From auto-publishing to social share buttons, 30+ marketers weigh in with their favorite social media plugins.
| Apr 13
Jessica Malnik on September 30, 2020 (last modified on March 5, 2021) • 31 minute read
A social media audit is a great tool to help you both set and improve your social media marketing strategy over time.
An audit doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, scary process. You can capture a ton of insights – often in a matter of a couple of hours.
In this post, we’re going to share how you can conduct your own social media audit, including:
Simply put, a social media audit is a way to gauge how effective your social media strategy is. It allows you to see what it is working, what could be improved, how you stack up against your competition, and any untapped growth opportunities.
The most effective social media audits are process-driven. You want to make sure that you are working from either a checklist or a template.
Here are the essential components of a social media audit:
“Understand your client’s business model,” says Tyler Burch of BoardActive. “If you don’t know what they charge, how they make money, and what marketing channels they use, you can’t create a plan that fits them well.”
This will help you be able to set appropriate goals.
David Lynch of Payette Forward, Inc. adds, “It’s important to figure out what your goals with social media are. Are you trying to acquire clients, drive traffic to your website, or just build an audience on social media?
Your goals should inform your content, and a social media audit should evaluate whether or not your content is helping you reach those goals.”
For example, Dani Peterman of Lusha says, “Let’s say you want to have an engaged community. You look at your posts, and they all get 5 likes, which seems low.
But if you have 100 followers on your page, that’s a 5% engagement rate. Which is above average (on LinkedIn).
So perhaps in this case your goal isn’t increasing the likes, but to increase the followers. If you keep up the engagement rate at 5%, having 1000 followers will get you 50 likes per post.
So your success would be measured by followers gained, and not my engagement per post.”
“The one tip I would offer is to start with a “big picture” snapshot,” says Laura Burden of Burden Brand Management. “We have a few tools we use to give us a quick overview of where a social account is at. From there we can dive a little deeper.
When we do a social media audit we like to take advantage of automated tools that are available to us through both paid or free trials.
Our go-to’s are Hypeauditor and Ninjalitics. Both provide a standard analytic program that goes through your engagement rate, growth rate, impressions, followers (a breakdown of who’s real, who’s not, and where they are located), which posts were the most successful in the past, etc. This big picture overview is a great place to start with an audit.”
“Get a better understanding of your audience on each social network,” says Nancy Kapoor of Grazitti Interactive. “It is important to understand whom you can reach (and not) through a particular channel.
Start with audience demographics.
Analyze each social network for the demographics of your specific audience, as your followers are likely not the same as your overall target audience.
A detailed demographic analysis of your social media followers will help you conduct an effective audit to drive social media success.”
Bernadett Dioszegi of Bannersnack says, “When it comes to social media, it’s crucial to know your audience, to understand what kind of posts they are engaged in, so you can create an outstanding social media marketing strategy.
My recommendation is to analyze all the data you have about your fans. Most of the social media platforms have audience insights from where you can find out important information about people who engaged with your posts.
Besides data about age, gender, location, language, and devices, you can also find out when your fans are online (segmented by hours of the day or days of the week). There are social media platforms where you can see insights about the most popular categories and related interests for your audience.
It’s also important to analyze the performance of your social media posts, about reach and engagement; this way you can find out what are the types of posts that are the most successful.”
For example, Filip Jędraszczyk of Listonic says “While conducting a social media audit, take into account that your audience differs depending on each network. If you generate good traffic but fail to reach your target audience, you may be losing money.”
Jay Roth of Bright Advisory Group adds, “When conducting a social media audit, make sure that all of your demographics and all of your ad runs are legitimate and accurate. Confirm that the statistics are accurate. Social media platforms will generate these reports for you, so my suggestion is not to fudge the reports and extract the information directly from the platforms. Don’t alter them at all.”
Editor’s note: This Linkedin Demographics dashboard looks at the followers on your company’s Linkedin. It lets you know what industries and roles have enjoyed your marketing message.
