Social media channels will increase your chances of success. How many times have you seen this phrase across the web? There’s no denying how helpful Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms can be for your business.

A key part of crafting a good social media plan and growing your presence is a social media audit. A thorough and careful examination of your data enables you to discover what’s working for your business, what’s doing more harm than good and what can be improved.

In our latest #SEOcafe chat, we discussed how marketers should use social media audit tools to perform in-depth analysis with our chat participants and our special guest – Rival IQ, an awesome tool that helps marketers by delivering social media analytics and competitive intelligence.

What Essential Elements Should Marketers Analyze on Their Social Media Profiles?

Every social marketer knows that being on social media and occasionally posting information about your brand isn’t enough. First of all, your company needs to identify its business goals and define the purpose of its online activities. Once it’s done these things, it will be much easier for you to analyze your efforts, so that you can understand whether or not your business is on the right path to achieve your established goals.

Here’re several simple steps for examining your social media profile.

1. Identify your social media profiles

Of course you know well what social accounts you have. But do all of them work for you? And are you sure you’re focusing on the right ones?

Even if a social media site has a vast number of users, this doesn’t mean that you should be active on it. Social media audit tools will allow you to explore the most valuable brands to you, meaning you don’t waste your time on platforms that don’t contribute to your brand’s goals.

Kevan Lee suggests paying attention to other online spots outside of the Big Four (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+). He recommends several places to check: Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr and Quora. For example, Oreo is known for creating amazing content on various platforms, including Instagram where the brand has 1.6 million followers and posts entertaining, funny and mouth-watering images and videos. Sony Electronics’ Pins have become very popular among Pinterest users, which has helped the company build strong relationships with the community.

Social media marketers should carefully select the social networks they post on to make sure they don’t miss out on the opportunities that social media can offer them.

2. Check the key elements of your social media profiles

Once you’ve decided which social networks you’re going to take advantage of, make sure that you have a proper profile page. This includes the following important elements: your profile photo, company information (name and description), bios, and a link to your website.

And here are the basics that you should keep track of:

  • Posting frequency (e.g., the date of your last social activity)
  • Follower/fan/subscriber count
  • Referral traffic

Create a spreadsheet where you’ll keep all this information. You can also include the percentage of change in these metrics from the previous month, which will clearly illustrate your progress.

3. Maintain a high level of online activity

Remain active on your major social networks, which doesn’t mean simply posting information about your company.

  • Add new friends and engage with them
  • Join groups that are related to your brand and participate in them
  • Engage in conversations with your followers and fans to build credibility and trust and to gain the loyalty of your audience.

4. Promote your social media profiles

Make sure that people can easily find your brand and connect with it. Here’s how you can promote your social profiles:

  • Add them on your website
  • Include them in your email signature
  • Include them on your business card
  • Interlink your social profiles to one other

You can also check out the social media analytics compass, which includes a detailed description provided by RazorSocial.

Social Media Audit Toolkit: What Tools Should Marketers Use to Analyze the Health of Their Social Media Profiles?

Analyzing your social media data helps you better understand your audience and discover what people are saying about your brand. This is the key to making the most of your social media campaigns.

You can start with the official metrics that some social networks provide:

  • Facebook Insights. Facebook provides the ultimate metrics for your business page. By using it, you can learn some very valuable information, like your most popular content, as well as the best day of the week and the best time of the day to post. You can also check the key metrics, such as your total number of likes, the potential number of fans you can reach, and the number of people who are actively talking about your brand.
  • Twitter Analytics. Twitter also offers its own analytics, but they’re not as detailed as Facebook. You can measure the level of engagement of your tweets, and get to know your followers by exploring their locations, demographics and interests. The social network also offers monthly reports and allows you to check your analytics on your mobile phone.
  • LinkedIn Analytics. From the Analytics tab, you can learn view metrics and trends related to your company’s LinkedIn page. These metrics are divided into three specific categories: updates, followers and visitors.

Now that you know how to get analytics out of the major social networks, let’s see what social media audit tools can be helpful to enhance your output.

