Social media is a compelling and cost-effective way to market your business – if you do it well. In fact, most consumers rate social media content as more trustworthy than ads or articles. And while posting each week on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is a good place to start, there’s more to it. Much more. Social media success is about consistency, great content, personal engagement, and data analysis. This can be a daunting task even for veteran social media users. But, whether you are a social media guru or just getting started, there’s one task you need to handle before you make another post, and that is to conduct a social media audit.
In short, a social media audit is a high-level look at your social media presence that will help you formulate an effective social media strategy for your eCommerce or online business. In this article, we’ll explore how to conduct a social media audit that will:
- Assess your current social media performance
- Look at your brand’s social presence from a user’s perspective
- Help you maintain consistent social media profiles
- Examine major social media platforms and show you when to use them
- Set you up for a successful social media strategy in 2017 and beyond
Before we dive in, keep the following insight from the DotcomWeavers’ CEO, Amit Bhaiya, in mind:
“Research shows that brands that engage with people through social channels enjoy greater customer loyalty and brand recognition. It is also related to better search engine results page rankings.”
Conduct your first social media audit
As you work through your first social media audit, keep this mantra in mind: “What gets measured gets managed.” For each section, take notes so you can refer to them later and check them off as you go.
First, you need to open all your social media profiles. This includes Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. If you need to set up accounts on any of these platforms, you should do so now. Some businesses will want profiles on Instagram, Pinterest, and other platforms suited to their industry. More on this later. Remember to keep track of the email addresses and passwords tied to each account.
Second, you need to make sure your profile is 1) complete, and 2) your content is consistent across all platforms. This doesn’t mean identical because content should be tailored to the platform’s primary users. It does mean that you want to make sure the language, details about, and tone of your brand is consistent. Make sure your profile picture and page backgrounds are all clear and compelling. This means using high-quality brand images that are the right size.
Third, examine your posting behavior and quality. Is it consistent, or are there gaps of a few days or more between posts? Are your posts strong, with compelling headlines, relevant content, hashtags, and engaging imagery?
Finally, look at user engagement with the posts you’ve made in the past 3 months. Is there any? If so, which type of post generates more engagement than others. If not, don’t be discouraged – this is valuable information. This information tells you several things:
- The post probably need improvement (see point 3)
- Your posts may need to be more frequent
- You should aim for post content diversity
- It’s possible you are marketing to the wrong audience
- You might be on the wrong platform for your content
Think about your social media content and posting habits from the perspective of your ideal user/customer. Is your content valuable to them? Is it interesting to them? Will it compel them to click?
Put your social media audit to work
Now that you’ve organized your profiles and assessed your current performance, you should create a strategy to boost your social media presence.
Take a hard look at your target audience. Are they primarily on Facebook, or are the much more interested in Pinterest and Instagram? Invest in the platforms that you are most likely to engage with your ideal customers on.
Remember to look at what your competition is doing. You can also look at other brands you admire. If they are in a similar industry and are doing well, you should absolutely use them as inspiration for your own content. Examine competitor profiles and their types and frequency of posts, and then apply some of those actions to your own social media strategy.
Create an action plan to improve your posts. When you are just starting out, this can be as simple as a basic calendar that covers information like:
- Date and time of weekly Facebook post (for example)
- Post topic/content
- Goal for the post (i.e. 1 like, or 1 reply)
Focus on high-quality content and designing a great post. This may take some time until you get the hang of it, but the rewards are worth it. A single, engaging post that earns 2 conversions is infinitely more valuable than 20 weak posts that earn no engagement.
Now that you’ve got the basics, let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular social media platforms.
Where to go with your social media audit
Armed with the knowledge from your social media audit, you should explore the various social media platforms to assess where your brand content performs best. Again, don’t view lack of engagement as a failure. Instead, experiment with different content on different platforms to see what reaches your target audience.
Facebook has nearly 2 billion active users, so it’s a strong starting point, regardless of your industry, because the user volume will help you discover what different audiences respond to. You can use Facebook to share photos, videos, live video, company updates, new products, and more.
Twitter is a fast, convenient way to share updates, videos, images, links, polls and more. You can also interact directly with users by mentioning their user names in your posts. Finally, it is also an effective channel for handling basic customer service.
LinkedIn is a professional social network that is ideal for B2B marketing within your industry. We recommend this platform to any business that knows its target audience well and wants to reach key decision makers within an organization.
Pinterest is a visually oriented platform that allows users to save and display content by “pinning” it to digital bulletin boards, organized by category. Popular categories include DIY projects, fashion, exercise, beauty, photography, and food. This is an example of a niche social media platform, but one that has a high level of engagement with the right audience.
Instagram is another visual social media platform based entirely on images and videos. It has over 700 million active users and is a great place to show off new products and company activities. It is also almost entirely mobile, which opens you to certain audiences not always found on other platforms.
YouTube is the primary video-sharing platform online. On it, people can view, upload, rate, share, and comment on content. If you have video content, this is where it needs to live. If you don’t have video content, you should start creating it. We recently published a useful post on how to get started using live video to market your business.
It’s time to get specific
Setting up your social media accounts, organizing your profiles, and conducting your first social media audit will take some time. Once you’ve accomplished those items, you can dig into your social media audit and consider the following:
- Do you have a way to measure success for each social media account?
- What are your goals for it?
- Which platform(s) are target markets using?
- What are your competitors doing on social media? What’s working for them?
- What content are you producing that will help your social strategy?
In part 2 of this series, we’ll examine your social media audit in-depth, and show you how to take it to the next level. Topics covered in part 2 include organic vs. paid social media, data tracking tools, understanding your user ‘reach’, earning conversions, and much more.
For information about DotcomWeavers, or to inquire about our social media audit services, please contact us today.