The way most people, especially younger generations, will experience your brand is through your company’s online presence, particularly on social media. People care about what is said on social media and the overall message you are putting across. There is no other marketing and public relations battleground more prominent, and industry leaders are still often trying to figure out what works—and these dynamics change each year.
One of the challenges of working in the space necessitates is that you must regularly monitor the effectiveness of your efforts to connect to people through social media. And while you can try to gauge metrics based on memory or general impressions, we believe that performing a full social media presence audit would be the best option in most circumstances.
Here are a few more reasons to invest in such an audit:
You can see if your strategy and values are in alignment
Every brand should have its value and state them publicly, but does your social media presence come into alignment with those values? Are they brought up on posts and content, either explicitly or implicitly? Do posts or business practices ever contradict those values? Looking into these questions should be an essential part of the audit. People are caring more about the social and societal impact of businesses, and staying in front of those concerns is now a major part of the job of a social media or PR professional.
A good social media will also get the clear picture on how people who interact with your brand online perceive those values, and how they think your organization exemplifies them (or doesn’t exemplify them), allowing you to create a course correction strategy should you feel it necessary.
You will get a big-picture view of your presence
How prominent is your brand online, really? One of the main goals of a thorough social media presence audit (ideally using the right tools) is to answer that question and give you realistic data to work with. As successful as you might want to appear to yourself and your peers, the numbers don’t lie and eventually, you will need to base decisions on what the big picture looks like.
This similarly applies to information about your competitors, which at least on a general level you will likely be working with as well. You should be able to notice their mistakes and learn from them, and work to emulate their unique successes if you think that is a sound strategy.
Finally, getting that big-picture view will allow you to see trends across every dimension of your business. How did a new product release affect engagement, and how long did that effect last? Are campaigns or posts complementing each other? Are you posting too much or are there unnecessary dips in activity? With some time looking over results, you’ll find answers to questions you didn’t even know you had.
The data you get will help you change course
Social media can be by far the most effective marketing tool a business has, especially those that rely upon word-of-mouth to rise above the competition, but this is only meaningful if you have the right strategy in mind for your pages. For this, you will need hard data collected from a full social media audit, and you will need to make sure that you have every metric possible. An audit that isn’t thorough could possibly miss a key factor, only diverting your organization further off course.
A proper audit will allow you to notice which social media strategies are meeting projected goals and which posts are getting no engagement. Your brand will then be able to play to its strengths and work towards a better brand recognition and reputation.
You will be able to notice more opportunities
On a related note, a proper social media audit will look at comments and data trends and see opportunities arise for further engagement and capitalization. The type of opportunity will vary based on your industry (it might be a subtle demand for more of a form of content, or it could be a demand for a type of product), but often noticing these opportunities recoups the cost of the audit itself.
The guiding question of your audit should be in most cases “where are my limited resources best spent on improving the organization and the brand from a social media standpoint?” Finding the best opportunities for both the business and your campaign is vital to stay competitive in the space. For example, look for peak times and spikes in engagement, and work to take advantage of those times or events.
A full social media audit can be a notable undertaking for your staff, requiring even a few days of work depending on the size of your online presence. Yet it allows your company to get a snapshot of the big picture, allowing for better long-term planning and hopeful mastery of the space for the years to come.
How difficult would it be for your organization to conduct a social media audit? What would that consist of? Is there anything you’re looking for? Consider sharing this article with colleagues and starting discussions about the issues revolving around social media in the PR space.