  • RivalIQ. This awesome tool allows you to perform complete competitive analysis and see the size of your competitors’ audiences, competitors’ posting frequency, number of social signals and more.
  • SEMrush Social Media Tool. This is another social analytics tool for conducting competitive analysis and tracking the success of your own social media campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and YouTube. Using key metrics, you can easy compare and contrast posts across varying platforms as well as highlight where the highest levels of engagement and referring traffic is coming from.
  • Hootsuite. This tool gives you a comprehensive view of your social media outreach across your social media accounts.
  • Klout. The website uses social media data to rank users’ online performance according to their social influence. It assigns your business a unique Klout Score that ranges from one to 100, according to your online influence. A good thing about Klout is that it enables users to discover what people are saying about their brand by measuring their influence through Twitter engagement.
  • Followerwonk. This Moz app focuses on Twitter analytics, and provides insights into your online presence. With its help you can plan your outreach campaigns, connect with influencers and fans, and divide them into groups by their location, their number of followers and more.
  • Curalate. This visual marketing platform provides insights into your Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr profiles and analyzes your social media conversions. It generates analytics detailing which of your brand’s products are being shared more often across different visual social networks and enables you to measure, monitor and grow your influence there.
  • Audience. This service, which was known as SocialBro just a while ago, lives up to its new name, and provides audience insight. It helps you measure your Twitter account’s growth, determine the best time of the day to send your tweets, and better understand your audience. Also, Audience has recently expanded its toolkit to provide data on social advertising and personality insight.
  • TweetReach. TweetReach by Union Metrics allows you to analyze the reach of your or your competitors’ tweets.
  • HowSociable. With HowSociable, you can discover which of the social media platforms that you use works best for your brand, and on which of them you should improve your performance. You can track 12 social networks for free, and there’s also a paid version that allows you to monitor 24 or more, including Facebook, Twitter and others. Plus, HowSocialbe allows you to measure your competitors’ social media presence, not just your own.
  • Simply Measured. This service enables you to analyze your paid, owned and earned activity from social websites, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Vine and many others.

To find out more on this topic, check out the Olga Andrienko’s article “ The Social Media Audit Checklist.”

What Common Social Media Mistakes Do Audits Reveal?

Social media audits can help you reveal mistakes that you might be making even without knowing it. We made a list of the five most common social media mistakes that can be spotted during an audit.

1. Fake followers

It’s very common for people or brands to have an active social page with many fake followers. You should keep track of your followers’ level of engagement with your brand to make sure they are actual users. Otherwise, you won’t have any social support from your audience. To build a strong community, you should focus on slowly but steadily building a network of real followers.

2. Low level of interaction

As we said earlier, you shouldn’t only focus on your brand. Having an active online presence doesn’t mean simply posting information about your company, but participating in conversations. If you post regularly, but there’s a very little interaction, it means your brand lacks communication with its audience. Engage in conversations with your followers and clients in order to build durable and valuable relationships with them.

3. Posting too frequently in a short period of time

Posting content regularly is a good tactic, but everything has its limitations. For example, Leo Widrich assumes that the best posting frequency is around five to 10 times a day on Twitter andone to four times a day on Facebook. By using tools the tools we mentioned above, you can determine the best time to post on social websites. When it comes to social media marketing, a high posting frequency is not necessarily the best option.

4. Inconsistent messaging

Being consistent with your brand voice and messaging on social media is essential to gain trust and build your brand’s reputation. You can learn more on how to do this in the article “ How To Keep Your Branding Consistent on Social Media.”

5. Having accounts on too many platforms

Some social media marketers desperately try to be everywhere for everybody. But don’t be in a hurry to create an account on every possible social website. If you’re not capable of posting high-quality content and engaging with your followers on all of them, you’re just wasting your precious time. Keep the focus of your social media strategy narrow and devote your efforts toward social networks that you can surely take advantage of.

How Should You Check Brand Signals and Your Audience’s Perception of Your Brand on Social?

Brand signals are a great way to build trust and credibility around your website and improve your search visibility. The more quality signals that come from external resources, the better search engines will understand how important your brand is.