“Locate all your social media profiles,” says Muhammad Mateen Khan of PureVPN. “This may seem like the easiest task in the history of social media tasks. Find where you are online? Piece of cake! I’d imagine you could list off your major social profiles with ease.
But what about the uncommon spots, those outside the Big Four of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube? What new social networks did you try out when they were brand new and have never viewed it again? Take note of them all. Outside of the Big Four, you might want to check these places:
Look also for unofficial accounts, either those set up by well-meaning employees and users or those created by rogues and spammers. Perform a general search for your brand on all the major social networks; you might be surprised what’s out there—fake accounts, employee pages, spam, etc.
As you locate your profiles, make note of the ones you find and keep track of the following elements:
You can throw this information into a spreadsheet to keep it all organized and to give you a starting point for any follow-up audits you might want to perform down the road.”
“One thing to remember is that you don’t have to be on every social media channel,” says Thomas Bolt of Big EVAL. “Look at the ones that are performing for your specific business, and focus your energy there. It doesn’t hurt to keep a presence on other platforms – just choose the ones that matter the most.”
“Take a closer look at which of your content performs the best and on which platforms,” says Ajay Paghda of Linkio.
Alice Ray of Know Your Chickens says, “You should start off by immediately setting out to identify your best-performing posts. That way, you can begin to tailor your social media calendar to include more posts on this topic, so that you can increase engagement.”
Mason Culligan of Mattress Battle adds, “It is best to analyze and classify your content. Choose the most and least successful type of content on your social media account, and export the data to an excel file to start analyzing it.
The best way to keep track of all the information is to use a spreadsheet. Select the platform you want to review first, then visit the built-in analytics section of it.
On Facebook, you can filter your content to the most popular down to the least popular.
Through this, you’ll be able to generate patterns of engagement with your posts. You can easily see what type of content, and which posts are the most and least successful. Once you have the data, focus on creating posts related to the most successful topics to increase more engagement.”
Nikola Roza of Nikola Roza- SEO for the Poor and Determined agrees, “Analyze each channel and find your best performing social media posts (most likes, shares, comments, and highest CTR).
Once you have your cream of the crop for each channel, it’s time to create more of those types of posts that you can proceed to drip feed in the future according to your schedule.
The key is to find what’s already working and then do more of it.”
For example, Olivia Garrison of Creative Click Media says, “Identify your five most engaged-with posts during a set time period – whether that be this month, this quarter or this year.
Then, determine if there is a common feature between them, such as including a link, asking a question, using certain hashtags, and so on. Use this information to replicate this same success by integrating these same tried-and-true features into future social media posts.”
Editor’s note: If you are looking for a way to measure lead generation and cost per lead across multiple conversion pixels, try this Facebook Ads Website Conversion dashboard.
“Compare the engagement of different styles of posts,” says Brett Banchek of Overnight Flowers. “Whether it be services, products, blog posts, research, or how-to guides, it’s important to not only see which posts get the most likes, but which posts instill the most engagement.”
Valerie Cox of Elfster adds, “Studying how members of our target audience reacted to our social media posts. It’s important not to hyper-focus on the number of likes, comments, etc. but to look at where we were able to engage the most with members of the target audience.”
Take a good look at which posts are being shared,” says Andrea Loubier of Mailbird. “Everyone enjoys seeing a nice amount of likes, but you can really broaden your audience when your current followers share your posts. So, see which types of posts are more readily shared, and add those more frequently to your social media calendar.”
“As for me, the best tip in conducting social media audits is by creating a social media audit template,” says Jacob J. Sapochnick of h1b. “This template will be your standard checklist on effectively auditing your social media. This ensures that everything is being checked and will provide accurate and useful data that you can track in order to address what should be addressed.”
Margaret H. Geiger of Twelve31 Media says, “You can create your own or download one for free online (may have to subscribe to a newsletter or free trial of some sort).
Once a template is created, you can start filling in your potential new clients’ information, social media numbers and stats, and your recommendations.
The biggest tip is to create a template that you can use multiple times, which in turn, saves you time. Then you can just copy and paste and drag and drop where needed and have something visually appealing and easy to read for the potential client.”
