Improve Brand Social Media Talk By Listening With This Social Media Audit Template.

An audit isn’t something you normally look forward to with accounting or tax audits. But a social media audit is a valuable strategic tool that improves social media efforts on a regular basis.

According to a Planable survey the top challenges social media managers face are engagement/reach, individual platform trends, content creation, social media strategy, and authenticity/relevancy. A social media audit can provide insights to help with these challenges.

Source: Vlad Calls (January 9, 2024) Social Media Challenges & Solutions from 80+ Social Media Managers.

What Is A Social Media Audit?

A social media audit is a systematic examination of social media data. It’s a snapshot of all social media activity in and around a brand evaluated in categories. Think of it as a social situational analysis of internal company social media actions and external consumer and competitor social media activity.

In writing the first edition of my Social Media Strategy book I develop a social audit process and I created the Social Media Audit template below. My inspiration was journalism where you’re to uncover the Five Ws – the who, where, what, when, and why of a news story.

The template is divided into three key areas: company, consumer, and competitor. In each area, you gather information and record what is found in the “W” categories. In the bottom row indicate any key metrics the company could or are measuring in each area. The rest of the post explains how to perform a social media audit.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)

Social Media Audit Template To Improve Social Media Marketing Strategy.

First Start By Listening.

Listen to what the brand publishes on official social accounts and what consumers are saying about the brand on any social platform (user-generated content). Listen with an outside perspective to brand, employee, customer talk on official, unofficial, or personal accounts. Also, listen to what is being said by and about the brand’s main competitor.

The audit should seek to identify challenges or problem areas within the current social media environment. Also look for opportunities that may become significant parts of a new social media plan or tweaks to optimize current strategy.

Next Organize Social Talk Data.

Organize data collected to make it accessible and meaningful for analysis in the “W” categories.

  • “Who” is the company brand accounts, consumer user generated brand talk, and main competitor brand accounts. A big company with divisions or branch/regional locations may need to divide company category further.
  • “Where” is the social media platform where talk is happening such as YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. Also describe the general look/feel (environment) of the platform. What type of content tends to be popular on each from trends and algorithms?
  • “What” is the type of content posted such as articles, photos, videos, questions for company and competitors. For the consumers category describe type of content and sentiment as mostly positive, negative, or neutral.
  • “When” is the frequency of activity such as number of posts, comments, views, shares per day, week, or month for company, competitor, and consumer. This can point to unequal levels of activity on various platforms compared to consumers or competitors.
  • “Why” is the purpose/performance for being on each platform. Is the brand mostly trying to generate awareness or share promotions? Are consumers mostly complaining, asking questions, or praising? Same for the competitor.

The number of rows under each “Who” varies based on the number of brand and competitor social accounts and the number of social media platforms where consumer brand talk is found. Create a table or spreadsheet and add additional rows as brand accounts are found and significant consumer talk is discovered on various social media platforms.

At the bottom list specific metrics that are currently being measured or will be important to a new social strategy. These metrics can turn into key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure social media success in an evaluation plan. For a guide on evaluating social media see my Social Media Metrics Template.

Then Determine What The Data Is Saying.

Does the data point to opportunities? Are there trouble spots? Do brand social media platforms present a consistent look, voice, and unified message? Are customers complaining about similar product or service issues? Is the brand consistently posting quality content and consistently responding to customers? Are there social platforms where customers are talking about the brand, yet there isn’t an official brand presence?

Determining “Why” is important. If you can’t think of a strategic purpose, reevaluate. Is maintaining a brand account on specific social media platform worth the time/resources? Ask questions like, “Why does the organization have a Pinterest page? How is success measured?” “Because everyone is there” and “to increase followers” is not enough. If you know the business/marketing/communications purpose and metrics ask, “How has the platform performed?

Finally Evaluate Brand Engagement.

Are consumer’s engaging with the brand? How are views, likes, comments and shares? Have they gone up or down over time? Only social media that is viewed and shared reaches an audience that can then take action to meet objectives.

Today you can interrupt people’s social feeds with paid social media. Social media advertising can buy reach to a targeted audience, but that does not replace the need to create interesting content. Social media ads merely buy exposure. Content must convey value to drive consumer action, further distribution, and ultimate ROI.

Social advertising also includes influencer marketing. In your audit also check on current brand influencers content and consider how it fits with the bigger picture. Keep an eye out for potential new influencer partnerships.

Is It Time For A Social Media Audit?

If you haven’t evaluated your brand’s social media presence in a while it may be time for a social media audit. Use this template to see how consumers are experiencing your brand in social media. You may uncover some problem areas, promising opportunities, social platforms you should be in and ones you should leave behind.

A social media audit can help you:

  • Realize the need for increased integration with other departments.
  • Find gaps in brand promise and product/service performance.
  • Uncover inconsistencies across brand social accounts.
  • Reveal blind spots in current social action with content, schedule and response.
  • Discover consumer ideas for product/service improvements.
  • Optimize brand content to drive engagement.
  • Find unexpected consumer generated content on other platforms.
  • Discover valuable brand or industry influencers.
  • Optimize time devoted to most effective social media platforms.
  • Learn from successful competitor social strategies.
  • Uncover a need for metrics to connect social action to business objectives.

Whether launching a new social media effort or evaluating current social activity, a social media audit can deliver valuable insights to create or optimize any social media strategy.

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Influencer Marketing Has Grown And So Has Its Strategies. Use This Social Media Influencer Planning Template To Grow Yours.

