For many of us, prevention is better than a cure. Giving things a spring clean every year means we prevent things from breaking down, or stopping problems in their tracks before they get worse. We give our car a checkup every year, not because it’s making strange wheezing sounds, but to keep it in good nick. So what’s stopping us from doing the same thing with our social media channels?
A social media audit is a handy tool which is often overlooked by businesses. We often wait until things are ‘not working’ to attempt to fix them, rather than checking in once a year (or more!) to ensure things are up to date.
It’s common that when we set up social media channels, we’re in a rush, throw in an image, text and some updates without having the time to ensure things are looking consistent as a business.
But, like a good spring clean, when a social media audit is complete, you know a little bit more about what you’ve got, things you forgot were there and you’ve usually a good idea of what some next steps are in keeping social media (or hallway cupboards!) up to scratch!
A social media audit covers multiple areas of social media best-practise to ensure you’re on-track. Let’s look at what these areas are, and how you can use them to assess your own business is on track, or to gain insight into your competitors.
It might feel like there is not a lot we can do with design on a social media channel because in most cases we can only update our cover image or our profile picture. But the difference between making a social media channel looking adequate and professional is the detail.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to be juggling a million things when setting up their social media channels for the first time. This often leads to businesses throwing on placeholder images for their cover image and profile picture – but then never actually remember to update it. Instead of their business logo, they might have a picture of a coffee cup, so they miss out on reinforcing their brand or logo when their audience sees their updates.
Ensuring your Cover Image is professionally designed is also important. It reflects on your business if it’s poorly sized or uses too many mismatching fonts. But consider the opportunity you can use your cover images to reflect your current events, sales, or promotions. If you’ve got a sale for EOFY or Christmas, make a new version of your Facebook cover image to announce it.
The other items that often are set up when we’re feeling inspired, then forgotten about, are apps on Facebook Pages. Think of the tabs on the left-hand side of the page: perhaps it’s a newsletter signup form, maybe once you ran a competition. These are the dusty cobwebs under the bed, because nearly every page has one of two of these tabs that are either wildly out of date because they were added half a decade ago, or they simply don’t work any more.
What items should you keep in mind when auditing for design?
- Is your profile picture a clear reflection of your business?
- Can it be seen on mobile devices?
- Is it the same profile picture across all of your social media channels?
- Is your cover image a clear reflection of your business?
- Does it update based on events in your business?
URLs and Usernames
While some businesses manage to score their business name as their Instagram handle or Facebook URL, as social media grows in popularity, there are many businesses that miss out.
For those trying to find a username to suit their business when the name they want isn’t available, there can be a wild mix of characters and numbers thrown into usernames, which make then really hard for customers to find, or remember. A user searching for that business is far less likely to be able to find them if the username doesn’t clearly reflect the business name. Adding an additional descriptor, such as a city name, for example, can be a really simple way to help address this.
For cases where it’s a real challenge to secure your desired username, it’s best to go to a little more effort to promote your username through other means: ensure your bio or about section clearly states your business name, update your offline marketing to ensure you can be found, like ensuring your username is visible on your business cards, email signature, menu or shopfront.
One of the key details for usernames is doing your best to make them consistent across channels. When someone follows you on Instagram, if they want to see if you’re on Twitter, they’re likely to type in the same username. If you don’t have the same username, people will struggle to find you. Consistency is key…. where possible!
Things to think about with your username:
- Is your Facebook URL or social media username a clear reflection of your business name?
- Is it easy to type on mobile devices?
- Is it the same across all of your social media channels?
Related post: The Checklist for Changing Your Social Media Usernames
Content and Frequency
Social media marketing is designed to build a relationship with your customer. Does every piece of content have a purpose? Whether your content is designed to invite your customer to consume your products, connect with your business values or build a community, ensuring your content is clearly designed to speak to a specific audience is essential.
Is your social media content speaking to your “ideal customer”? What are their challenges, struggles or hopes or dreams that your product aims to resolve? How is your content talking to these needs?
Having a consistent tone of voice and colour palette can make all the difference when we want to make our social media channels shine.
While there are many opinions on how often you should post on social media, or the time of day, one of the most important factors to keep in mind is consistency. If you have posted four times in a week, and then not for a month, it’s hard to build a community. However, if you instead post that content once a week for a month, that shows your audience that you’re still around.
Things to think about with your content posting:
- Look at the last month of content – does each piece of content speak to your target audience? What message is it sending, or what is the purpose of each post?
- Is there a consistent tone of voice and colour palette?
- Is there consistency in how often you are posting?
Engagement, Community and Customer Support
Social media engagement, community and customer support are different activities, but have one thing in common: being active, every single day.
Creating engagement looks at how you are creating posts to engage your community: how are you creating conversation and connections? Are you opening conversations, or looking at polls or votes or discussing recent news?
Community engagement looks at how responsive you are to keep those conversations rolling – if someone posts a comment, or question – do you respond? While there is some benefit to letting other community members answer questions, you want to balance it so that you aren’t answering every question, every time. Consider if there are other community members you can loop in and tag to facilitate discussion to build that community.
Customer support is an important aspect to consider if your business is mostly run online. Is someone has a question about your product or service, how responsive are you? Do you look for comments or questions every day? Do you respond every day? Or are there questions which have been left unanswered for months? Setting up a process for sweeping these channels is essential.
Things to think about with community engagement:
- Are you creating content to engage your audience in conversations?
- Are you continuing those conversations, or connecting your community to do so?
- Are you answering customer support questions in a timely manner?
These questions are a starting point to get you thinking about your social media channels, but there are always more details we can dive into. When was the last time you stepped back to look at your social media channels as a whole, without fighting fires or trying to create content? Your challenge, for this week, is to mark two dates in your calendar: one date for this year, to do an audit of your social media channels, and one for next year. Go on – pop in in your diary now.
If you’re looking for a tool to help guide you through a comprehensive social media audit, check out my DIY social media audit tool below. It will guide you through these questions and more to give you an idea of how well-maintained your social media channels are. Are the end, receive a score of how well-maintained your channel is, and you’ll learn which areas of your social media you’re already running as per best-practise, and what you can improve on.
Check it out below this post if you’d like a tool to help you audit your own social media channels with fresh eyes, or perhaps audit a competitor to see how they are managing their channels, to gain insights about what they are doing and thinking.
Ready to look at your social media channels with fresh eyes? Turn off your email, put your phone on silent, throw on a classic 80s playlist, and work your way down the social media audit checklist. You’ll see some things that you’re doing really well already, but also get some ideas of how you can improve your channels, too.
And like a good spring clean, at the end, you can bask in the glow of your gorgeous new spruced-up channels. And reward yourself with a sneaky little latte, of course.
DIY Social Media Audit Checklist
Are your social media channels up to scratch? This Excel spreadsheet is a simple download which guides you through auditing your own social media channels. Find out where you can improve your social media channel management and what you’re already doing really well. At the end of the interactive spreadsheet, get a score out of 100%.
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Want to work with Rachel?Rachel Beaney is a writer and social media content specialist, helping businesses connect with their audiences.
She’s worked with local, national and global companies, in addition to not-for-profits and government bodies. She loves helping businesses tell their stories with creative and data-driven solutions.
She is based in Sydney, Australia.
Want to work together? Rachel would love to hear from you. Get in touch today.