Conducting a social media audit is a key part of developing—or updating—an effective social media marketing plan. Before you can think strategically about your social media use, you need to document and evaluate your existing efforts.
This allows you to determine what’s working and what’s not, while also identifying impostor accounts, outdated profiles, and new opportunities for social engagement.
Put all that learning together and you’ll be well equipped to make the most of your social budget and maximize ROI. We’ve laid the process out for you step-by-step, complete with a template to make sure you keep track of all the important details.
Table of contents
Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working in your current strategy, what’s not, and what to do next.
What is a social media audit?
“Audit” can be a scary word, but it doesn’t have to be. In this case, it’s simply the process of hunting down all of your company’s social channels, as well as any impostor accounts, and compiling key information about each account, all in one place.
As you build your audit document (or fill in our social media audit template), you’ll think about your goals for each account, and evaluate whether your existing strategy is working. This allows you to see how each social account functions as a building block in your social strategy.
Once you’ve identified the blocks, it’s time to play Jenga—removing the unnecessary pieces and adding new ones that will help take your social efforts to new heights.
Or, maybe you just need to make some simple tweaks to get your social strategy on track.
No matter where you currently stand with social media, a social media audit will present a clear picture of your current efforts and help you think clearly about the best way forward. It will also leave you with a single strategy document that lists all of your social accounts, the goals for each, who’s responsible for each channel, and other key information that’s important to have at your fingertips.
How to conduct a social media audit in 9 easy steps
1. Create a document for your audit (or use our template below)
An audit begins with some detective work, and it’s important to have somewhere to put your findings.
The best way to keep track of all the information you’ll uncover during your audit is to use a spreadsheet.
We’ve created a social media audit template for you, which you will find at the end of this post. If you’d prefer to create your own spreadsheet, you can do so using a program like Excel or Google Docs. For each social account, you’ll want to record:
- the link to your profile (for example, instagram.com/hootsuite)
- your social handle (for example, @hootsuite)
- the internal person or team responsible for managing the account (also known as the “owner”—for example, the social marketing team)
- the mission statement for the account (for example, to promote company culture using employee photos, or to provide customer service during office hours)
- the top three posts in terms of engagement
- three important metrics
- key demographic information
You should also include a column for any relevant notes about the account.
2. Track down all your social media accounts
Now that you’ve got a document to track your accounts, it’s time to go on the hunt. Start by listing all of the accounts that you and your team use regularly. But don’t assume that covers all your bases.
For example, there might be old profiles created before your company had a social strategy. Maybe these were abandoned at some point. It’s time to bring them back into the fold.
Or maybe various departments within your company are using social media, but there’s no unified system or list of accounts.
This is also a good time to identify networks where you don’t yet have a social presence, so you can start thinking about whether you should add them to your social strategy, or at least create profiles to reserve your handle for the future.
Search the web
Google your company name and the name of your products to see what social accounts come up. If you find accounts you don’t recognize, do some investigating to determine whether they’re actually connected to your company, or if they’re impostor accounts run by someone not affiliated with your brand.
Search social networks
After your Google search, it’s worth visiting each of the main social networks and searching directly for your brand and product names to see if you uncover any unexpected accounts.
Once you’re sure you’ve tracked down all the relevant accounts, set up a social media monitoring program to keep an eye out for any new impostor accounts that might pop up in the future.
Log your findings
Record all the relevant accounts you find in your audit document. Use the notes column to indicate any accounts that require further research—for instance, if you can’t tell whether the account was created by someone at your company or by an impostor.
Use the “Unowned accounts” tab to record imposter accounts and make notes about the steps taken to have these accounts shut down. Start by contacting each account holder directly, since it could be a simple misunderstanding or a case of a passionate fan taking things too far. But be prepared to escalate matters to the social networks for help if you can’t resolve things yourself.
3. Make sure each account is complete and on brand
Once you’ve logged all of your accounts, take the time to look at each one thoroughly to make sure it’s consistent with your current brand image and standards. In general, you should check the following:
Profile and cover images
Make sure these incorporate your current brand logo and imagery.
You have limited space to work with when creating a social media bio, so it’s important to make the most of it. Make sure all fields are filled in completely and accurately with current brand messaging.
Are you using the same handle across all social channels? In general, it’s a good idea to do so if you can.
Of course, you might need different handles if your accounts serve different purposes. (For example, Hootsuite has Twitter accounts @Hootsuite and @Hootsuite_Help.) Take a look at your handles and record in the notes if you want to make changes for consistency across social platforms.
Make sure you link to your homepage, an appropriate landing page, or a current campaign.
