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Socially savvy: Four steps to conduct a successful social media audit for your brand

The social media storm that has swept over society in the last few years shows no sign of dissipating. In fact, it seems quite likely that the ubiquity of social media will continue to grow and spread until it is second nature for everyone that identifies as part of this contemporary, constantly connected world.

The benefits of social media for brands and businesses are plain to see, representing a unique insight into the lives and behaviours of one’s customers, as well as a medium through which engagement and authentic interaction can take place. But it is crucial that businesses approach their social media offering in a manner that makes business sense, and that’s where a social media audit comes in.

What is a social media audit?

Essentially, a social media audit is a holistic review of your business’ social media efforts, taking your activity, performance, audience, investments and other factors into account, then analysing them against your objectives and goals.

Many brands are guilty of getting so caught up in the hype of social media – after all, everyone and their gran has a Facebook profile these days! – that they simply flock to create an account on every available social platform and ensure their business has a visible social media presence, without really considering what value they offer their users on said platform, let alone what value the business itself is getting out of it.

You might think of a social media audit like a budget review. Just as you may be shocked to learn that you’re spending thousands each month on the office popcorn machine (which is only ever used by Ben from HR), you may be equally appalled to discover that you’re wasting significant resources on daily posts for your 5 followers on Facebook.

Step 1: Measure the metrics

The first and most direct step is to gather the hard data, the metrics that provide insight into how your social media efforts are faring. This will include likes, shares, comments, clicks, follower count, views, post reach, mentions and whichever other relevant metrics are available on the various social platforms you are using.

Luckily, most of the major social networks come with powerful, built-in analytics tools, which will provide high-level metrics and other insights to assist you in conducting your audit. There is also a plethora of third-party analytics tools, many of which are totally free to use, that you can leverage in this regard.

Once you’ve gathered all your data per platform you can use it to determine which posts perform best (images, video, plain text?) on which platforms and how your audience responds to such posts. This will help you focus on what you should be offering and how to post effectively to each of your platforms for the best ROI.

Step 2: Analyse your audience

You know your products and services intimately, and hopefully this translates to a similar knowledge of your particular target market. This is crucial in determining how you engage with your audience through your social media channels, but it’s also important to remember that certain social networks have slightly different audiences and communities within them.

When you know the demographics and interests of your audience, you can better focus on offering them content that appeals to them, as well as helping you to focus on the social platforms where you are most likely to find your particular target market.

If you produce bespoke, handcrafted tea-cosies, for instance, you’re far more likely to find your audience on Pinterest and Instagram than on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Step 3: Criticise your content

Once you know the audience/s you’re talking to, and which channels to speak to them through, it becomes crucial that you critically analyse the content and messaging that you’re sharing with them through said channels. Aiming for consistency and quality in tone, type and message is key.

You might be posting frequently to Instagram and replying to every single comment you receive, whilst you rarely post to Facebook or respond to queries. You might even be using a different tone across channels, keeping it ultra-casual on Twitter, yet overly formal on LinkedIn. This all serves to create discord and leave your followers confused about what your brand stands for.

Although it is a good idea to try and optimise your content for the platform (think rich media on Instagram, with more text-heavy posts to LinkedIn) this should never mean compromising the core of your brand and its public persona. Stay true to your brand, keep a good level of consistency across platforms and turn followers into fans.

Step 4: Reflect on ROI

The ultimate goal of your social media efforts should be to realise your key objectives and see a satisfactory level of Return On Investment (ROI), whether that is quantitative in nature (Leads, sales, subscriptions etc.) or more qualitative (Brand love, follower engagement, word of mouth) depends on what you’re trying to achieve and your goals as a brand, but ideally you should always have a clear idea of your social media targets.

Generally when you review your ROI you would look at your social media spend factors, which include ad spend, agency fees, software costs, content production costs and more. You would then look to compare these costs to the results. Say you’re spending £200 a month for your social media and you notice no increase in sales, yet your follower base is steadily growing, you might be seeing great ROI if your goal is to build your community, but very poor ROI if you’re just after sales leads.

Knowing your objectives and then aligning them to what you spend is a crucial part of the social media audit.

Don’t be scared to get social

Although the world of social media can be intimidating to some brands, the benefits, both tangible and intangible, tend to outweigh the costs, and creating a strong social media presence for your brand will no doubt give it a boost in the long run.

So don’t be afraid to go out and get social with your customers!