5 Must-Haves in a Social Media Audit

It’s “strategy season.” You’re either a planner and you’re kicking off your grand plan now, or you are catching up and getting your 2017 plans in place now. For both cases, it’s never a bad idea to take a step back and do a social media audit for your brand. Even if you have solid plans for the next 3 months or even the next 12, it never hurts to take a step back and look at yourself in your own industry and also in the complete social media brand spectrum.

Pictured above are my University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) from Fall 2016. What an excellent group of social and digital marketing minds who are GOING PLACES. All semester we learn about the nuances of each social media channel, look at case studies of brands who have it all together and definitely discuss the social media hall of shame (Kitchen Aid and DiGiorno, I’m looking at you – Google it).

Right at about the time I lose my voice from over lecturing and harping on all things content, we make it to the best part in the semester – the social media audit and strategy of a “real” brand.

The students team up and choose a local or national brand to investigate. They are armed with a grading rubric and the knowledge from all previous lectures. And off they go. I never cease to be amazed with their work.This semester was a local craft brewery, Square One Brewery and Distillery, along with a national grocery we all know and love, Trader Joe’s. The students pick about their existing social media activity, compare to the competition and ultimately use their research to make recommendations for their future social media actions.

Now, back to YOUR 2017 planning. If you are looking for a concise audit you can complete in about a half day or so, the following 5 points are your guide. This is exactly how I grade my class’ efforts. They must hit on each point below, and then show me part of the future strategy for full points. It’s a great starting point for working your way into your first social media strategy.

(#1) Properly introduce us to your brand. The way you introduce someone new to Grandma.
What is your brand?
What is your brand’s mission?
What do they do?
How do they make money or raise awareness?
What is some recent news about your brand?

(#2) What is the goal of your brand’s social media efforts? This is your “why bother” moment of truth.
Improve customer service or customer retention
Increase brand awareness
Drive website traffic
Generate sales/leads/client acquisition
Source qualified job candidates

(#3) Audit Your Current Social Channels. It’s OK if this is painful. Only up from here!
Which social networks are you currently on?
Does your brand have a blog?
How often are you posting?
Who is the audience of each social network?
How many followers on each channel?
What is the engagement like with users today?
What is the purpose of each channel (use goals above)?
What is the ratio of jabs vs. hooks (credit Gary V.)?
Include screenshots of current channels and content
Hint: make a table to concisely display this information to business leaders

(#4) Audit Your Competition’s Social Presence (audit at minimum 2 direct competitors). Find out what the cool kids on the block are doing.
Which social networks are they currently on?
Do the competitors have a blog?
How often are they posting?
Who is the audience of each social network?
How many followers on each channel?
What is the engagement like with users?
What is the purpose of each channel (use goals above)?
What is the ratio of jabs vs. hooks (another credit to GV)?
Include screenshots of channels and content for each competitor
Hint: make a few tables to concisely display this information to business leaders

(#5) Which social networks align with your business and why? There’s a reason all the financial firms are not blowing you up with Snaps (yet).
Pick from: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Snapchat, Blog… But more importantly, explain your specific reasoning for investing time into each channel.

Whew, you made it. Now, you are ready to make your social strategy recommendations. I look for my class to answer the following:
How does your team recommend the brand move forward?
What should they do more of (give specific examples/screenshots)?
What should they do less of (give specific examples/screenshots)?
How should the brand use social advertising on each channel?
How can the brand improve each channel based on what you’ve learned as best practices this semester?
Which social channels should they add to their strategy, or remove?
Should your brand change its blog strategy or add a blog? Be specific about why.

Then, we actually start to execute on the plan. This is as close to “real life” as it gets kids. Develop a Content Strategy and Sample content Calendar by answering the following:
What types of content should the brand post and promote? Think: Videos, Photos, Ebooks, Webinars, Blog posts, Infographics, Whitepapers and Case studies
How frequently should they be sharing?
Where will the brand promote the specific content?

Create 5 example posts (tell us if jab vs. right hook); 1 example/slide; include at least 2 Canva.com or Inform original images. Remember Google is not a “free” image source. If blogging is part of your brand’s strategy, give 5 blog titles your brand could use immediately.

Finally, don’t forget to define social success. Which metrics will your brand use to define success for your newly planned social media and blogging efforts?

Please don’t fail by failing to set goals or setting weak goals. Or worse, tracking nothing. Reach for the social media stars here. You won’t win the creative game if you don’t miss a few goals at some point. Much more in my innovation post about my thoughts on the major disconnect of metrics and setting business goals, but in a nutshell, you cannot innovate if you fear failure. You will remain status quo until you get over this.

Now go get ’em you social superstars.

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