Finding out what people say about your company can be quite difficult and time-consuming, but this knowledge is crucial for better understanding your social ecosystem. But how can you discover what people are saying about you?

  • Monitor your brand mentions.

  • Monitor industry news. You can use the IFTTT (If This Then That) app, which allows you to track everything you want to know. You should choose a trigger channel (“is this happens”) and an action channel (“then do that”). You can set up a recipe (i.e., a rule in IFTTT) that scan RSS feeds of industry websites and sends you an email alert with the results on a regular basis. Also, if a certain website mentions you, you’ll receive an email alert, which helps you keep track of what people are saying about your brand.

  • Use a real-time search engine. By real-time search I mean IceRocket, a free, ad-supported source for people who’re looking to monitor their brand. The service allows you to search Twitter, Facebook, and blogs for specific terms. It’s very easy to use – you just need to type your term in the search box and choose your preferred channels.
  • Search for influencer opinions. Monitor influencers to learn what they’re saying about your niche in general, or maybe even about your brand specifically. You can find several useful tools for influencer research in this article published on Mention.
  • Check your hashtag usage. Your hashtag can be either your brand name or a term associated with your brand. Discover which hashtags users are coupling with yours. It’s important that your hashtag is used along with words that have a positive connotation, like “best,” “good,” “happy” and others.

How Can Marketers Tell if Their Agency is Performing Well on Social Media?

For some marketers, social measurement can be one of the most difficult challenges they face. To know whether your social media efforts are worthwhile, you should clearly understand your objectives and determine which social networks are in line with your goals. Then you can use the following measurement strategies.

Check Google Analytics traffic

With Google Analytics you can check what drives the majority of your social media traffic. Click on your website and then click Acquisition => All Traffic => Channels in the left hand column. In the “Channel” window you should click on “Social.” It’s worth checking those numbers each month to discover which of your pieces is doing the best.

Track your social media growth

Track your numbers across all your social platforms. Create a spreadsheet, where you can keep your information and update it each month with your numbers and percentage of growth. Growth is a huge indicator that shows how your brand is performing online and how your audience is reacting to it. You can also set a growth target for each month or another time span that is more suitable for you.

Create a point system

A good way to measure your social media efforts and see how users are responding is by creating a sort of a rating system for your social engagement, as Rick Mulready suggests.

Likes and comments are important, but shares are the most valuable, as they provide your posts with wider reach. Rick Mulready recommends using a tiered point system to weight different types of engagement. This is what his system for Facebook looks like:

  • Like: 1 point
  • Comment: 5 points
  • Share: 10 points

At the end of your campaign, you sum up values and get an understanding of how successful your strategy is.

Research your competitors

Competitive analysis can be very helpful when you’re developing your own social media strategy. First of all, you can learn from your rivals: what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Then see what you can do better and go for it! Set your performance goals above and beyond their level of achievement. This could even be one of your measures of success.

How Often Should Marketers Audit Their Entire Social Media Presence?

You can check some things on a weekly basis. For example, you can determine which topics are the most popular and which pieces of content are resonating best with your audience.

A monthly check can be used for benchmarking and getting a more general view of your social media performance.

While monthly audits help you ensure you’re on track, a major, in-depth annual audit is also essential to align your social media results with your company objectives.

If you have a considerable change whether in your company goals, or in your brand positioning, or your website, this is a reason to conduct an unscheduled social media audit.

What Social Media Audit Fix Has Had the Highest Impact on Your Performance?

As you can see, a social media audit is an essential part of your overall social media marketing strategy. After you’ve developed a clear plan and starting implementing your strategy, you need to track your progress and make sure that everything is going as planned.

During a thorough audit you will see what’s working, what’s failing and what can be improved across the social media networks you use. You’ll be able to fix any problems that you might have and get answers to the key questions.

Let’s see how social media audit has helped our chat participants:

A social media audit gives you the opportunity to see your brand from the perspective of your customers.

Got any tips for improving your social media performance? Let us know by leaving a comment!