After conducting the audit, you should be able to propose recommendations on how to be more successful across all platforms. Implementing these recommendations is how your organisation can take its social media success to the next level.
Ft.com. (2017). Auditing to be less of a burden as accountants embrace AI. [online] Available at: https://www.ft.com/content/0898ce46-8d6a-11e7-a352-e46f43c5825d [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
Harvard Business Review. (2017). Conducting a Social Media Audit. [online] Available at: https://hbr.org/2015/11/conducting-a-social-media-audit [Accessed 27 Nov. 2017].
HuffPost. (2017). 7 Steps for a Successful Social Media Audit. [online] Available at: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/7-steps-for-a-successful-social-media-audit_us_596900bae4b06a2c8edb4618 [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
Tuten, T. (2015). Social Media Marketing. [S.L.]: Sage Publications.
Brown, E. (2012). Working the crowd. London: BCS.