The key to an effective social media strategy is to understand your target audience and what they want to see. Yes, it’s important to keep an eye on trends on social media. But if you’re not analyzing your posts to understand what your audience gravitates towards most, it’s likely you’re leaving huge gaps in your social media strategy. To make sure your social media strategy is up to date and as effective as possible, you need to conduct regular social media audits.
When you conduct a social media audit, you are essentially reviewing what’s working on your social channels, and what isn’t. The word “audit” can make it sound like a scary thing you want to avoid. On the contrary, it's crucial to building a social media strategy that helps your business long term.
If you’ve never done a social media audit before, or this is the first time you hear about it, don’t worry. We’re going to walk you through a step-by-step process that will provide you with the tools to audit all of your social media channels.
Step 1 - Identify your marketing goals
Before you look at your social media platforms and start to analyze, you need to know what you’re measuring. The first step is to identify your marketing goals.
If you haven’t set specific marketing goals, here’s a quick video to help you set S.M.A.R.T goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely.
Your marketing goals will act as a benchmark to which you’ll measure the success of your social media campaigns. Knowing your goals will help you align the content you create to your overall bottom line. For example, if your biggest marketing goal is to increase traffic to your website, then you’ll know to look deeper at the posts that prompted spikes in traffic. If one of your goals is to convert more sales from social media, then you’ll measure conversions on your various social media accounts. You'll also know how to analyze what made high-converting posts more successful.
For example, the goal of Sydney’s Luna Park social media accounts is to attract new visitors by informing them of upcoming events. Like many Instagram accounts, they likely noticed a decline in organic reach on their feed posts. To offset that decline, they're using Instagram Stories and highlights to stay top of mind and drive traffic to their website.
Because they knew their goal was to promote events and attract new visitors, they could easily adjust their social media strategy to prioritise Story content over posts on their feed.
Knowing your goals early on will help you identify patterns in what’s working on your strategy because you’ll know what to look for and can focus on that information when analyzing your data.
Step 2 - Compile all of your existing social media profiles
The next step is to compile all of the analytics from your active social media accounts. It’s best to work with at least six months to a year’s worth of data. Using the goal you determined in step one, identify which KPIs you are going to track.
If you use a specific social media tool, it may already compile your analytics for you. But you can also use a Google Doc and import your data directly from each platform. If you’re organising the information manually, go to each social media platform you use, and export the data from the timeframe you’re auditing.
Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have native analytics features that allow you to choose a timeframe and export that data directly as a CSV file.
Instagram doesn’t currently let you export data. However, you can take screenshots of your analytics from within your Instagram account and add that information manually.
After exporting the data, create a spreadsheet containing all of the analytics from each platform.
Step 3 - Analyse the data
Once you’ve compiled the data, you might be looking at this spreadsheet thinking, “now what?” Look at post types but also look at platforms as a whole. What platform contributed best towards your goals? What kinds of posts performed in alignment with the goals? Identify gaps in places where you see opportunities for improvement and try to infer what content you should create on each platform based on the results you see.
Factors to analyse:
Days and times of posts
Platforms posted to
Specific tags, hashtags or keywords used
The content itself
You can use a tool like Netbase to measure the sentiment behind posts and get an idea of how your audience reacts to different things you’ve posted on social media.
Image via Netbase.com
The way you define your highest performing content should, again, relate to your overall marketing goals. One way to identify your top-performing content is to use a tool like BuzzSumo. Just enter your domain name and filter your results based on the timeframe or social network. The tool will compile a list of content and display analytics for each post.
Find similarities between your top-performing content to see if there are trends among them. Also, look at the data historically and see how other posts of the same type compared to your high performing posts. Try and judge what made one post more successful than the others. Your audience may gravitate towards a particular niche or a specific kind of media. Note what was happening in the world at the time of the post. What was trending? What day of the week did you post? Was it a holiday or an occasion of note? All of these factors contribute to the success of a post on social media and are important to consider.
One of Aldi Australia’s highest performing tweets was about a report they released in partnership with PWC Australia. The report was about their efforts to positively impact the Australian community and it received significantly more engagement than other posts on their timeline.
From this information, they can gather than their followers want to hear about social impact projects. They can also conclude that when a significant partner, like PWC, retweets their post it can help them get more reach than they would normally. When shaping their future social media strategy, they will likely plan to include more content like this to draw engagement from their followers.
Step 4 - Identify gaps
The purpose of the social media audit is to use the information you find to continuously improve your social media strategy. Once you have all of the data from the audit, you should begin to notice where you’re doing well, and where there are areas of improvement. First, identify the types of content that perform best and try and find ways to create more content like that. Then, notice where there are gaps in your strategy where you could capitalize on the information you learned from the audit.
Airbnb Australia’s Facebook page is a hub of exciting travel content, and recently made waves with their series of video posts promoting Airbnb Adventures. The series did remarkably well and has garnered more comments, likes, and shares than their more generic travel content. The company can use this information to create content similar to that campaign, year-round, and incorporate it into their day-to-day social media strategy.
Step 5 - Update your social media strategy
Ultimately, the more you post on social media the more data points you will have to analyze and to tailor your social media strategy. Social media audits are one of the best ways to gather insight into your audience’s preferences, interests and the types of content they want to engage with. It will also give you a better understanding of how to use each platform, and which social media platforms you should be spending the most time on. As you continue to improve your strategy and post more frequently, you’ll continue to learn about your audience and can use that information to fuel your business growth.
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