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How to Effectively Perform a Social Media Audit (w/ Template)

There are many marketing mistakes all businesses make on their long and winding journey to online success. These mistakes are only natural, especially if you’ve just started investing in a digital marketing strategy. 

One of these mistakes is investing in specific digital marketing strategies, such as social media marketing, without reliable and actionable data to back them up.

If you just start posting haphazardly, you can’t expect to make any significant waves. Simply put, you need a more robust, data-driven social media strategy in order to be successful, which is impossible without regular content audits.

And that’s exactly what we aim to achieve in this complete guide – conducting a proper social media audit. Plus, we’ll share a free template for it as a cherry on top.

Let’s roll!

What Is a Social Media Audit

A social media audit is a process of examining and evaluating a brand’s social media presence and performance. It involves analyzing the brand’s social media accounts, content, audience, and engagement metrics to identify areas of strength and weakness.

To put the audit into perspective and organize your data into actionable steps, apply the SWOT framework. All the data you pull will provide insights into your:

  • Strengths. Which posts drive website traffic, and what activity positively affects SEO? Does the platform-specific data indicate follower growth and engagement? How can you capitalize on this engagement moving forward?
  • Weaknesses. Is there any type of content that is underperforming? Are there audience demographics you’re not able to reach yet? Does social listening reveal a negative brand sentiment?
  • Opportunities. What new trends have come to life on each platform? What about the new trends in your niche that will allow you to launch new social media campaigns? Have you noticed a market gap that you can fill quickly?
  • Threats. Have you noticed your competitors trying to engage your target audience with competing posts and offers? Are they working with influencers with better KPIs?

These are some of the questions that you will answer with a SWOT analysis.

Remember, you need a separate SWOT analysis for every social media network and your social media activity in order to get accurate data. This kind of a deep dive into a specific network allows you to build a powerful social presence on every platform.

Why Should You Perform a Social Media Audit?

There are many reasons to conduct a social media audit nowadays, but the overarching one is to build and retain a competitive advantage. 

You can’t hope to make any kind of positive impact or set yourself apart from the competition if you don’t analyze your key performance indicators and create data-driven marketing campaigns. 

And here’s where the audit enters the scene. Besides delivering the data you need for tangible results, it also helps with the following tasks.

To measure your ROI

A social media audit allows businesses to measure their social media return on investment (ROI). 

By tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), such as engagement rates, follower growth, and website traffic, you can determine if your social media strategy is driving the desired results. 

An audit helps identify which channels and what type of social media content are performing well and which ones need improvement. This identification enables you to:

  • Adjust your strategy quickly
  • Optimize resource spending and plug financial leaks
  • Generate a better ROI from your social media marketing efforts in specific timeframes

Needless to say, measuring your social media ROI is instrumental for minimizing financial waste. When you consider the cost of social media marketing, it’s important to be careful with your spending and maximize every marketing dollar. 

By understanding what works for your social media profiles, you’ll have a benchmark to better optimize and allocate your resources for future campaigns.

To increase brand consistency

Consistency in branding and messaging is crucial for building brand recognition and trust. A social media audit, therefore, helps identify any inconsistencies in brand messaging, visuals, tone of voice, and overall approach to social media. 

By addressing these inconsistencies, you ensure that your social media presence accurately reflects your brand across the online and offline realms, and creates a consistent user experience.

This assessment is an important part of brand consistency on social media, sure, but it’s also crucial to achieve it when you’re combining social media marketing and traditional marketing tactics. 

To set the right objectives

While there are many other benefits of conducting a social media audit, let’s mention just one more. 

Simply put, a social media audit helps you set the right objectives for your social media marketing strategy, and also allows you to tie these objectives into your overarching marketing goals. 

We talked about goal-setting above, but we didn’t mention how important your goals and objectives are for your marketing processes. 

Setting clear objectives will allow you to reverse-engineer them and work your way back through the key processes and tactics, while using a social media analytics tool to help achieve them.

Alright, now’s the time to take a deep dive into the key steps you need to take to perform a successful audit.

How to Perform a Social Media Audit (Quick Overview)

Now that you know all the whats and the whys, let’s briefly break down a step-by-step process behind the audit of your social media accounts. 

How to Perform Social Media Audit - Digital Marketer's World

Here’s a quick round-up of what it should entail:

Let’s put it into perspective. 

