Conducting A Social Media Audit
Many organizations approach Social Media Marketing: Strategy and Optimization from a platform-first perspective. That is, they jump on a social network and develop their strategy later. As a result, they may have multiple accounts on various networks, abandoned profiles, inefficient processes, and a content plan with few actionable goals. That’s why it’s important for companies to take stock of their digital assets. And one of the best ways to do that is with a social media audit.
You’ll find some helpful tips on how to conduct an audit in our exercise files. In a social media audit, you’ll examine your social and digital properties through a critical and curious lens. You’re looking at your strengths and challenges, your paid, earned, and owned media, and how well your team is achieving its goals. Everything’s on the table.
So you try to be as honest as you can. We prepared a resource to help you get started in the exercise files. But an audit isn’t just about looking inside. You’ll also want to pay attention to what your competitors are doing and how successful they are. Assess the landscape and listen to conversations your customers, suppliers, competitors, employees, and other stakeholders are having. You can find more tips on listening and monitoring in my Learn Social Media Monitoring course.
You’ll also want to talk to thought leaders in your industry, your staff, and customers, make sure you let them know you’re capturing their comments anonymously. That way, they’ll be more inclined to give you an unfiltered response.
When you think about your business, ask questions like, who are you trying to reach? What platforms do they use? What’s your organization currently doing? Versus what are you doing well? Where are the gaps, challenges, strengths, and weaknesses? Are there internal barriers to change? Are your social media programs tied to your business goals? Audrey Topsy from Topsy Turvy Bakery is really focused on growing her customer base.
So I asked her who she’s trying to reach. – [Audrey] Well, brides, of course, wedding planners, busy moms planning birthday parties, and really almost anyone with a special occasion. – [Martin] That’s a pretty big audience. How are you using social media to connect with them? – [Audrey] Well, we used to get a lot of comments from young moms and active brides on Facebook who would share photos of our cakes, but that’s gone down in the last year or so. One of our younger staff members has been posting behind-the-scenes stories on our Instagram account.
Social Media Marketing: Strategy and Optimization
And I like that idea. Should we continue? Will Instagram posts help grow our business? – You know Audrey, those are all questions you could ask in your social media audit. But before Audrey begins Topsy Turvy, like your brand, needs to develop goals and objectives. That way, you’ll know what you want your audit to accomplish. When you start, try to be as objective as you can, pay attention to all the pages on your website or blog, your social media properties, your digital and traditional content, and marketing materials, and look at competitors through your customer’s eyes.
Then, analyze the results and identify trends, areas for improvement, and opportunities. Done well, a social media audit can open your company’s eyes to the realities of your business landscape, and get you the insights you need to develop a strategic roadmap with recommendations designed to achieve your social media goals.
Using data to understand your social media strengths
A doctor I know made a video that went viral. So he started making more videos, but none of them were as popular as the first. I asked about that and he said, “Not everything needs to go viral. “It’s okay to be bacterial too.” Of course, only a doctor would say something like that but he had a point and that is a well-targeted piece of content doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. The key is to reach your customers. The same principle applies to your company’s social media. Simply going viral for viral sake is not a sustainable tactic nor a realistic goal.
It’s better to create niche content your audience can’t find anywhere else that speaks to their needs and builds relationships and trust. Okay, you’ve done your social media audit. Now you can delve into your analytics to uncover deeper insights. What times of day work best for your posts and why? Is there a consistency to your engagement or does it vary? And what does your CRM, or customer relationship management data, tell you to support or refute your observation? Customer engagement depends on many variables.
But here are the key ones: the type of social content you produce, the tone, timing, and most importantly, the relevance to customers. Interpreting your data wisely helps you optimize and adapt. It all comes down to understanding your audience and what they like or need. Do they respond better to videos or infographics? Maybe it’s tips and lists that attract them.
Identify the topics and keywords that customers engage with and figure out how to do more of that. Look at your content calendar and determine if the content you believe is your strongest actually is. You might be surprised by what you find. We have a sample content calendar in the exercise files. Get under the hood of your social media posts to see where you’re getting the best engagement and figure out why. Then, adjust your content calendar and continue to monitor and adapt in real-time.
