How to Conduct a Social Media Audit (Includes a Free Template)

Social Media

by Agnes Linsay 15 Views comments

If you’re using social media to market your business, you need to understand how to perform a social media audit.

Don’t be alarmed—a social media audit is nowhere near as scary as it sounds. But it is a critical part of developing or updating an effective social media marketing plan.

An audit of your social media accounts helps you understand what’s happening on each network. You’ll be able to spot at a glance:

  • what’s working and what’s not
  • whether impostor accounts are stealing your fans
  • which outdated profiles you need to revive, repurpose, or shut down
  • new opportunities to grow and engage your audience.

In this guide, we explain everything you need to know to conduct an effective audit of your social media channels. We even have a handy (and free) social media audit template to help you get it done in no time.

Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working and what’s not. Save time and improve performance.

What is a social media audit?

“Audit” can be a scary word. But in this case, it doesn’t have anything to do with the tax authorities. Instead, it simply means compiling key information about each of your social media accounts, all in one place.

A social media audit creates a clear picture of your current social efforts and shows you the best way to improve results. When you’re finished, you’ll have a single strategy document for all your social channels, with key details at your fingertips.

How to perform a social media audit

Hint: If you plan to start working on your audit as you read through this post, download our free social media audit template (above) now. This gives you an easy, well-organized place to record the information you find in each of the audit steps.

1. Track down all your social media accounts

You might think you can list all of your social accounts off the top of your head. But are you sure? Start by recording all of the accounts that you and your team use regularly. But don’t assume that covers all your bases.

For example, there might be old profiles created before your company had a social strategy. Maybe these were abandoned at some point.

Or maybe various departments within your company are using social media, but there’s no unified system or list of accounts. To properly audit social media accounts connected to your company, you’ll need to do a bit of legwork.

Where to find this info:

  • Search the web. Start by Googling your company name and the name of your products to see what social accounts come up.
    If you find accounts you don’t recognize, do some investigating to determine whether they’re actually connected to your company. If not, are they fan accounts? Impostor accounts run by someone not affiliated with your brand?
  • Search social networks. After your Google search, visit each of the main social networks and search directly for your brand and product names to see if you uncover any unexpected accounts.

screenshot of a Twitter search for "hootsuite"
Source: Twitter

Record all the relevant accounts you find. Make a note if you find any accounts that require further research. For instance, maybe you can’t tell whether the account was created by someone at your company or by an impostor.

In your audit document, record all unowned accounts and make notes about the steps taken to have these accounts shut down. Start by contacting each account holder directly, since it could be a simple misunderstanding or a case of a passionate fan taking things too far. But be prepared to escalate matters to the social networks for help if you can’t resolve things yourself.

Once you’re sure you’ve tracked down all the relevant accounts, set up a social media monitoring program to keep an eye out for any new impostor accounts that might pop up in the future.

This is also a good time to identify networks where you don’t yet have a social presence. Then you can start thinking about whether you should add them to your social strategy.

Are you on TikTok? What about Nextdoor? Or Byte? You don’t need to use all these tools. But you might want to make some notes about potential future ideas, and reserve your business username anywhere you don’t already have an account.

2. Make sure each account is complete and on brand

Once you’ve recorded all of your accounts, take the time to look at each one thoroughly to make sure it’s consistent with your current brand image and standards.

Where to find this info:

You’ll need to look at each social account individually. Check each of the elements against your brand style guide to ensure you’re using up-to-date images, hashtags, keywords, and brand voice.