Noemi Konta of Point2 Homes adds, “Create a checklist of all the details you want to look for so you make sure you don’t miss anything. You want to have the clearest view on your channels and your competitors’ too. Don’t forget to pay attention not only to how your posts and campaigns are performing but also how your audience is engaging with it.
Once you have everything written down, start looking for patterns, for ways of improvement, and opportunities to do something better or different than your competitors.
It’s also useful to look at other industries, outside your area of interest. You never know what you can learn from them to add to your list.”
Sharon Van Donkelaar of Expandi agrees, “My best tip for a social media audit comes in the preparation stages – something which, in the past, I haven’t always spent enough time on, and it’s reflected in the audit.
I recommend using a spreadsheet to have a list of URLs, followers, demographic information, the most popular content, and your engagement metrics. Dates are also great points to include on this, too.
With all this basic date in a basic template, you can really get to work. It’s easy to log everything and keep on checking up on your statistics.
I have a separate spreadsheet for Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter – all of which show unique trends and stats. With everything laid out in front of you, you can notice trends and where you need to improve. That’s super important.”
Editor’s note: To start the most important social media metrics, try out this Social Media Dashboard to get a hold of activity across your 4 favorite social networks. It focuses on visitor and follower counts over various time periods.
Matt Stormoen of Mobibi says, “We regularly conduct social media audits for our businesses, namely Mobibi and PureFocus. These audits, essentially, are just taking stock of our social media footprint and how our content across the different platforms is faring.
Currently, we do a quick audit every week, and then do a more comprehensive audit for the month. To make it easier for us, our audit is supported by information from the native analytics of the social media platforms, Google Analytics, and the analytics tools built into our own platform, Mobibi.
Currently, we only audit our active accounts, namely Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We usually create a spreadsheet, with the following details:
The idea behind conducting this audit is to determine which content and strategy work best for each of your active social media accounts. The best insights can be gleaned from not just your best-performing content, but also from your content that doesn’t get any traction. Through this audit, you have enough information to figure out what worked and what didn’t work.”
While many social media marketers agree on performing routine audits, the frequency is all over the map.
Some prefer to do smaller audits on a weekly or monthly basis.
For example, Heinrich Long of Restore Privacy says, “My number one tip is to perform audits as often as possible. It doesn’t have to take months, and you don’t even have to hire an expensive company to do it.
Just take 30 minutes – even every week, if you want – and look at all your platforms. How many followers do you have from week to week? How much engagement? On what kind of posts? What works? What doesn’t?
Doing it more frequently allows you to not only notice subtle changes, but it also enables you to catch them early on, so you can make an immediate change in strategy.
A lot of social media is about being relevant, so if a meme is super popular this month and you noticed it generated great results than you can run with it and generate more of that awesome engagement.
It doesn’t help if you look back in 6 months and notice that you could have had an opportunity, but weren’t aware of it at the time. Audit often, and make changes as you go.”
Others prefer doing one audit each quarter.
“A quarterly social media audit is the most effective way to compare your day-to-day work done with the goals highlighted in your social media strategy,” says Shawn Lockery of Invivo Bio Systems.
“It helps to ensure the checklist of the completed tasks, and keep track of your social accounts, producing the best ROI. It should include everything from the monthly report, sentiment analysis, competitive analysis, market analysis, and the growth rate.”
And, other social media professionals will do a comprehensive audit about once a year.
Morgan Lobert of MARION says, “Don’t make social media audits a one and done for your company! Conduct an in-depth audit at least once every 12-18 months (though if you can do it more often, that is great!) The world of social media is always changing, and so is your business. If you become complacent, KPIs may fall to the waste side and your strategy may lag lightyears behind your competitors.”
Samantha Russell of Twenty Over Ten adds, “A strong social media strategy is an integral part of any marketing strategy, but it’s important that you are auditing it from time to time in order to make sure that everything is running smoothly. If you aren’t regularly checking on your strategy, then you won’t know what needs changes and what is performing well for you.