Step #1: Create a list of your accounts

The first step is to identify the key social media accounts you want to audit, noting the old and the new platforms that are relevant for your company. 

Keep in mind that some social media platforms may simply not be as relevant as they used to be. Besides, you might want to drop some of your old accounts simply because they don’t bring enough engagement any longer.

However, you won’t know what platforms are best for your company until you delve into some research.

For starters, create a list of your accounts and pull the data from your reporting tool for each one. Then, research some recent stats for each platform, preferably in your industry.

The following visual contains some general stats about social media to keep in mind in your search:

B2B buyer's use of social media - Gartner research

According to the above research from Gartner, B2B customers are predominantly acting on messaging and advertising from Facebook and YouTube. Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are following closely behind, which seem to be the most powerful social platforms for influencing purchasing decisions. 

Reddit and TikTok are still going through some growing pains, but they’re also expected to rise in the near future.

Researching the general trends of all relevant social media networks will guide your overall social media strategy, and will also tie nicely into your metrics. Combined, these data sources will give you a clear picture of the road ahead.

Step #2: Identify top-performing posts and accounts

It should go without saying that your best-performing posts will serve as the foundation of your social media efforts moving forward. In addition, one of the pro social media marketing tips you should use is to keep an eye on your competition and dissect their top posts. 

After all, there’s always something valuable you can learn from your competitors. 

This kind of competitive analysis will give you valuable insights into the best social media content out there, which you can then emulate in your own unique way.

That said, this research will also tell you what not to do. Your competitors aren’t perfect, they don’t always know what works—and that’s your opportunity to capitalize on their mistakes.

Step #3: Evaluate metrics 

Arguably the most important part of a social media audit is to track the most relevant metrics.

We’ll take a deep dive into these metrics in a minute, but here they are:

  • Reach. This metric is the number of users who have come across your content on a social platform.
  • Impressions. This metric measures the number of people who have seen a post, even if they didn’t click, comment, or otherwise engage with that post.
  • Audience growth rate. This metric gives you a follower count and tells you the number of followers you gained in a specific timeframe.
  • Engagement rate. This metric tells you the number and type of interactions your social media posts get compared to your reach.
  • Audience demographics. This metric gives you the demographic data you need to segment your audience and build detailed personas.
  • Leads generated. This metric gives you the number of leads you’ve generated per platform, in a specific timeframe.

We should add here that it will make the job easier for you if you compare the KPIs of your posts to averages for a given social media platform.

Here are the numbers for LinkedIn, for instance:

  • Engagement rate – 2%
  • Click-through rate – 0.67%

Here’s what we can consider a good LinkedIn post within these average percentages:

Example of well-performing social media post on Digital Olympus’ LinkedIn page
An example of well-performing social media post on Digital Olympus’ LinkedIn page

Metrics including reactions, clicks, reposts, comments, impressions, and reach, should be analyzed separately within the time frame of your audit. 

Step #4: Set the right social media goals

You must base your goals for all social media campaigns on relevant data. As we indicated before, you will pull data from multiple sources, not just your own social performance indicators.

The data sources you use to fuel your marketing goals include:

  • Own social media metrics
  • A competitive analysis
  • Market and audience trends per platform
  • General social media trends
  • Social media forecasts from reputable sources

All of this data should influence your goal-setting process, particularly when you plug the data into your company’s key objectives and the long-term business results you want to achieve.

Your key social media goals, for example, could be to:

  • Increase brand awareness
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • Generate new leads
  • Build a brand community
  • Increase social sales
  • Boost customer service
  • Boost PR in your niche

In order to set the right goals and identify the best practices for your social strategy, you also need to analyze your audience on different social networks. This leads us to the next important point.

Step #5: Understand your audience on each platform

One of the key elements of your social media audit, that you’ll need to include in your social media marketing strategy, is the ability to understand your audience on every platform.

This understanding requires you to delve deep into audience behaviors and the way people interact with you and their favorite accounts. It also means focusing on social listening to uncover the conversations surrounding your brand, competitor brands, and important topics in the industry.

The audit will uncover general data points such as active times, location, and even purchasing power so that you know exactly who your ideal customers are. A closer look at analytics can also show you what industry your followers come from:

Follower industry breakdown in LinkedIn Analytics
Follower industry breakdown in LinkedIn Analytics

Okay, now that you know what a social media audit is and how to do it, let’s take a closer look at the must-track metrics for this activity.