Here are the components to check for each social account:

Hootsuite profile photos on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

  • Profile/bio text. You have limited space to work with when creating a social media bio, so it’s important to make the most of it. Check that all fields are filled in completely and accurately with current brand messaging.
  • Handle. Are you using the same handle across all social channels? In general, it’s a good idea to do so if you can.Of course, you might need different handles if your accounts serve different purposes. (For example, Hootsuite has Twitter accounts @Hootsuite and @Hootsuite_Help.) Take a look at your handles and record in the notes if you want to make changes for consistency across social platforms.
  • Links. Make sure you link to your homepage, an appropriate landing page or blog post, or a current campaign. You don’t have to link to the same page from all your social accounts, but it’s important to have a record of what’s linked from where.
  • Pinned posts. Evaluate your pinned posts to ensure they’re still appropriate and up-to-date.
  • Verification. This is a simple yes-or-no question. Is your account verified with a check mark badge? If not, should it be? We’ve created easy and clear instructions on how to get verified on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook if this is something you want to pursue.

3. Identify your best posts

For each account, record which three posts had the most engagement*. Include links to these top-performing posts in your social media audit template.

Where to find this info:

You can find key metrics for your social posts using the built-in analytics tools for each social network. We’ve created guides on how to use all of them:

A simpler option is to use a tool like Hootsuite Analytics to find this information for all of your social accounts in one place.

Then, go through these posts to look for patterns. Do you tend to get the most response when you post photos? Videos? Do people respond to the same kinds of posts on your Facebook Page as they do on your Instagram account?

Use the notes column of your audit document to record your thoughts about patterns you find here. Test your theories and record your results the next time you perform a company social media audit. Over time, you’ll refine your social strategy and learn how best to connect with your audience.

*We suggest engagement as the metric to track here to evaluate your best-performing posts. But engagement might not be the best metric to measure for every brand. Maybe for your brand, it makes more sense to evaluate post performance based on website referrals or conversions. Choose a key metric here to look for patterns in your top posts.

4. Evaluate channel performance

In this step, you’ll record overall channel performance, rather than looking at the performance of individual posts.

If you haven’t yet created a mission statement and a few key goals for each social account, now is the time to do so.

After all, it’s impossible to evaluate your performance when you don’t know what kind of performance you’re trying to achieve. For example, you would not use the same criteria to evaluate the performance of a Twitter account used primarily for customer service and an Instagram account aiming to drive follower engagement.

Your mission statement should help you identify the key metrics to evaluate for each social channel.

For most brands, website traffic and conversions are good metrics to track here. After all, engagement on your social channels is nice, but real return on investment happens when followers become leads or customers.

Where to find this info:

You can find some of this information for Facebook using Facebook Analytics, as long as you’ve set up the Facebook Pixel. But for an overall picture across social channels, Google Analytics is your best bet. We’ve got a complete guide on how to set up and use Google Analytics to get you started.

5. Track results over time

Since it’s hard to evaluate your social metrics in a vacuum, it’s a good idea to compare your results with the same time period last month, or last year. Over time, this will allow you to spot regular seasonal variations, which will also make it easier to spot any unusual changes in real time.

Where to find this info:

Same tool(s) you use to identify top-performing posts. You can look up and compile performance data from every social network you’re active on, or use a tool to measure performance across channels from a single dashboard.

6. Calculate your return on investment

If you’re running a specific paid or organic campaign on any social network, it’s a good idea to calculate your return on investment for each period as part of your social media audit.

Essentially, this is a measure of how much you spent on social media versus how much value your social efforts contributed to the company.

Where to find this info:

Advanced analytics tools like Hootsuite Impact can provide a detailed analysis of your social media ROI. We’ve also created a free social media ROI calculator that anyone can use.

But keep in mind that ROI is not all about dollars. Return on investment can take many forms, so make sure to think about ROI in terms of the specific goals for your social accounts.

7. Understand the audience for each network

As you evaluate how each social account helps support your brand, it’s important to understand who you can reach through each channel.

Audience demographics are a good starting point. For example, Snapchat users tend to be much younger than Facebook users, and LinkedIn users tend to have relatively high incomes. We’ve compiled all the top statistics you need to know about who uses each social network in a series of demographics guides:

However, it’s important to analyze the demographics of your specific following on each social network, as your follower group may not be the same as the overall audience.