As far as the time frame goes, you should probably perform an audit every 12-18 months just to see how everything is running. Check the analytics of the platforms that you are using and make sure the metrics are on track. Figure out your buyer personas so that you can understand better the content that you should be created to attract and resonate with your audience.
Once this is evaluated, then check the following from your content performance:
There are other metrics that you can track and audit, but this is a great start for finding the type of strategy that works best for your firm.”
While doing regular social media audits are important, you should also do them whenever your company hits a major milestone or is at a critical turning point.
Steve Yanor of Sky Alphabet Social Media says, “At major inflection points – management changes, disaster, hack, strategy pivot – a social media audit becomes necessary. The problem is, you can’t audit what you can’t see, so some platforms such as Instagram are a problem if you are auditing a social program that includes influencers.
For this reason, your contracts with anyone who conducts social media activities on the brand’s behalf must provide open access to stipulated key metrics such as likes, engagement counts, views, and impressions.”
“If you bother to conduct a social media audit, be thorough,” says Nelson Sherwin of PEO Compare. “It’s not going to help to just look at the last few posts and call it good. It’s not good.
You have to really get into it, compare numbers, compare posts, learn about why there are differences from one week to another. Or worse – why aren’t there any differences? Why are you stagnating? Your social media accounts should be in constant growth, and if you’re not growing, you’re doing something wrong. Now, it’s your job to find out where you’re failing so you can learn how to fix it.”
“In my opinion, the best tip for conducting a social media audit is to focus on the positives and build on those,” says Jessica Rose of Shantiva.
“In particular, focus on identifying the content posted on your social media accounts which had the greatest impact in terms of likes and shares. Compare that content with your other content and try to identify reasons why the better performing content performed better.
Once you have identified and isolated those factors through your audit, you will have a list of factors you can use to ensure that your future content is constructed in a way that is more likely to result in greater likes and shares for the benefit for your business.”
“Look for consistency,” says Beth Adan of NisonCo. “When auditing social media pages to find opportunities for success, evaluate them both individually and as a whole. All pages should be consistent in terms of the page name, logos, and the bios.
While each bio should be tailored to the specific network, they should include the same basic info.
Next, make sure each network’s activities and posts are consistent and on-brand. While they shouldn’t all be carbon copies of each other, they should work together to tell the same strong coherent brand story.”
Peter Thaleikis of Bring Your Own Ideas Ltd. adds, “An audit of your social media channels should always include a review of your branding.
Is it consistent and up to date across all channels? Is the avatar the same across the profiles? How about the profile text and link?
It makes sense to keep everything as consistent as possible.
An often not considered point is the usernames: you should keep these consistent as well (if possible). If the username is taken, use the same beginning to allow for easy finding using “@yourbusiness”. You can append terms like “HQ”, “Team”, or your country. This ensures customers find, tag, and recognize your business without any friction.”
Dennis Bell of Byblos Coffee agrees, “The best way to conduct an audit is to check your profile’s completeness and consistency.
You must be using updated images, hashtags, and keywords for your brand. Profile and cover photos must reflect your current branding and adhere to the platform’s image size requirements for quality. Logos, brand names, descriptions, and URLs must be the same for all of your social media accounts.
It will be helpful to open and customize the setting on each social account to be sure you have everything covered.
See if the images, text, and other options are used and optimized. Fill out the blank spaces with relevant and useful information to help your customers understand your brand. Taking time to make any necessary updates will benefit your business in the long run.
Having complete and consistent information across your profiles gives you a professional image. It will help in building trust and relationships among your customers. And make a meaningful marketing strategy to create a strong social media presence.”
“Instagram has made it easy to find out what’s working and what’s not,” says Allison Baggerly of Inspired Budget. “Go into your insights and click on the content you shared. You can gain so much valuable information simply from this area on Instagram!
Take a look at what’s working and what’s not working. Which posts are your most popular? Do they have anything in common? By taking just 10 minutes to find patterns in your high-performing content, you can develop a plan to create even more content that others will like, save, and share.”
Editor’s Note: Want an easy way to monitor your Instagram post performance? Use this free Instagram Business Post Performance Dashboard template.
