I’m always looking for ways to improve our social media audits at SEOptimise to make them more insightful and actionable. While there is no perfect way to approach writing a social media audit, here are some ideas on what I think are important things to consider when writing a social media audit.
What’s the point of a social media audit?
A good social media audit can take quite a while to write, so you need to make sure that the final audit provides you and the client with valuable insight, ideas, and solutions to the client’s problems.
I recommend starting off by deciding what the questions are that you want the audit to answer. This may change to some extent from client to client, but here is a rough list of what I think are some of the most important things to try and gain from your social media audit:
- What is the client’s aim or expectation from social media? E.g. do they want to decrease customer service costs by answering customer problems on Twitter, or do they simply want to build their profile amongst bloggers in this niche? What is their audience size & demographics and how do they use social media?
- What is the client currently doing in social media? Where are their strengths and weaknesses? Are they currently tracking ROI and the effectiveness of their social media?
- What are the competitors doing in social media? Is it similar to what the client is doing? Are they doing anything successfully that could be emulated?
- What platforms, content, and campaigns work well in this niche or industry? Where are the correct audience participating and what strengths does the client have that they can exploit using social media?
- What campaigns, content strategy, or promotions need to be implemented to achieved the client’s goals and expectations?
When you know what it is you want to find out, you can begin to put together an appropriate structure and order that ensures all of your important questions are answered. My suggestion on creating a structure is as follows:
Structuring a Social Media Audit
Note: The screenshots used below are for example purposes only.
1. Introduction & Executive Summary
This section should include an overview of what can be achieved with social media, and how this ties in with the client’s goals. This is also a good place to outline how you plan to track the results and measure the effectiveness of the campaigns.
2. Internal review & benchmarking
This section should include an analysis of what the client is currently doing in social media, what is working well, and how well adopted social media is in the company.
3. External review & competitor analysis
This section looks at what the client isn’t currently doing that could potentially work well for them. This tends to include trend research, and an in-depth analysis of what competitors are doing successfully.
4. Campaign structure & approach
The final main section of the audit looks at what campaigns, content, and promotions could be produced to help the client achieve their goals. We often categorise this section into short-term and long-term campaigns, and also include suggestions on improving existing networks, content, and websites to improve shareability.
Writing the Audit
When writing the audit, it’s fundamental to remember the client’s goals. With SEO there is really only one goal (to increase relevant traffic from converting terms through greater visibility in search engines) so everything you write in an SEO audit, whether it’s about building links or optimising title tags, will naturally focus on the ultimate goal of increasing rankings. Social media is different; there are a wide variety of possible goals, making it far too easy to get distracted and try to audit multiple irrelevant goals. If it helps, write the client’s goal on a post-it note next to your laptop when writing the audit and ask yourself next to every point “is this in line with what we’re trying to achieve?”
Another thing that’s important to bear in mind is how social savvy the client you’re dealing with is. Social media is full of buzz words (whatthefuckismysocialmediastrategy.com anyone?) so be mindful to explain what you mean when talking about ‘communities’, ‘engagement’, ‘social advocacy’, or ‘content seeding’.
For your social media audit to be effective it must improve the performance of the project with the client. It has to highlight where the client is, where they could be, and how you plan to do that. If there are any elements of ambiguity or irrelevant information, your audit will be compromised.
That said, this is no hard and fast guide. Just my thoughts on what makes a social media audit effective. I would love to hear the thoughts from other people who have written audits to find out what’s working and what’s not working for other people.
Feel free to drop a comment below or e-mail me at Marcus(at)Seoptimise(dot)com if you have any thoughts or want to share ideas.