Evaluate your pinned posts to ensure they’re still appropriate.
Feel a little overwhelmed? This video summarizes what you should look for when analyzing your accounts to make sure they’re optimized and on brand:
4. Identify your best posts
For each social account, look for the three posts that had the most engagement. Record links to these top-performing posts in your spreadsheet.
Once you’ve recorded all of these posts, go through all of them and look for patterns. Do you tend to get the most response when you post photos? Videos? Do people respond to the same kinds of posts on your Facebook Page as they do on your Instagram account?
Use the notes column of your spreadsheet to record your thoughts about any patterns you find here. If you think you’ve identified a winning type of post for a particular account, try using that format more often. As you go, be sure to test your theories and record your results.
Bonus: Get the free social media audit template to see what’s working in your current strategy, what’s not, and what to do next.Get the free template now!
5. Evaluate performance
For this step, you’ll use analytics to gather some key insights about each social account. Not sure how to use analytics? Check out our beginners guide to social media analytics for an overview of the tools you’ll need.
If you haven’t yet created a mission statement for each social account, now is the time to do so. After all, it’s impossible to evaluate your performance when you don’t know what kind of performance you’re trying to achieve. For example, you could not use the same criteria to evaluate the performance of a Twitter account used primarily for customer service and an Instagram account aiming to drive follower engagement.
Your mission statement should help you identify the key metrics to evaluate for each social channel. If you’re trying to foster engagement, you’ll want to track likes and comments. If you want to drive traffic, you’ll track website visits.
Our guide to social media metrics will help you identify the most important metrics to track for each business goal, and how to track them. Choose one or two key metrics for each account and make notes about their performance in your audit spreadsheet.
As part of your evaluation, you might find that some of your social accounts are much more effective than others. For the accounts that don’t perform as well, you need to decide whether to adjust your strategy, invest more time and resources, or discontinue the account. We’ll talk about how to make that decision in step 7.
6. Understand the audience for each network
As you evaluate how each social account helps support your brand, it’s important to understand who you can reach through each channel.
Audience demographics are a good starting point. For example, Snapchat users tend to be much younger than Facebook users, and LinkedIn users tend to have relatively high incomes. We’ve compiled all the top statistics you need to know about who uses each social network in a series of demographics guides:
- Facebook demographics
- Twitter demographics
- Instagram demographics
- LinkedIn demographics
- Snapchat demographics
- Pinterest demographics
- YouTube demographics
You can also dive deeper to learn more about the demographics of your specific followers on social media using analytics and tools like Facebook Audience Insights.
You can incorporate your findings about who you’re reaching with each network into your mission statement, in a separate column, or in the notes field.
7. Decide which channels are right for you
You’ve gathered enough information now to make some strategic decisions about where to focus your social media marketing efforts.
Looking at how each channel is currently performing, along with who you can each through each platform, look for ways to tie each social account back to your social media marketing strategy. If you can’t see a clear connection, or if it looks like the results do not justify your investment of time and resources, you may want to consider pulling back on certain channels so you can focus your energy on the ones that provide the best return on investment.
These decisions don’t have to be forever. For example, you might decide to focus more of your energy on Facebook for a while, but you can always look at picking up your Twitter efforts again the next time you go through the social media audit process. The important thing is to make these decisions based on research about which channels best serve your business.
8. Centralize channel ownership and passwords
Each social account should be “owned” by one person, or maybe a team, within your company. That person is responsible for ensuring the account is on brand, up-to-date and performing well.
This person will also be in charge of necessary approvals on the account, and will guide its strategic direction. They’ll decide who should have access to the account and what level of access each person should have.
Rather than giving various team members the password to your social accounts, it’s important to centralize the passwords in one place. This means you don’t need to change the password every time someone leaves your team or moves to a new role, and it helps protect the security of your social accounts. Tools like LastPass and Hootsuite are great for ensuring only the right people have the right access.
On your social audit spreadsheet, indicate the channel owners, and whether you’ve set each account up using a tool to control passwords. Work towards having all accounts set up with centralized password control by the time you do your next social audit.
9. Do it all again
On that note, it’s important to say that a social audit is not a one-off process. You should conduct regular audits to ensure everything is on track, and look for changes in the way your accounts are performing.
A quarterly social audit is a great way to keep your social accounts producing the best ROI, and ensures you regularly circle back to compare the work you do day-to-day with the goals outlined in your social media strategy.
Use the information you’ve discovered through your social media marketing audit to build a more robust social media strategy. Then, put it to work using Hootsuite to schedule posts, engage with followers, and monitor your efforts.