“Be incredibly selective about who you hire to do the audit,” says Kyle Boze of Falcon.io. “This seems obvious, but not every social media group is right for you. In fact, I would suggest most are probably wrong for you.
Find a group who has done successful work in your space before, and ensure they have success actually driving business (vs. simple impressions/views) and hitting company goals. It’s one thing to simply audit. It’s another to be able to identify possible strategies for improvement
Utilize multiple companies, if your budget allows. I always think it’s insightful and powerful to hear from multiple groups. Specifically, ones that do different work (IE – hire a social media firm and an advertising agency) because they have different resources, clients, and success stories that may or may not be applicable to your social media.
Be very specific with where you’re currently at, and what your vision is. An audit is usually only as powerful as the communication given by the people who want the audit. The more you can elaborate and specify where you’re looking to go with your social media, the more targeted the audit can be.
Be very critical of who you hire to audit. Not everyone who has social media is a guru. You almost can’t walk 10 feet anymore without meeting a social media expert. The truth is there’s a giant difference between a family member running a social media page or two and a legitimate social media expert who can make impactful strides for you.
Be aware of cookie-cutter audits. I see too many social media companies offering audits that do little actual auditing and spend a considerable more amount of time trying to simply push their own solutions by finding convenient problems that fit their own offerings. An audit is a detailed look at successes, failures, and possible strategies going forward, not a simple attempt to gain business.”
“The whole point of doing a social media audit is to work smarter, not harder,” explains Paige Arnof-Fenn of Mavens & Moguls. “The process shows you which platforms are delivering the biggest results and you can use this information to implement the 80/20 rule so doubling down on the social networks that work the best for you. So if you learn that Twitter and Facebook drive the most traffic then you can focus your time, budget, and attention on those platforms.
Putting more energy into just a couple of networks may create more results than diversifying. This rule also applies to content and ads. The data is telling you what works the best, so consider shifting your focus to just a few key areas. Doing less can be more impactful.”
“A social audit is an assessment of the social media presence and performance of a given company,” says Jeff McLean of McLean Company. “It seeks to quantify the KPIs or key performance indicators of a social media campaign, by turning the likes, shares, comments, and other forms of engagement with a social media campaign into data that can be interpreted.
When translating the data, we want to take note of trending audience behavior, not just viewing numbers on a spreadsheet. An audit will offer insights about which of our strategies are working, and which need to be revisited and perhaps redirected.”
“Social media results rarely happen in real-time, unless you’re lucky and you get something that goes viral,” says David Bakke of National Air Warehouse. “But since that rarely happens, it’s important to translate that fact over to your social media audit strategy.
Just because a post, tweet, or video doesn’t perform well in the first few days does not mean that it is a dead-end. Therefore, you need to have a little patience and track results over time. Although for the most part social media is an immediate type of platform, that’s not always true.
Therefore, you should take a more general approach and look at metrics this month compared to last month, or this month compared to the same month in the prior year.
That way, you’ll be able to spot trends that could be seasonal and not related to individual instances, and you’ll also get a better idea of any trends that are emerging with your current strategy.”
Related Article: 11 Essential Metrics That Every Social Media Report Should Include
“Your engagement rate and reach are two factors that you audit to gauge the social media performance on a campaign,” says David Dsouza of Delta Growth. “Given that the organic reach rate has dropped to a minimum of 1%- 2%, paid support when you launch will play a major role to give organic reach the much-needed push for campaigns.”
Alexandra Zamolo of Beekeeper adds, “Always track the results that you receive over a period of time. That way, it makes it easier to see which are your peak months, and how your strategies might affect your bottom line.”
“Look at what’s working for your competition,” says Sergei Belous of UpFlip. “If they’re seeing more conversations, likes, or follows, what is the difference between their strategy and that of your own?”
Tracy Davis of Fetchify says, “Try to run a frequency and date analysis against the posts of your main competitors. Are they regularly posting at certain times/ dates? If they are, avoid these as you risk your audience engagement being split.”