6 Key Social Media Metrics to Track During an Audit

Conducting a social media audit provides you with a comprehensive overview of your social media performance, and tracking key metrics is an important part of this process. 

Here are six important metrics that need to be a part of your social media audit checklist.

Metric #1: Reach

As we’ve mentioned earlier, reach refers to the total number of people who have seen your content on social media. 

It’s important to track this metric, as it helps you understand the potential audience that your content is reaching. 

All social media tracking solutions (including built-in tools) show you the reach per post and within a pre-set time frame. Here’s an example from Semrush:

Reach results in Semrush Social Media Analytics
Reach results in Semrush Social Media Analytics

You can also view the reach percentage growth compared to a previous month.

There are two main types of reach:

  • Organic reach. This term describes the number of people who have seen your posts without you putting any money towards their distribution. 
  • Paid reach. As the name implies, this reach is the one you have paid to have promoted on social media, reaching a highly targeted audience.

Tracking both metrics will give you an understanding of the effectiveness of your social media posts and your posting frequency, as well as the effectiveness of your paid advertising efforts. 

Make sure to distinguish between the two so as not to muddy the results. 

Metric #2: Impressions

Impressions refer to the number of times your content has been displayed on social media. 

Similar to reach, you can also view impressions and their growth percentage in your social media tracker:

Growth of impressions in Semrush Social Media Analytics
Growth of impressions in Semrush Social Media Analytics

This metric helps you understand the potential number of times your social media content has been seen by your audience. Your analytics tools will give you concrete numbers for each platform and every type of content you’ve posted.

This data is crucial to determine the potential of your content marketing strategy on social media channels. 

Impressions can also be broken down into organic and paid impressions, providing you with valuable insights into both investments. 

Metric #3: Audience growth rate

Audience growth rate simply measures the rate at which your social media audience is growing. 

You don’t have any specific tool to view audience growth rate – this data is available via built-in social analytics solutions along with the follower count. Here’s what it looks like on LinkedIn:

Audience growth rate via LinkedIn Analytics
Audience growth rate via LinkedIn Analytics

The data this metric provides is crucial for effective social media management. Apart from that, this KPI shares insights into how well your social media content, your brand name, and messaging are resonating with your target audience. 

It’s important to track audience growth rate to ensure that you are growing your social media following, which is an indicator of brand awareness, and that your content is reaching a wider audience.

Metric #4: Engagement rate

Engagement rate measures how much an audience interacts with your social media content. 

Most social media tools calculate this KPI in percentages:

Engagement rate via LinkedIn Analytics
Engagement rate via LinkedIn Analytics

You can divide this metric into:

  • Number of likes
  • Number of comments
  • Number of shares
  • Number of clicks per post

Each of these sub-metrics tells you how your audience interacts with all types of posts on different platforms. You will almost always have more comments than shares, for example, but if you notice that a particular post is getting shared like crazy, that means you need to analyze and figure out what makes it stand out.

On the other hand, say a post is being shared all over the place but the clicks are just not there. This data means that you’re getting exposure, sure, but people aren’t actually opening the link—you’re not driving traffic.

All in all, by tracking your engagement rate, you gain valuable insights you can use to optimize your content strategy.

Metric #5: Audience demographics

Audience demographics refer to the age, gender, location, and interests of your social media audience. 

As we mentioned, social media channels like LinkedIn also show you the industry your followers come from and their company size. Our favorite is the option to see their job functions – you can use this to diversify your social media content:

Follower demographics and their job functions via LinkedIn Analytics
Follower demographics and their job functions via LinkedIn Analytics

Understanding the demographics of a social media audience is crucial, as it helps you tailor your content marketing strategy and your messaging to appeal to your ideal target audience. 

This metric also provides insights into new markets, new platforms, and new opportunities for brand growth on social media.

Metric #6: Leads generated

Leads generated refers to the number of people who have taken a specific action as a result of your social media content and messaging. 

Generating a lead means a person has:

  • Filled out a contact form
  • Signed up for a newsletter
  • Made a purchase
  • Reached out in the DMs with a question
  • Signed up for an online event
  • Applied for or downloaded a free digital item

By tracking this crucial metric, you can determine how well your social media efforts contribute to your overall business goals.

Now that we’ve covered the metrics, let’s wrap things up by taking a look at the social media management tools to help you conduct a cost-effective audit.

5 Social Media Audit Tools to Evaluate Your Online Performance

Here are the best tools to consider for different company sizes.

