Brands in the US are expected to shell out more than $56 billion on social media marketing in 2022.

But it’s not necessarily true that the highest spenders will see the best results.

With the average internet user having 8.5 social media accounts, marketers must invest in the right platforms and create the right content to reach and engage the right audience.

Running a social media audit puts your brand in the best position to succeed.

In this article, we’re going to tell you:

What a social media audit is
Why they’re important
How to run a social media audit in seven steps

What Is A Social Media Audit, And Why Does It Matter?

A social media audit is like a stock take for your existing social media accounts.

Just as a shopkeeper might monitor their best and worst-selling products, position their products on the shelves and price them, social media marketers assess the success (or failure) of their social strategy by reviewing a wide range of metrics, such as:

  • Likes
  • Comments
  • Click-through rate
  • Impressions
  • Shares

The goal is to understand which posts resonate best with your audience and which types of people are most likely to engage with your content. Are they the people you want to be reaching? Do they align with your ideal buyer persona?

Performing a social media audit should give you the data and insights to hone your approach, allowing you to understand:

  • Your most impactful social media platforms
  • How each platform plays a role in the path to purchase
  • Your audience on social media (and how it varies across different platforms)
  • Which content types are most likely to drive engagement
  • Which types of content work best on each platform

Once you’ve figured out all that stuff (and more), you can better focus your efforts and budget in the right areas. That means more engagement, more audience growth, and more revenue.

7 Steps to Perform Your Social Media Audit

Ready to carry out your first social media audit? Make it happen by following this seven-step process:

1. Round Up All Social Accounts Associated With Your Brand

The first step is to find all of your social media accounts. That sounds simple, but it can be complicated by:

  • Fake accounts copying your brand name
  • Old test accounts set up by your marketing team
  • Different business functions or subsidiaries that set up their own social accounts (e.g., Nike has at least six verified Instagram accounts)

Unfortunately, there’s no shortcut to tracking down your various accounts; you’ll have to type your brand name into the search function on each platform.

But you can use social media monitoring tools like Hootsuite or Sprout Social to look out for your brand name and notify you if any new (or imposter) accounts set up profiles without your knowledge.

2. Define Top-Level & Platform-Level Goals

Before we go any further and dive into your current performance levels, it’s time to pump the brakes and remember why you’re doing this in the first place.

One clear goal – that we’ll use as an example – is to drive revenue. But how do you want social media to contribute to that goal? Are you hoping to:

  • Reach prospective customers at the top of the marketing funnel?
  • Engage existing customers to encourage repeat purchases?
  • Drive sales directly from your profiles via social commerce?
  • Encourage specific actions with your brand content?

Or something else entirely?

Bear in mind that having the same goals across each social platform might not make sense.

Take TikTok as an example. It’s an invaluable top-of-the-funnel marketing tool, with 49% of users describing the platform as a source for discovering something new and 29% saying they use it to find inspiration.

On the flip side, Instagram appears to play a bigger part at the bottom of the funnel, with 44% of customers using the platform to shop weekly and 28% planning their Instagram-based shopping activities.

So if you exclusively used those two platforms, it might make sense to:

  • Engage new audiences on TikTok and teach them about your brand and product
  • Drive immediate sales on Instagram via features like the Shopping tab and product tags

Also, as you’re undoubtedly aware, your audiences are likely to vary from platform to platform. To stick with the previous examples, Instagram’s largest audience segment is in the 25 – 34 age range, whereas TikTok’s is aged 18 – 24. Those audiences might behave differently, so you can’t expect an identical social media strategy to work equally well across all platforms.

3. Assess Each Account for Brand Consistency

Remember, the average person has almost nine social media accounts.

That means there’s a good chance your audience — especially your most loyal customers — will follow you across multiple platforms.

Why does this matter?

Because you want each profile to feel like a natural extension of your brand. You’ll risk confusing and alienating your audience if you’re all snarky memes on Twitter and earnest mindfulness on Insta. So make sure your various accounts align in their:

  • Brand logos
  • Cover images (if relevant)
  • Bio information
  • Social handles
  • Verification status (i.e., does each account have the coveted blue tick?)
  • Landing page links (i.e., does each account direct users to the same landing page?)

Clothing retailer Everlane shows us how to get it right. As you can see, it uses the same logo, handles, and landing page across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Not only that, but it sticks with the same mission statement — “Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical transparency” — across each platform, leaving users in no doubt that they’re in the right place.

4. Dig Into Your Top-Performing Content

Now it’s time to dig into the data.

Your task at this stage is to analyze the performance of your social profiles over a given period (if this is your first-ever social media audit, go back at least a year), focusing on:

  • Impressions and reach
  • Engagement metrics (i.e., comments, likes, shares)
  • Demographic information (i.e., how old are your followers? Where are they located?)
  • Audience preferences (i.e., what are your five top-performing posts for each platform?)

Each social media platform has built-in analytics tools. But if you’d prefer to do all your analysis from a single “source of truth,” check out the tracking and reporting tools in our guide to top time-saving tools for small social media teams.

5. Bring Meaning to the Data

Hopefully, as you analyze your social media metrics across each platform, you’ll notice some patterns in the data. For instance, you might find that:

  • Most of your top-performing posts on Instagram are videos
  • Posts with longer character counts generate more engagement on Twitter
  • Posts with emojis get more engagement on Instagram, but less on Facebook
  • Behind-the-scenes videos get more likes than polished, branded content
  • Question-based posts are more likely to generate comments
  • Facebook posts are best at driving traffic to your website

Refer back to the platform-level goals you defined earlier. If you see Instagram as a direct revenue-generating platform, look at the posts that led to the most sales. If you’re using TikTok to attract new audiences, look for the content that generates the highest reach.

All of this information is invaluable when planning future social media strategies, highlighting what works — and what doesn’t — on each platform.

Again, you can accomplish this step using each platform’s built-in analytics functionality, but if you want to cut down on the leg work and view all the information in one place, it might make sense to sign up for a social media analytics tool.

6. Identify Gaps In Your Social Media Strategy

Unless you’re a huge brand with a massive social media team and a vast marketing budget, you likely have to focus your limited resources on a handful of social platforms.

Focusing on a few platforms can be a good thing because it makes identifying gaps in your existing strategy easier. And once you’ve identified them, you can find ways to close them.

In our experience, it can help to think of this in terms of the marketing funnel:

Image source: BronHiggs, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Bringing in tons of new followers but not seeing the impact on your bottom line? It’s time to brainstorm some bottom-of-the-funnel content ideas or consider a platform more likely to drive direct sales.

Are you generating lots of sales from new customers but struggling to retain them? Focus on ways to engage your existing audience via social media, such as encouraging followers to share user-generated content using your product.

7. Rinse & Repeat!

Social media audits work best as a long-term play.

Sure, you can learn helpful information from a single audit, but the real value comes from repeating your analysis at set periods (say, once per quarter) to understand how subsequent actions have affected your key metrics.

Want to take your social media strategy to the next level? Sign up for our next social media strategy conference!