Over the last 13-plus years as a social media consultant, I’ve probably conducted 50+ social media audits. Some of them have been pretty small in scope–and some of them have been complete monsters.

And over that time, I’ve picked up some valuable lessons about how to conduct these audits. After all, it’s not like there’s a playbook you can follow to complete these things! Social media is still a relatively “new” medium. As a result, social media audits are all over the board.

The lion’s share of the posts I’ve read on the topic point to merely spitting reporting data back at clients. Let’s just be clear and get this out of the way: this is NOT a social media audit. This is you running a report and hitting send on an email.

A social media audit, at least in my view, should do the following key things:

  • Analyze existing social media data from the client.
  • Analyze competitor data–at least what you can see publicly
  • Analyze leaders or employees using social media
  • Strategic recommendations (this is what the audit is all about, isn’t it?)

With that framework in mind, here are four tips I’d give you if you’re considering taking on a social media audit in the months ahead (and, if you don’t have the time/interest to do it yourself, call me! :).

1 – Make sure the data is accurate–and you’re counting the right things.

You’ll have to find your “single source of truth.” In my experience, sometimes the data you get from the platforms is not the same data you get from tools like Hootsuite, Khoros and Sprout Social. So find that single source of truth and stick with it. More importantly, be mindful and strategic about the metrics and KPIs you are counting. For example, if you’re counting “engagements”, what does that mean exactly? Does it mean just likes, comments and shares? Or, does it include post clicks, too–which is a HUGE number, usually, on a platform like Facebook. Does it include video views? Which is going to really inflate your engagement numbers. You really have to think about what you’re going to include–and how that impacts the final results. In other words, if you do include post clicks in your engagement totals, that’s worth calling out to the client and discussing. And then talking about which engagement metrics matter most to the client–and which SHOULD matter! This is the analysis I’m not seeing a lot of in other audits–but it’s analysis that’s absolutely necessary in 2022 to provide actionable suggestions to the client.

2 – Ask “why”? Then ask “why”? again.

When you start to analyze the data, your first question is usually “Why is this happening” What’s causing all those likes on your posts? Or why are more people commenting on your text-only posts vs. your photo posts on Facebook? That “why” is critical from the outset. But, don’t stop with one “why.” Keep asking the question! Why are people clicking like more than commenting and sharing? Hmmm…maybe because your content isn’t all that compelling. Why is your content not compelling? Why are you posting so much? Why aren’t you listening to your customers to get ideas on what kind of content WOULD resonate with them? Keep asking why. It’s your sure-fire way to actionable insights the client craves.

3 – Review data outside the brand social metrics

Most social media audits I’ve seen tend to focus on social media metrics. Engagements. Video views. Impressions. Those kinds of KPIs. However, as we all know, social media marketing touches many different areas of your marketing plan and team. Don’t forget to analyze things like referring traffic to your site–usually a HUGE social media strategy! Or, time spent on site for blog posts. Actions take on site on those same blog posts. Or, even analyzing the tone of comments on your posts–even if it isn’t super scientific. That data will matter in the grand scheme of things–and it will give you even more data to make strategic decisions upon.

4 – Always provide strategic, actionable suggestions

Seems obvious, yet in the audits I’ve seen performed by others, something I rarely see. The key words here are “strategic” and “actionable”. Many of the suggestions I see are completely obvious and overly simplified (i.e., you need to use more video!). Instead, use all that data you’ve collected and the analysis you’ve made to develop ideas the client clearly has not thought about. Really dig into the analysis and get creative. Remember, good strategic ideas are every bit as important as creative tactical ideas. So, this is your chance to shine with those big ideas. But, they need to be rooted in data and analysis–so be prepared to defend and explain your thought process.

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