[Guide] The Social Media Management Maturity Model

Is your organization optimizing its potential on social?

Read the guide

Published July 21st 2023

7-Step Checklist for a Successful Social Media Audit

Crushing your company's social media performance begins with a complete social media audit. Discover what goes into a successful one.

Tracking ROI from social media is a challenge for many marketers. Yet social media audits remain an under-utilized tool for understanding how your brand is doing on social.

Read on to discover our step-by-step guide to performing a successful social media audit of your social channels.

What is a social media audit?

A social media audit is like doing a stock take of your organization’s social media presence and performance for the purpose of improving it. By laying out all your existing social media analytics, an audit provides the opportunity to improve your social strategy and draw out the maximum ROI.

As marketers, we often hear about the 80/20 rule. This is the principle that 80% of results come from 20% of our actions or customers. A social media audit is one of your best tactics to coax out that 20%.

But how do you find your 20%?

Luke Kintigh, Intel’s Global Content Strategist, also speaks about the 10/90 rule – that 10% of content drives 90% of traffic and engagement. That makes it vital to “find that 10% early and often.”

And an audit is how you do it.

After performing your social media audit, you’ll know:

  • How to improve your social media strategy
  • Which social media channels are your top performers
  • How to connect better with your target audience and key demographics
  • What strategies you can implement today to see better results

Keep reading to discover how you can perform a successful social media audit for your brand.

Your social media audit checklist

Here are the seven steps to performing a successful social media audit, which we'll go into more detail about below.

  1. Do a complete review of your social analytics
  2. Evaluate your social media presence
  3. Identify your social media goals
  4. Analyze your social media performance
  5. Understand your audience
  6. Take inspiration from competitors' social media strategies
  7. Develop an action plan for improvement

Let's put these into practice.

Essential tools for conducting a social media audit

Before you start your social media audit, you’ll need to gather a few social media audit tools which will make the process easier and simpler for your brand.

Firstly, let’s talk analytics. You’ll need to gather all sorts of data from your current social channels when performing an audit. A handy social media audit tool is a social media management platform, which makes gathering analytics much easier. This way you can access data for all of your channels in one place. If you don’t have access to such a tool, you can use the native analytics built into the social media platforms you use regularly.

You’ll also need an in-depth understanding of your target audience to perform an effective social media audit. We go more into how to find this information later. In the meantime, consider implementing a user-friend social listening tool which will help you search through audience conversations, interests, and sentiment – all in one place. We recommend Brandwatch Listen as a valuable social media audit tool.

When it comes to a social media audit, the more information you have, the better. So gather your existing tools, analytics, and social channels – and you’re ready to start your social media audit.

If you need an extra helping hand, you can download our social media audit template which provides you with a handy checklist when conducting your audit.

Let’s get to it.

Step 1: Do a complete review of your social channels

The first step is to do a complete review of your current social media presence. By knowing where you’re starting from, you can successfully implement new strategies which can help your online presence thrive.

Gather your analytics from across your social media channels for your audit. Document everything from handles to hashtags. For each channel, note down the following:

  • The purpose: What are you using this channel for?
  • Your audience: Document everything you know about your current audience, including information on age, gender, location, and interests.
  • Your current number of followers
  • Engagement statistics: What’s your average engagement like, including likes, comments, saves, or mentions? You can use a social media management tool to help you find these analytics all in one place.
  • Anything else you find relevant, such as your posting frequency, reach, or post metrics.

Remember, there’s no ‘right way’ to do a social media audit – but you will want to make it right for your brand. So track any metrics which feel important to your company’s goals.

The look of your channels is important too. While collecting your analytics, ask yourself:

Once you have gathered up everything and sorted your packaging, it’s time to get stuck into your performance.

Step 2: Evaluate your social media presence

An audit will ensure you don’t waste resources on channels that aren’t paying off, and shift focus to others that do. So, consider if you are playing to each network’s strengths. 

Each social media platform has its own perks, downfalls, and unique characteristics, and you need to make sure you’re making the most out of them.

For example, if your brand has a Twitter profile, you need to make sure you have the resources in place to ensure the quick responses expected by Twitter users. If you’re on Instagram, you’ll need to be posting frequently to engage with your followers.

Consider the time you and your team are spending scheduling, posting, and replying to customers on each of these platforms, and measure this up with the potential ROI you can expect from each channel.

Your posting frequency and times should be closely scrutinized too. Are you scheduling posts at the optimal time? Use your channel analytics to look at your best performing posts on each platform, and use this to guide your optimal posting schedule.

Top tip: B2C companies will want to pay particular attention to engagement and community management metrics, such as the number of messages being received and responded to. One commonly overlooked metric is sentiment, which is the rating of whether the messages and mentions you’re receiving are positive or negative. Introducing a sentiment analysis tool is an excellent way to discover this often-neglected metric.

Don’t be scared to take a step back from channels which aren’t contributing to your company goals, and instead use that time to focus on platforms which are driving conversions.

Step 3: Identify your social media goals

What are you hoping to achieve from your social media presence?

Are you hoping to boost brand awareness, or to drive traffic to your website? Are you interested in growing your customer base, or perhaps you want to drive conversions?

Each of these goals will mean you use your social media channels in different ways. If you’re looking to grow brand awareness, you’ll be looking to increase your reach and engagement numbers. If you’re wanting to drive conversions, you should focus on making the customer journey from social to website as easy as possible.

If you want to drive traffic to your website, it’s also worth noting which of your posts are actually impacting your bottom line. Rather than focusing just on engagement numbers, take a closer look at how your social audience is behaving in terms of website page views, bounce rates, and conversions. As with all aspects of social media audits, small fixes can have a huge effect.