Your analytics also show you who on the team was responsible for the highest producing or performing content. Celebrate or reward their creativity and encourage them to keep it up. Or maybe invite your social media star to lead a lunch and learn and share tips about what made their content stand out and inspire your team.
Don’t just create content in a vacuum and rely on your gut to determine what works. Instead, dig into your data, analyze it and watch how your customers behave. And remember, one viral success is not a social media strategy.
Analyzing your SWOT and adapting your social media plan
In one of my other courses, I talked about my dad who ran a fabric and drapery store for over 40 years. Even though my dad never did a SWOT analysis for his business, I’m sure if he had, it would’ve been pretty straightforward and focused on the big picture. For instance, his strengths, well, that would’ve been him and his fabric selection. Social Media Marketing: Strategy and Optimization.
Weaknesses, hmm, definitely some of his staff. Opportunities, to sell more fabrics and drapes. And threats, current and new competitors. Of course, today the world is a lot more complex, but big picture thinking is still the essence of a SWOT. Your social media audit likely included a SWOT, which is an analysis of the business landscape you’re in broken into four main categories. Strengths and weaknesses, they’re typically used for looking inward at your company.
Opportunities and threats, they’re more outward-looking. When you’re doing a SWOT, it’s important not to sugarcoat the facts and to be honest about where you stand, even if it ruffles some feathers. Just be prepared to back up your rationale with solid examples. Your SWOT shouldn’t be a laundry list of bullet points that go on and on and on. It’s a snapshot that demonstrates where you stand out and what some of your issues, vulnerabilities, and future possibilities might be.
Keep it to no more than three or four points per quadrant, and make sure your observations tie in with your business goals. Let’s look at Topsy Turvy Cake Design, which has been active on Facebook, putting more emphasis on Instagram, and considering Pinterest and Snapchat, and starting a social media audit. I’m going to walk Audry through some of the steps they’d need to take. Audry, tell me your company’s top strengths. – [Audry] I think one of our biggest strengths is our name and how well we’re known in the community.
We get a lot of business from referrals, and I know customers love our creative designs. – [Martin] Okay, how about your weaknesses? – [Audry] Well, we’re perfect, so of course, we don’t have any. Okay, if I’m serious, I’d say I have really high expectations, and maybe I’m not the best manager in the world, so we do have more staff turnover than I’d like to work on Social Media Marketing: Strategy and Optimization.
Also, I think we sometimes get too busy to post on social, or we just post too much, so there’s no real strategy or consistency. – [Martin] Are there any opportunities you’d like to pursue? – [Audry] Well, I’ve been thinking about developing an online recipe subscription business where each month we’d publish and share recipes for customers to try at home. And I’ve been told I’m a good talker, so I thought I might want to become a baking expert for a local or a national morning show. I don’t know, is that silly? – [Martin] Of course not, it’s great to have big goals.
Finally, I asked Audry about what threats her bakery might be facing. – [Audry] I did mention I’m not a great people person, and I did have a falling out with my second-in-command, and she just left to start her own business. I’m really worried because she knows the recipes and has some good ideas on how to improve them. Also, we’ve heard that a national bakery chain with a big budget is about to open up in town, and I’m not sure I can compete on price. – [Martin] Let’s evaluate the result and what all this could mean for Topsy Turvy.
We know they’re creative, and the founder, Audry Topsy, is one of the company’s biggest assets and has the potential to be a high-profile spokesperson. We also know that the staff is talented, but there’s a bit of a revolving door for employees. And we see there’s going to be increased competition from a national brand and possibly a former employee who knows company secrets. So what should Audry do? It seems like Audry could be more focused externally and position herself as an influencer.
Her celebrity could halo on the brand and protect against the competition. To do that, the company would probably need to hire a manager, and Audry would have to cede some control of the business. That move could also help with employee turnover. And as far as the lack of their Social Media Marketing: Strategy and Optimization, Topsy Turvy could work with a small agency to develop a plan.
The agency could also train one or two of her employees who would then have social media and content marketing as part of their jobs. Of course, this is just the beginning of the recipe for Topsy Turvy, but it gives you an idea of how to get started. By assessing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats honestly and critically, your business can get a clear picture of where you are and what you need to do to get to where you want to go.