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how to conduct a social media audit

Being on top of the metrics that matter to your brand is a great feeling, and it certainly applies to your brand’s social media efforts. Positioning your brand for maximum efficiency online not only helps eliminate wasted time, but parlays into an increased social media ROI through building upon what works – and discarding what does not.

Here we’ll explore the why and how of conducting a social media audit by focusing on:

  • What a social media audit
  • The importance of understanding your audience.
  • Why and when you should revisit your branding.
  • Analyzing your social media channels.
  • Measuring your social media results over time.

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What is a Social Media Audit?

A social media audit, while sounding scary, is simply your brand’s roadmap to social media marketing success. It places all of your social media metrics in one place allowing you to easily track changes over time.

A consistently updated social media audit will tell you at a glance what is working, what is not -and what could use improvement. Using a spreadsheet to pull in your data from all of your brand’s social media accounts on a monthly basis will give you an open window into your brand’s social media performance over time.

social-media-audit-template

And it’s perfect for evaluating seasonal performance. For instance, as we’re inching towards the holiday season, a look back at last year’s holiday metrics allows your social media team to better anticipate this year’s performance.

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or just getting started, we’ve compiled a list of social media audit tools to get you going. And we even have a free NetBase Quid Social Media Audit Template you can download.

Audience Understanding 

Demographics can vary widely across various social media platforms and a solid understanding of your audience will help you decipher why one post performs well on Facebook, but hears crickets chirping on Snapchat.

Collecting your top posts and plugging them into your social media audit will give you a solid understanding of how to better target your audience across various platforms. Plugging your social media accounts into NetBase makes this part a breeze.

social-channels-to-capture-insight-for-social-media-audit

You need to know not only who your audience is and what they need, but what they want, love and hate as well.

And a great way to discover those consumer emotions is by running a brand analysis in NetBase with the personal narratives theme. This theme quickly boils down the conversation around your brand to social media mentions that include:

  • “I hate …”
  • “I love …”
  • “My favorite …”
  • “I need/want …”

personal-narrative-theme-to-capture-insight-for-social-media-audit

And since all of the results are searchable, it’s a wealth of brand-specific insight that can be used to better understand your consumer. Not only that, it’s competitive intelligence you can use to target underperforming social media metrics or build new campaign ideas that address these issues.

trending-source-types-to-inform-social-media-audit

Revisit Your Branding

Since online is in a constant state of flux, it’s smart to revisit your cross-platform branding as an element of your social media audit. First of all, you want to ensure that your branding looks consistent from site to site.

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And since a social media platform could change their image size limits, or how the entire flow of their site appears after a major update, it’s a quick check to ensure that everything is still on point and putting your best brand face forward. And this is just as applicable with placeholder accounts across unused platforms. Should attitudes shift causing widespread adoption of previously ignored social media outlets, you don’t want your branding looking as outdated as grandma’s kitchen.

Additionally, because online sentiment changes rapidly, it’s not a bad idea to check in with how your branding is resonating with your consumers. And NetBase offers a really cool way to do just that. Running a search on your brand using logo recognition returns social media posts containing images including full, partial and altered logos.

Powerful next generation artificial intelligence (AI) employs deep learning that even spots branded text in images that might have otherwise been missed.

popular-media-sources-in-netbases-image-recognition-capabilities

Analyze Your Social Channels

As part of your social media audit you need to be doing a deep dive into your channel analytics as well, of course. The story that unfolds there helps reveal how attitudes, perceptions and engagement are changing over time. And if you are doing your first social media audit you can even set your search in NetBase for points in the past to build your audit retroactively.

All in all, you need to know where the conversation is happening, by whom and when. For instance, NetBase’s day and hour analysis will tell you when people are talking about your brand the most. It’s dynamic insight that is helpful in crafting targeted posts that are most likely to engage with maximum effectiveness.

The data can even be broken down by genders for more focused targeting if it’s relevant to your brand. As an example, here’s a look at Starbucks mentions over the last month by men.

day-and-hour-metrics-to-inform-social-media-audit-results

And here is the same conversation filtered by female mentions.

day-and-hour-2

While the majority of men are talking about Starbucks at 7 a.m., the bulk of female mentions happen at 10 a.m. It’s not hard to see how this information is helpful for brands to have as a baseline – especially going into the holidays. Say your brand sells a primarily gender specific product – then you’d want to know when wives, husbands, or other gift buyers are most likely to engage with your brand.

This is just one example of the myriad ways that you can slice and dice the data found in your social channels for social media audit results that are the envy of the competition. Dig into geo-regions, post authors and demographic data to ensure your posts are pin-point specific.

demographics-screenshot

Measure Social Media Results Over Time 

Now imagine for a second how much easier you’d breathe getting ready to build your holiday season social media campaign if your social media audit was only a click away. You could easily see what worked well last year and what bombed. That way you already know where to focus your energy with your campaign – and what you’re definitely not going to do.

And having quick access to the growth of your social media channels would also help in forecasting the success and scale of your upcoming campaign. And this is why consistency is key.

Whether your last social media audit needs some serious updating or if you’ve never done one, there’s no time like the present to get started. And it doesn’t have to be full of fuzzy metrics, and definitely not based simply on likes and follows that don’t really tell a story.

There’s no reason to really – not when you can climb into comment data and peel it apart to reveal layers of insights into what motivates the people behind your social media mentions.

Consistency is Key

But it’s not enough to simply find the metrics that speak deeply to your brand, measure them and then forget about it. Consistently updating your intel into a rolling window of successes and failures is what propels savvy brands to the top of social media.

Simply put, gone are the days when social media campaigns got by on hunches and guesswork. Top brands are employing artificial intelligence to dig through the data and putting hard numbers to their social media audits. They know what works for them because of it – and they can meaningfully quantify it. And you can to.

When it comes down to it, time is money and your social analytics ROI should be positive. If not, a social media audit is how you get there. Are you ready to upgrade your social media game? Be sure to reach out for a demo and we’ll help you level up!

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