Mimi Banks of MB Social adds, “Benchmark competitor accounts! Find realistic benchmarks to define what good looks like so you can identify strengths, areas of opportunities, and best practices.”
For example, Keri Jaehnig of Idea Girl Media says, “The one thing you must NOT forget in a social media audit is analyzing your competition.
Your goal in doing a social media audit should be to formulate a winning social media strategy. That includes identifying ways your brand can surpass your competitors online.
By analyzing your competition, you can better understand:
From there, doing those things puts you in a position to win new customers and increase revenues.”
In addition, it is key to make sure you are analyzing their visual assets and not just general follower stats.
Kyle Smith of BrandExtract adds, “Make sure you conduct both content and visual audit of competitors. It’s a mistake to solely focus on your own accounts. How have you performed relative to your stated objectives? And how have you performed relative to competitors in your space?
Some audits include a visual assessment of a company’s social accounts. We’ve found that including a visual assessment of competitors can be extremely valuable when conducting an audit. It can reveal new trends and opportunities and help with brand management to ensure social content is consistently standing out and performing.”
“It’s easy to get sucked into only looking at quantitative metrics during a social media audit: the number of followers you gained last year, how many likes your posts received last month, etc,” says Jon Barilone of Tripepi Smith & Associates. “But, qualitative analysis requires different questions that aren’t as bound by numbers.
To help form these questions, do this thought experiment: if you were hiring a consultant to come in and tell you what you could be doing better for your social media strategy or content, what would they examine and what would they try to sell you on? It wouldn’t just be statistics!
They would ask things like: Do you ever get engagement outside of a core group of employees & supporters? Does your Instagram Profile’s grid of photos look too repetitive? How do you decide what content is worthy of being a Boosted Post or ad?”
“Don’t forget to check on the time spent on social media, versus the investment that it brings you,” says Carrie McKeegan of Greenback Expat Tax Services. “Track clicks to your blog posts or service pages, and always monitor your social media ad campaigns.”
“When performing a social media audit, it’s a best practice to leverage the analytics capabilities of social media management software,” says Bruce Hogan of SoftwarePundit. “Leading tools like Sprout Social and Agorapulse integrate with major social media platforms to pull and visualize the most important performance data. You can even export this data into other tools for advanced analysis if desired.”
“Work with your Content Manager to see if the content your department wants drives the most conversions,” says Michael Sols. “What you think the audience should hear isn’t always what they want.
For example, scroll through your LinkedIn. You’ll notice that since mid-2019, there has been a surge of employee content around life advice, opinion, and image-based stories. It often has way more engagement than any branded post, even when it’s not down to business.
Through your audit, you might conclude that to have better CTR on branded channels, you’ll have to feature more employees, partners, or experts. People like engaging with people, not brands.”
“Research how your campaigns have performed through UTM tracking,” says Emily Gant of The Loop Marketing. “If you have a consistent strategy when it comes to your UTM codes and your social campaigns, you will be able to see, in black and white, which campaigns were impactful and which weren’t. The entire point of social campaigns for businesses is to drive traffic to the site – did you succeed?”
Editor’s Note: Want to monitor traffic from social media channels? Use this free Google Analytics Social Media Dashboard to see the actions that visitors take after learning about your brand on social media.
“One tip for conducting a social media audit is to be objective,” says Andre Oentoro of Breadnbeyond. “You might feel attached to your existing content, but if it’s not doing well, then it’s probably time to archive it. It’s important to rely on data and statistics to measure and observe the state of your social media accounts.”
“Don’t rely too much on tools. SproutSocial, Hootsuite, Buffer, and the like are excellent tools—but nothing beats legwork,” says TJ Kelly of Mxt Media. “Use those tools (SproutSocial is my favorite) to get you started. But once you have numbers and stats from those tools, move them into a spreadsheet and then do the really important part: Analyze.
Numbers are just numbers—but what can you LEARN from those numbers? That’s the real power of a social media audit. And no tool can do the thinking for you.”
In sum, performing regular social media audits are a great way to optimize your social media strategy.
Here are some of the key things you’ll want to include in your social media audit:
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