It’s that time of year. New Year’s resolutions and goals are still intact and you’re more motivated than ever to mark your to-do items off the list.
If you’re a marketer or business owner, one of the items on your list should be to conduct a social media audit of your brand’s online presence.
Social media audits are a great way to see where you stand in the social media world compared to your competitors and compared to industry best practices. An audit provides you with the opportunity to reflect on your current social media efforts and see what you are doing well, what can be improved, and what you need to leave behind.
Whether you’re putting this audit together for your own business or for a client, there are a few things that should always be included in this type of report. While each assessment should cater specifically to the business and industry you’re auditing, the categories below apply across the board—so don’t leave them out!
As part of your audit, you need to unpack your understanding of who your audience is. While many businesses think they know who they are trying to target, often they haven’t done the research to back up their hypothesis. Consider creating buyer personas to help you hone in on who you are targeting. A persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on research and data of current customers. You may have several personas and that’s okay (and normal!).
To get an understanding of who your personas are, answer the following questions:
- What is important to your customers?
- What are their problems and concerns?
- What does success look like to them?
- Why do they/don’t they buy from you?
- How and where do they access information to make a purchase?
- How do they ultimately reach a purchasing decision?
By knowing the answers to these questions, you’ll have an image in mind of who to target so you can start understanding how to target them. For social media specifically, understanding your personas will also inform you where your audience hangs out online so you can be sure to be there, too.
Not only do you need to know who your audience is, you need to know who your business is as well. What is your brand’s personality? What tone do you like to use? Are you warm and engaging, or authoritative and informative? Or maybe a unique combination of both?
Also, what is your brand’s special sauce? In other words, what makes you unique and separates you from the crowd?
This can be extremely difficult to identify. You may think, “I’m a social media marketing agency who specializes in helping medical facilities.” Sure, that describes you, but what makes you different from any other social media agency that helps medical facilities? Do you have any sort of unique background? Or approach to marketing? Or perhaps your branding has an edge unlike any other?
Make sure you have your unique selling proposition nailed down and ingrained in your company culture. You’ll want your unique identity to come through on your social platforms and through social marketing efforts.
Knowing what your competitors are up to on social media is a critical component of your audit. Take a close, hard look at their profiles and see what they’re doing well. What types of posts garner engagement? What posts get the most likes and shares?
Determine whether you can mimic their positive efforts, or even better, improve upon them. Take note of what isn’t working for them as well, so that you can use it as a differentiator between you and your competitors.
Having an idea of where your competitors stand in the social world can also help you develop benchmarks and goals for your own business. If they are outperforming you in terms of reach and followers, for example, make it a goal to get ahead of them by the end of the year. This will help you see the progress you’ve made over time.
Once you’ve set up the background information in the previous sections of the audit, it’s time to dive into your SWOT analysis. Here you’ll assess and document your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Use anecdotal observations as well as more concrete analytics to determine how you are knocking it out of the park and how you still need to grow.
In this step, everyone likes to focus on what they’re doing well. A pat on the back is always nice. But don’t be afraid to be harsh on yourself when you’re looking at the weaknesses and threats. These are what help create those opportunities for growth. Challenge yourself to think critically about your brand from an outsider’s perspective. Only when you identify what needs work can you improve.
Recommendations and New Tactics
Once you’ve looked over the SWOT analysis, review and assess where you want (and need) to make changes to your social media strategy moving forward. Be sure to outline these items and place the initiatives in an editorial calendar to ensure you have a definitive plan in place for getting your social media efforts on track.
A Bit of Housekeeping
Before you are completely finished, take some time to clean up your accounts… especially the ones that get glossed over (Google+ anyone?). Go into your current social media platforms and ensure they are optimized based on industry best practices. For example:
- Do your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts have cover photos?
- Is your branding consistent across platforms?
- Are your name, phone number and address accurate and consistent across pages?
- Are you sharing educational and helpful content with your audience in addition to the usual promotional content?
By optimizing your profiles, you’ll make better impressions for those who visit your pages. And when they see how good you look, they’ll be more likely to stick around to find out what your social messaging has to offer.
Social media audits serve as great benchmark tools to make sure you’re making progress in the social media world. Consider conducting audits more than once per year (we recommend quarterly!), or once new social platforms emerge, to make sure you’re staying current with trends and are continuing to make an impact in the ever-evolving world of social media.
Want us to do your audit for you? Consider it done! Get in touch here to learn more and request an audit: https://www.dontpanicmgmt.com/contact/