It might seem obvious, but it’s absolutely vital to identify your social media goals. This is fundamental to taking your channels in the right direction and driving results for your business.

Top tip: A common oversight is not optimizing your content in a mobile-friendly format. It’s a big deal, considering that mobile now accounts for approximately half of global internet traffic. For all you know, you could be losing your audience on something as avoidable as slow mobile loading times. Take this into consideration.

Step 4: Analyze your social media performance

Take time to dive into your analytics from earlier and analyze your performance on each channel.

With your social media goals in mind, look closely at which of your channels are performing well, and which might need some more effort to get them up to scratch.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the posts you’re sharing aligning with your goals?
  • Which posts perform best, and which don’t perform as well?
  • Looking at your audience data, are there any surprises which might mean you alter your social media strategy?
  • How many website conversions are you getting from each platform, and how can you improve this?
  • Where should you be spending more time?

It’s also handy to compare your follower numbers to your engagement rate. How many of your followers are interacting with your content? And is there anything you can do to boost this engagement?

Next, look closely at the demographics of each of your social channels. What are your followers’ locations, gender, and interests like? You may find that your audience is a rather different bunch to what you pictured – or to your ideal customer profile. Either way, consider what your followers are looking for from your profile and consider activities (including paid) to build a following that are likely to buy from you.

Step 5: Understand your audience

Once you have a handle on your own posting across channels, it’s time to see how well it aligns with what your audience is talking about – and how well it compares to what your competition is doing.

The most effective way to do this is to use a social media listening tool. These tools can make it a lot easier to track hashtags, handles, topics, or brand names. Doing so gives you invaluable insights into what your audience and industry care about. You can also see how your brand – and your competitors – are being spoken about on different platforms.

If you don’t have access to these tools, you could conduct a focus group – or even just send round a survey to members of your customer base and target demographic. Try to do this with a wide range of people – and not only people who follow you on social media. You’ll want to gauge how to attract new followers – and therefore new customers – so it’s best to do this with as much of your target audience as possible.

Keep in mind that there are limitations to focus groups and surveys in that you’ll be prompting your audience by asking them questions. Social listening allows you to get answers and understand audience interests without asking leading questions.

To get to know your audience better, you’ll want to discover:

  • Which social media pages they follow and interact with regularly.
  • What kind of content evokes action from your audience, including what directs them to a brand’s website to make a purchase.
  • Which social media platforms they’re active on the most, and why they enjoy these platforms.
  • How do they use social media? Is it for entertainment, or do they regularly purchase from brands on social? And going further, what are their preferred methods of purchasing (ie do they prefer using Instagram’s Shop feature, or buying from a website directly).

With this information, you can understand where to spend more of your social media marketing team’s time. With direct contact with your target audience, you’ll know better how to use social media to your advantage.

Step 6: Take inspiration from competitors' social media strategies

Don’t shy away from looking to others for inspiration. There will undoubtedly be brands out there doing some impressive social media marketing, and by analyzing their strategy you can better your own channels.

Don’t limit yourself just to direct competitors – are there any brands which are targeting your exact audience, but perhaps selling different products or in a different industry?

Ask yourself these questions when analyzing competitor channels:

  • What channels do they prioritize?
  • Which of their content leads to the best engagement?
  • What type of call to actions work?
  • Do they prioritize videos, text, or pictures? What works best?
  • What captions evoke more audience interaction?
  • What style of communication do they use when chatting to followers – is it formal, informal, friendly, etc?
  • How can you replicate these results?

Take any inspiration and see how you could generate similar results, but put your own brand’s unique spin on it. Have a brainstorming session with your team to see if there’s anything different you can do to boost your brand presence on social media.

It’s worth looking at how your competitors do customer service on social media too. Do they have separate accounts for customer service? How quickly – and frequently – do they reply to mentions or comments?

With this inspiration under your belt, you’re much more likely to thrive on social media.

Step 7: Develop an action plan for improvement

So, you’ve completed all the steps above. By now, you’re an expert in your audience, your platforms, and where your brand can improve.

But there is one crucial last step: implementing your changes.

Create a list of ways you can improve your social media strategy using everything you found in this audit. Start by ensuring you’re working with your company goals in mind, and then gather your team to analyze next steps.

Get introspective and examine how well you and your team are functioning. Processes are central here. When it comes to publishing, do you have a sufficient quality control process in place? How far ahead are you planning out your content calendar?

Think customer service too – are you doing enough to ensure your customers are satisfied? Do you need more manpower on the customer service side of things? Should you create a separate brand account to direct customer questions to? How often should you be managing your inboxes?

Lastly, check that your rebooted social media outfit still fits with and supports your broader company goals. After all, social media should never exist in a vacuum. Neglecting to align your social media with company objectives not only defeats the purpose, it makes it much harder to prove the ROI of your activities.

We’d recommend doing this entire social media audit process at least once annually, leaving no stone unturned. Do this, and you’re on your way to a better, more aligned social media presence for your brand.

Getting it done: Download our free template

When completing a social media audit, comprehensive documentation and ample time are key.

Don’t underestimate the time or resources that you’ll need. After putting in your due diligence and with the results of your analysis in-hand, you’ll want to do three things:

  • Create clear, easily-shareable reports that detail your most important findings.
  • Share your analysis with your team.
  • Develop a fresh plan of attack for your next quarter or year.

Tracking the right metrics will help establish the connection between your social media activities and your goals. This, in turn, will allow you to clearly demonstrate how social media is contributing to your company’s business objectives.

Be sure to share your findings with other departments within the company and look for connections to brainstorm new ideas together.

A social media audit is a unique chance for a fresh start. By knowing precisely how your brand is performing on social media, you can save time, sweat, and tears with a social media strategy that really works.

You can also download our ultimate checklist template on conducting a successful social media audit here.

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