Influencer marketing is a growing part of social media strategy with 64% of marketers using influencer marketing. This is expected to grow to 86% by 2025. Influencer marketing focuses on leveraging key leaders to advocate on behalf of a brand to reach the larger market.

Influencers can be people with a large social following in specific areas of interest or industries or they can be celebrities such as sports stars, musicians, or Hollywood actors. Influencer marketing has grown beyond experimentation and is now a significant part of social media strategies. Planing for the right influencer marketing strategy is more important than ever.

Influencer marketing has grown more complicated over the years.
Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Why and How Brands are Investing in Influencers.

Edelman’s Trust Barometer reveals that 63% of consumers trust what influencers say about brands more than they trust the brands themselves. Nearly 35% of social media users ages 16-34 say they’re very or extremely likely to purchase something because their favorite influencer and another 46% are somewhat likely to do so. The leading goals of influencer marketing include sales (38%), brand awareness (29%), and brand Engagement(24%).

Influencer marketing is big yet you don’t a big celebrity to succeed. Only 18% of people say they’re attracted to influencers for their larger following. Relatability is nearly twice as important as popularity as a quality that attracts people to influencers. Micro influencer marketing is when brands partner with people who have smaller followings on social media to promote products in an authentic way versus sponsored ads. Micro-influencers have fewer followers, but they have highly engaged audiences.

To put together an effective influencer marketing program:

  1. Identify your objective. Are you trying to increase sales, awareness, or engagement?
  2. Identify your target audience or audiences, as that will determine your influencers.
  3. List the social platforms on which your target audiences are most active.
  4. List the message you want to convey or the interest area you want to influence.
  5. Identify influencers active on those social platforms discussing those interest areas.
  6. Decide the type from a brand-run program, influencer network, or influencer agency.

To create an influencer marketing campaign, leverage existing sponsorship deals with influencers, find influencers and negotiate a campaign, or use an influencer marketing network or agency. Influencer marketing tools can be used to find influencers and brand advocates.

The way you plan and purchase influencer marketing is different than other social media advertising. Use the social media influencer planning template below to select, schedule, and track your influencer strategy.

(Click on the template image to download a PDF)

Social Media Influencer Marketing Planning Template

Consider the Type of Influencer and Type of Program.

Are you looking for a celebrity (famous in traditional media), a social media star (known for or because of social media), or a thought leader (known for industry knowledge)? Celebrities have a lot of advantages, including their mass reach and appeal. Yet film, music, or sports celebrities can be expensive, and people may question the authenticity of their endorsements.

Social media stars may have fewer followers, but those followers could be more engaged, and endorsements could be seen as more believable. Thought leaders are a good choice for certain product or service categories in B2B. A mention or recommendation by an industry leader can carry a lot of weight.

Influencers are categorized by follower numbers into three categories of mega, macro, and micro. Also consider the type of influencer program that is right for the brand, budget, and resources. Some brands choose to build and manage their own influencer program. Some use an Influencer network that streamlines finding and paying influencers for fees. Others hire an influencer agency to provide full-service management of their influencer marketing. Types of influencers and types of influencer programs are summarized below.

Different Strategies and Budgets Require Different Types of Influencers.

Types of Influencers Types of Influencer Programs
Mega-Influencers More than 1 million followers Brand Influencer Program Company managed program
Macro-Influencers 100K-1M followers Influencer Network A platform that streamlines the process
Micro-Influencers 1K to 1M followers Influencer Agency Full service managed

It may be tempting to only go for the mega or macro-influencers because of their massive reach, but micro-influencers are often more effective. Adweek reports micro-influencer engagement can be 60% higher, their buys are 6.7 times more efficient, and they can drive 22 times more conversions. More than half of the Association of National Advertisers’ brands use mid-level (66%) or micro influencers (59%) while less than half are using macro influencers (44%).

Influencer Content Type and Strategy.

Once you have your influencers, decide how content will be created and spread. You may think it is best to have the most control, but content created by the brand and merely shared could come across as not genuine. Certain influencers or influencer networks may also have their own standards for what they will or will not do.

Consider the pros and cons of influencer-shared brand content, influencer-created brand content, or product and service reviews and mentions. Get creative with influencer brand account takeovers, brand guest content contributions, or collaboration on content, or a giveaway.

There are four main influencer marketing strategies:

  1. Affiliate marketing is an advertising model that pays third-party publishers, including influencers, to generate traffic and sales via a commission.
  2. Giveaways are promotions to give away free products to drive awareness and engagement, often with influencers.
  3. Social media takeover is when a brand lets someone, typically an influencer, temporarily post content on its social media accounts.
  4. Branded content is content created by an influencer featuring a business partner.

The average price per influencer marketing post is between $2,200 and $3,000—lower for micro-influencers and higher for macro influencers. This may seem like a lot, but according to the State of Influencer Marketing report, firms average an earned media value of $5.20 per dollar spent on influencer marketing.

Average influencer rates:

  • More than 500,000 followers: $2,085 per post
  • 30,000 to 500,000 followers: $507 per post
  • 5,000 to 30,000 followers: $172 per post
  • 500 to 5,000 followers: $100 per post.

No matter which influencer campaign a brand runs, the law requires influencers to disclose their financial relationship with the brand. The Federal Trade Commission summarizes the requirements in its Social Media Influencer Guide. What type of influencer strategy is best for your business or organization?

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