Where to find this info:

Learn about the demographics of your followers on by using each social network’s built-in analytics tool, like Facebook Audience Insights.

Or use a tool like Hootsuite Insights to understand audience demographics across all channels.

8. Decide which channels are right for you

You’ve gathered enough information now to make some strategic decisions about where to focus your social media marketing efforts.

Think about your goals for each account. Then look at how each channel is currently performing, along with who you can reach through each platform. Think about ways to tie each account back to your social media marketing strategy.

Can you see a clear connection? If not, you may want to consider pulling back on certain channels so you can focus your energy on the ones that provide the best return on investment.

These decisions don’t have to be forever. You might decide to focus on Facebook for a while, and then pick up Twitter the next time you do an audit.

Or maybe it’s time to consider some new social channels to replace or supplement ones that no longer perform as well as they once did.

Where to find this info:

Base these recommendations on all of the information you’ve gathered in previous steps.

The important thing is to make these decisions based on research about which channels best serve your business.

Complete this step by revisiting your goals for each channel. Create new goals for the next period based on everything you’ve learned.

9. Standardize channel ownership and passwords

Each social account should be “owned” by one person, or maybe a team, within your company.

That person is responsible for ensuring the account is on brand, up-to-date, and performing well.

This person will also be in charge of necessary approvals on the account, and will guide its strategic direction. They’ll decide who should have access to the account and what level of access each person should have.

Rather than giving various team members the password to your social accounts, it’s important to centralize the passwords in one place. This means you don’t need to change the password every time someone leaves your team or moves to a new role. It also helps protect the security of your social accounts. A social media management platform, like Hootsuite, is great for ensuring only the right people have the right access.

On your social audit document, indicate the channel owners, and whether you’ve set each account up using a tool to control passwords. Work towards having all accounts set up with centralized password control by the time you do your next social audit.

10. Do it all again

On that note, it’s important to say that a social audit is not a one-off process. You should conduct regular audits to ensure everything is on track, and look for changes in the way your accounts are performing.

A quarterly social audit is a great way to keep your social accounts producing the best ROI. It also ensures you regularly circle back to compare the work you do day-to-day with the goals outlined in your social media strategy.

Free social media audit template

Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working and what’s not. Save time and improve performance.

As you’ve seen, an audit involves a lot of detective work, and it’s important to have somewhere to put your findings.

The best way to keep track of all the information you’ll uncover during your audit is to use a spreadsheet.

We’ve created the social media audit template above for you. If you’d prefer to create your own spreadsheet, you can do so using a program like Excel or Google Docs. For each social account, you’ll want to record:

Account details:

  • your social handle (for example, @hootsuite)
  • the link to your profile (for example, instagram.com/hootsuite)
  • the bio text for the account
  • any hashtags that appear in your bio or regularly appear in your posts
  • the URL you link to from your bio
  • whether your account is verified
  • the internal person or team responsible for managing the account (also known as the “owner”—for example, the social marketing team)
  • the mission statement for the account (for example, to promote company culture using employee photos, or to provide customer service during office hours)
  • details of the current pinned post (if applicable)
  • date of the most recent post (to help you identify underused/abandoned accounts)

Performance details:

  • total number of posts published
  • total engagement numbers, engagement rate, click-throughs, etc.
  • change in engagement
  • the top three posts in terms of engagement
  • (optional) campaign ROI

Audience details:

  • key demographic information
  • total number of followers
  • change in followers

Goals:

  • 2-3 SMART goals you want to achieve by your next audit
  • whether you met the goals you set for the current audit

You should also include a column for any relevant notes about the account.

Save time on social media by managing all your accounts from a single platform with Hootsuite. Schedule posts, engage the audience, see results, and much more.

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The post How to Conduct a Social Media Audit (Includes a Free Template) appeared first on Hootsuite Social Media Management.

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