|Social Media Audit|
A social media audit is the process used to identify brand building and business development activities .
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Conducting the Audit
Conducting a social media audit might seem like a daunting task, but in an age when social media is crucial to any marketing plan, any business not using social media and understanding where they stand with their competitors is behind the curve. Social media is a method of marketing that is shared freely. Common social media applications for business are FaceBook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and blogging.
Key to the audit is identifying two or three competitors. One competitor should be similar in size and scope to the entity audited and the second should be larger. If a business chooses to include a third competitor, it is advisable to use one smaller in size and scope.
Identify the metrics for each audit category. For instance, a Twitter audit should include the number of followers and the number following the Twitter account. The number of Tweets is certainly important as it indicates how active the account is with updating followers. Whether the Twitter account is listed may or may not also be important to the business.
Identify the basics of each audit category. For instance, YouTube has many elements beyond simply posting a video that help deliver brand messaging, and each should be identified and explained so the recipient of the audit understands the impact of ignoring or embracing those options. Depending on the type of entity audited, LinkedIn should include a comparison of the company profile, the groups belonged to, and the naming conventions of the groups.
The information is incredibly easy to collect and collate. The most difficult decision is how to analyze the data and what factors are important to an individual entity.
Analyzing the Data and Making Recommendations
Putting the data into context is simple, but crucial to the process. It’s easiest to see how the data compares when it’s placed in a table or chart. If the smaller or similar size entity chosen as a comparison is much more active in the social media space, that information will show clearly with graphics. And it’s important to realize that social media is about branding and developing a pipeline, so the data can be extrapolated to project growth.
To support future growth of an entity, the recommendations are the next steps an entity should take and their relative priority (i.e., the order in which they should be undertaken). As an example, if the subject of the audit is an entity selling a service, such as an accounting firm, a YouTube video is not as important as allowing employees to network and make connections on LinkedIn as a part of the business. In a business where referrals are important, creating and encouraging employees to network is an effective business development pipeline.
Using the same example, a blog is an easy venue to explain accounting concepts and illustrate the benefit of using an accounting firm. Recommending a schedule for blogging and identifying the topics to blog about is a more effective method of disseminating information and branding the accounting firm as an expert in the field. Blogging encourages responses, providing an opportunity to interact with potential clients.
Brand Building and Business Development Using Social Media
The growth of social media has provided an unprecedented opportunity to build brands and develop businesses. Auditing progress in comparison to competitors is an important metric to identify areas of improvement and to measure relative success. Audits are also useful in creating a calendar of events as part of the annual marketing or communications plan. A successfully coordinated social media campaign provides a leg up on the competition at a fraction of the cost of advertising dollars.
1. Internal Review
We start with an in-depth internal organizational evaluation of what you are already doing in the consumer engagement space, what tools/resources/assets you have that might be leveraged, and identify your internal social media "champions".
2. External Review
Next, we take a look at what your competitors are doing, what consumers are saying about you (and where), and identifying the social marketing opportunities for your brand.
3. Insight and Recommendation
Finally, we wrap up everything we’ve learned into an easy to digest report and present you with a detailed strategic plan of action for getting started in social marketing. It's instructional enough so you can handle it on your own if you like, or you can hire us to help you out.
We understand that the primary resource needed for any long-term social marketing initiative is human in nature, thus for smaller companies engaging an outside agency such as Affinitive to manage these tactics long term may not be a financially feasible option for you. Therefore, we provide the "training wheels", and you are free to do as much of the ongoing execution as you see fit. To use a tired cliché, it's the "teach a man to fish" philosophy.
The ability to conduct a thorough and meaningful social media audit is an invaluable weapon in a good marketing arsenal. Whether you’re a consultant getting started with a new client, or an in-house SMM (Social Media Marketer – so I don’t have to type that out every time) looking to improve your current efforts – compiling a holistic and complete picture of your current state of affairs is critical.
Certainly every case is different based on the needs of the organization or client but I’ve pulled together a list here that I’ve compiled by looking at client audit’s that I have done in the past as well as the quarterly audit’s I do for my employer. Please feel free to share any points in the comments that you think others should be considering as well.