You’re tweeting, you’re pinning, you’re Instagramming. You have followers and likes galore. Your social channels are up-and-running. But what do you really know about how they’re performing? While you likely have metrics around high-level performance, you may have not taken the time to stop and think about what those metrics mean and how you can use them to your fullest advantage.
Auditing your social media channels isn’t as complex as you think. All you really need is to follow 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Be Objective
The first step in any audit is to focus on the facts. Take an objective, black and white look at each of your accounts. Don’t judge what is there or make predictions about what to do next. You’re simply getting down the information.
During this fact gathering portion of the audit, there are a few metrics you’ll want to have handy. If you regularly keep track of how your social channels are performing, or if you have a reporting tool (such as those offered by SocialStudio, Hootsuite, or SproutSocial) that will gather these metrics for you, this step will be fairly easy. If you don’t, then you’ll have to look at the analytics provided by the social channels themselves.
Social Metrics that Matter
- Follower Counts
- Engagement Rate
- Link Clicks
- How often you post (on average)
- Top 10 Tweets
If you’re utilizing Twitter Cards (which you absolutely should be!) you’ll want to see how those different cards are performing and which type is working the best for your audience.
- Page Likes
- Engagement (Likes, Shares, Comments)
- Total Reach
- Top 10 Facebook Posts (over the past three-six months)
- Engagement Rates
- Top performing posts (over the past three-six months)
- Top 10 posts (over the past three-six months)
Note: Instagram is starting to slowly roll out analytics to brands.
You’ll also want to take note of how often, on average, you’re posting on each social channel, whether that’s daily, weekly, or even monthly.
Step 2: Analyze
In the analysis step, you’ll take a look at each of your social channels and start to draw some conclusions based on the objective fact-finding information you gathered in Step 1.
For example, you may see that your top tweets have some common theme or similarity. Or you may notice that videos have higher engagement on Instagram than static photos. You may find that tweets containing certain hashtags get more retweets than those without.
You can even look cross-channel to see how the same content performed and if that performance varied base on the channel it was on. You may find that posts on a certain topic have a high rate of performance on LinkedIn, but that that those same posts received low engagement on Facebook.
The key in the Analyze step is to look at what’s working and think about why that might be the case. Things like the amount of characters in your post, topic, date, time, content, CTA, etc. can all influence engagement. Your job is to find those common themes and draw some conclusions.
Step 3: Make a Plan
Audits like this not only help you take a look at what you’ve done in the past, but give you a chance to analyze what’s working, what isn’t, and, most importantly, what you should do moving forward. It can also help you re-evaluate which metrics are most important to you and establish new goals moving forward.
Establishing goals is what Step 3 is meant to help you do.
So you have all this information. You’ve found some common threads between what’s working and what isn’t. Now, what will you do with that information?
Essentially you want to create a goal (or two) for each channel and then outline how you plan to achieve that goal, as well as what you’ll be testing along the way.
As an example, if you found that Tweets that contained less than 100 characters, one hashtag, and were phrased in the form of a question got the highest engagements, you may conclude that you should test using more of these types of tweets to see if it boosts your overall engagement rate.
Or you may see that your Facebook following is highly interactive and decide that it may be worth it to invest your time into posting 4 times a week instead of just 2, and invest less time in Pinterest, which doesn’t seem to resonate with your audience.
You may even find that Instagram posts you’ve shared via Twitter get a high number of likes and retweets. Perhaps experiment with posting more images on Twitter either from Instagram, or images created especially for Twitter, to see if this has an impact.
Or you may see that a channel is lagging behind some of the others and create a plan to test a new approach. Make the decision to post more, post less, post different content, etc.
And for some of you, you may find you’re satisfied with your engagement and instead want to focus more on building your follower base.
Whatever plans you put in place, make sure you put them down in writing. And make sure you give yourself at least 3 months to let those plans play out before evaluating the results.
A Few Other Considerations…
Audits should be a regular part of your digital marketing strategy and you should audit your channels once per quarter, or at the very least, twice a year.
After completing your initial audit, come up with short term goals and tests that you can check-in on between audits (about once a month) so you can monitor progress at a high level. This can help you identify trouble spots or tests gone wrong, allowing you to correct course before too much damage is done.
Don’t forget to look to your competitors as well. What are they doing that’s getting high engagement or low engagement? You can learn a surprising amount from your competitors just by scrolling through their feeds. We often recommend clients have us perform a competitive audit at least once a year to see what lessons we can learn. Keep in mind, your competitors are probably looking to you for a lesson or two as well.
The 3 steps listed above should provide you with a very basic audit, but you can get as granular with your data as you see fit. Even without tools, you can pretty easily manipulate the data provided by Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter to draw conclusions regarding things like which time you should post each day based on highest engagement. Or estimate when you’re most likely to get the highest amount of impressions. All it takes is a few formulas in Excel, a pivot table, and some patience. You can even add Google Analytics into the mix to see which social channels are generating the most traffic back to your site.
Whatever you want to find, as long as you have access to the data, an audit can help you uncover it and use it to give your social performance a boost.