Social Media Marketing Audit

In the clutter of today’s social marketing landscape, it can be rather overwhelming for organisations and brands transitioning from a culture of maintaining a sole presence in traditional media to developing a hybrid communication strategy by including social media in the marketing communications mix.

All too often companies fall into the Facebook/Twitter/blog bandwagon with a striking absence of proper research, strategy, and a lack of clearly defined objectives supporting the decision to establish a marketing presence in the social media space. As a marketer tasked with the responsibility to successfully make the critical transition for organisations and brands from mainstream media to establishing a strategic social media presence, you probably have more questions than answers, such as:

  • Yes, engaging in the social media space seems the way forward, but where do I begin?
  • What are our competitors doing?
  • If we’re going social, who in our organisation is going to be in the driver’s seat? Who are our internal ‘champions’?
  • Where do I find most of our customers or prospects in the social media landscape? Which social media platforms should I adopt? Which ones should I stay away from?
  • When we’ve found these customers and prospects in the social media space, how do I then engage with them?

If these are some of the questions that causes you to procrastinate in taking the next step to achieving a strategic presence in social media, then you’re not alone.

Marketers the world over are keen in adopting the right mix of social media platforms as part of their integrated marketing communications mix initiative in building the brands of tomorrow.

However, the above questions point to one pressing need. In order to overcome the procrastination organisations and brands will need to undertake a comprehensive social media audit.

Organisations and brands should conduct an initial, then annual social media audit to be successful in their endeavors to make that strategic leap into the social media space.

Just as brands conduct audits of inventory, employees, and budgets on an often annual basis, equal importance should be advocated to understanding the ever dynamic social media landscape and how the organisation and its brands will find that strategic fit in the social media space. Audits are key for identifying priorities, benchmarking previous efforts, and planning for future efforts; the same applies for social media. I’ve been reviewing social media strategy documents from a variety of large brands, and I’ve noticed the following issues to be necessary parts of a comprehensive social media audit:

  1. Digital Presence – The degree to which the organisation and/or the brand maintains a presence in the following digital spaces:
    • Website
    • Campaign microsites
    • Separate Blog or blogs
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Youtube
    • LinkedIn
    • Other social platforms (list)

Comment: The purpose here is to establish a benchmark for the work done so far in establishing a web and social media presence. An effective site, for example, should be supported by other channels. With over 350 social media platforms on offer in the clutter of the  social media landscape, it is worth focusing at this stage on only the major players.

 2. Goals for social media

    • Strengths and weaknesses of current web presence
    • Social media goals – e.g. brand awareness, brand engagement, purchase inducement, etc.
    • The organisations/ brands that could be used as a benchmarks in measuring social media/digital strategy success (Note: This may include companies from the current industry such as direct competitors including market leaders or orgnisations/brands from other industries)
    • The person(s) tasked with the responsibility for social media in the organisation?
    • The person(s) tasked with the responsibility for social media in the organisation?
    • Social media metrics – the measurements methods in place to gauge the social media initiatives in the organisation (Note: This may include measurements such as Interaction / Consumer Behaviour metric, activity metrics and Return/ Business Outcome metrics)
    • The tools that are in place to help with this measurement (Note: This may include software applications both paid or free, used in the generation of social media metrics)

3.  Organisation Culture and Policies for Social media 

  • The reactions of senior staff to tools like Twitter and Facebook
  • The degree to which an organisational culture exist that allows staff to access social media during the working day?
  • What is the policy in place to help the company deal with adverse comment and discussion on social media sites now?

Comments: These questions are all aimed at assessing the current state of social media readiness of the organization. Without the commitment from senior staff any attempts to improve the company’s digital strategy are likely to prove futile.

The answers to these questions will also indicate if or not social media marketing in the organization is merely about getting onboard the social media bandwagon by “having a Facebook account”.

An organization with a much more entrenched social media initiative or a sincere commitment to social media marketing is likely to have linked their social media platform presence to their integrated marketing communication strategy including, advertising, sales promotions, PR, email and current analytics activities. 

4. Understanding major competitors’ social media presence

Direct competitors’ social media presence across the major social media platforms need to be identified and reflected upon. Their presence on specific social media platforms need to be explained to determine if the social media strategy pursued is effective:

  1. Website
  2. Campaign microsites
  3. Separate Blog or blogs
  4. Facebook
  5. Twitter
  6. Youtube
  7. LinkedIn
  8. Other social platforms (list)

Comment: The social media platform mix selected by competitors will help establish benchmarks and goals for the organisation and its brand(s). The competitors’ presence in specific social media platforms could also serve to indicate that the target market relevant to the organisation/ brand is most likely to be found in these platforms. However, care must be taken to further identify and understand the demographic profiles of the followers of each major platform analysed.

Love to hear your tips, best practices, and pitfalls to avoid in the comments when it comes to developing and conducting a social media marketing audit.


About Stephen Singaraju (Ph.D)

Dr. Stephen Singaraju was conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) from Monash University. Stephen had accumulated a total of 15 years of industry experience. His industry experience began with Mitsubishi Material Corporation in industrial sales and marketing responsible for both domestic and international markets. Subsequent to attaining his MBA qualification in the UK, Stephen pursued a career in corporate planning in the oil and gas industry and later an advertising career in an international Japanese media and advertising agency headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. During his career in advertising, Stephen had the opportunity to embark on a wider brand building career in industries ranging from Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) to Automobile and Consumer Electronics. Stephen is a social media marketing expert. He currently lectures in Social Media Marketing and Customer Relationship Management at La Trobe University. He lectures in undergraduate and postgraduate courses including the Master of International Business (MIB), Master of Marketing Management (MMM) the Master of Business Administration (MBA) courses. He has an excellent understanding of new media, marketing and advertising in the social media space. He is competent in analysis, strategy and planning; content creation and curation; usability, taxonomy; search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimisation (SMO); social media strategy and implementation; conversion optimisation and analytics. In recognising the radical alteration of how we consume media, it has become clear that new media requires new methods of understanding. This means knowing the basic elements of how to tell a coherent brand story as well as understanding the technical issues defining the social media ecosystem in which a brand’s story is conveyed. His approach is to understand where technology and narrative meet to ensure the best way to apply that knowledge to enhance a brand.
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