P.S. We covered them in more detail in our extended guide; make sure to give it a read. 

Tool #1: Later

Later is a comprehensive social media management tool, which means that it’s also one of the top social media analytics solutions out there. One of its core features is the reporting feature, which goes beyond basic reporting and provides personalized insights.

Later homepage screenshot
Credit: Later

These insights provide all the in-depth information you need to figure out exactly what’s working and what doesn’t, offering unique suggestions to optimize your social media campaigns.

Along with its other core features like tracking subscribers and traffic, scheduling posts, and finding the best content on social, we can safely call it a complete solution.

Pricing: Starts at $18/monthly

Tool #2: SproutSocial

SproutSocial is one of the most well-known social media management tools in the modern market. 

This all-in-one system is a reliable choice for businesses of all sizes, helping you understand your audience, engage with your subscribers and followers, and drive leads towards conversion.

SproutSocial homepage screenshot
Credit: SproutSocial

Of course, one of its best features is the analytics suite, which gives you a comprehensive overview of all your KPIs, old and new platforms, and all the data that matters to you. You can even integrate your Google Analytics data to have everything neatly organized inside SproutSocial’s analytics dashboard.

Pricing: Starts at $249/monthly

Tool #3: Buffer

Another leading name in the social media marketing space is Buffer, a brand that focuses on bringing valuable solutions to businesses without draining their time or financial resources.

There’s a lot that Buffer has to offer, from scheduling content to intuitive suggestions on hashtags and when and what to publish for maximum engagement and reach. In fact, this tool is all about maximizing your ROI on your social media efforts.

Buffer homepage screenshot
Credit: Buffer

Buffer also provides you with a great-looking, all-in-one dashboard for all your social media analytics and data. 

It pulls important data on your social media accounts, organizes your KPIs, shows you audience demographics, and allows you to go super granular with post analytics, stories, and hashtags.

Pricing: Starts at $0/monthly

Tool #4: Hootsuite

Hootsuite has long been the go-to social media management tool for businesses of all sizes.

You will find various plans to fit any organization’s needs, allowing you to choose a basic plan if you’re just starting out or a business plan if you want all the features you could ever need.

Hootsuite homepage screenshot
Credit: Hootsuite

Their reporting feature set offers a customizable social media report, templates, team productivity reporting, social listening, paid and organic reporting, and publishing insights. 

Complemented by campaign management, content curation and a content marketing audit, and scheduling features, it’s no wonder that this tool is used by the leading brands such as Facebook, U-Haul and Panasonic.

Pricing: Starts at $99/monthly

Tool #5: Brand Mentions

Lastly, we have Brand Mentions, a specialized tool that scours the web to find all the relevant mentions about your brand, and gives your relevant audience insights and competitor data.

This tool is valuable for social listening, brand monitoring, or running a competitive analysis, among many other things.

BrandMentions homepage screenshot
Credit: BrandMentions

You can use this tool to empower your business intelligence team and gather valuable information not just about you, but anything that’s relevant to your company online. 

This data will further empower your content marketing on social media, your messaging, and your brand name in the eyes of your audience, as you’ll be able to use it to build your competitive advantage.

Pricing: Starts at $99/monthly

Download our Free Social Media Audit Template

As any social media manager worth their salt will tell you, having a great template for all your social media efforts and processes is half the job done.

That’s exactly why we’ve prepared a free social media audit template you can use to log all your metrics and data. 

This social media audit spreadsheet gives you a comprehensive overview of your performance on each platform, allowing you to take actionable steps to improve performance.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your template and put all that valuable data to good use!

Now Over to You

There’s a lot that goes into successful and growth-oriented social media management. If you’re not acting on hard data, however, or on the insights that matter, you’ll just waste your social media potential, not to mention your financial resources.

To avoid making this common mistake and build a competitive edge on your social platforms quickly, you need to make social media audits an integral part of your strategy.

Be sure to use this step-by-step guide to empower your social media strategy and make 2023 your most successful year yet. If you’re looking for more in-depth guides like this one, be sure to check out more articles on our blog, where you’ll find all the info you need to maximize the potential of digital marketing for your business!

Nick Sekilic - Author pic

Nick Sekulic is a seasoned brand developer, a writer, and a storyteller, having worked on various marketing, branding and copywriting projects – crafting plans and strategies, writing creative online and offline content, and making ideas happen.