9 point Checklist for conducting Social Media Strategy Audit

 

Today I am going to share with you the checklist I frequently used to conduct social media strategy audit.

The aim of this audit is to determine how a business should be using social media to get highest possible return on their investment.

The output of this audit is a written/improved social media strategy with analytics data to back up the recommendations.

This audit includes getting answers to the following key questions:

  1. What the company is trying to achieve through social media marketing?
  2. How good the company is in achieving its business objectives through social media?
  3. Who are their target audience and why?
  4. How good the company is in targeting customers?
  5. How good the company is in building positive influence among customers?
  6. Which social media tools are used by the company?
  7. How good the company is in leveraging the various social media tools?
  8. How good the company is in engaging with the target audience?
  9. How good the company is in amplifying its messages?

 

#1 What the company is trying to achieve through social media marketing?

The cornerstone of any successful social media campaign is clearly defined business objectives.

Therefore it is imperative to determine what the company is trying to achieve through social media marketing. The business objectives can be brand awareness, brand loyalty, raw traffic, sales, customer support, customer retention etc.

 

#2 How good the company is in achieving its business objectives through social media?

Running social media campaigns is the easy bit. Getting desired outcomes is the real challenge.

Following are the things you can do to understand how good a company is in achieving its social media objectives:

  1. Evaluate the current social media strategy
  2. Do Gap Analysis
  3. Dive into your Analytics Reports
  4. Calculate the ROI of your Social Media Campaigns

 

2.1 Evaluate the current social media strategy

Majority of companies don’t have any written social media strategy.

Yes they have been using twitter and facebook for years but without any serious thought or planning. So if by chance you do get hands on the document which explains the social media strategy of the company in great detail then evaluate it.

Consider following factors during evaluation:

1. What the company has planned to achieve through social media efforts and how and why it will result in more sales and conversions on the website?

2. What type of contents (infographic, videos, blog posts etc) the company has planned to develop for its social campaigns and do they align with the business goals?

3. Which topics/areas the company has planned to cover through its contents and do they align with the business goals?

4. Where the contents are going to be published? Company’s blog or guest blogs or some social forum?

5. What will be the publishing frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) of the contents?

6. Who are the target audience and what kind of response the company is expecting from them once the contents are published on social media?

7. How exactly the contents will be promoted on different social channels?

8. What is the monthly and yearly budget for running ads on social networks?

 

2.2 Do Gap Analysis

Do this to determine what the company is trying to prioritize and what is being prioritized through various social media campaigns.

For example a business may want to build strong engagement with its customers but in reality is spending majority of its efforts/resources in blatantly promoting itself on social media.

The business may not be very responsive to target audience’s activity on social media but still hope of building strong user engagement. You need to find such gaps between social media efforts and desired outcomes.

Once you have identified the issues, you can create new strategies to fill such gaps.

 

2.3 Dive into your Analytics Reports

Determine social campaigns’ outcomes and users’ engagement for each of your targeted social media channels (usually facebook, twitter, Google+ & Linkedin).

I do this through a simple custom report in Google Analytics:

social network

 

2.4 Calculate the ROI of your Social Media Campaigns

Social Media ROI=  

(Total economic value generated through Social Media Campaigns – Total Cost of running Social Media Campaigns)/ Total Cost of running Social Media Campaigns

Here,

Total economic value generated through Social Media Campaigns = Total Revenue generated through Social Media Campaigns + Assisting Conversion Value of Social Media Campaigns 

I have included assisting conversion value into calculation because of multi touch attribution modeling.

Social Media not only helps in completing a conversion but also help in initiating and assisting the conversions which are completed by other marketing channels (like Organic, PPC, Email, Display, Direct, Referral etc).

 

Total Cost of running Social Media Campaigns = (Total number of hours spent on Social Media * Salary per hour) + Total ad spend on different social media channels

For e.g. If total economic value generated by Facebook campaigns in a month is $10000 and the total cost of running a Facebook campaign is $3000, then

Facebook ROI = ($10000 – $3000)/$3000 = 2.33

ROI of 2.33 means that the business earns an average of $2.33 for every dollar spent on Facebook.

 

#3 Who are the target audience and why?

As odd as it may sound, many companies have no idea who they should really be targeting via social media.

As a marketer you must know about your target audience (their age, gender, profession, household income, lifestyle, likings, buying behavior etc) and where majority of them live. You must know where they like to spend majority of their time online.

You must also determine the best customer types in terms of revenue generation. And above all you must know why they are your target audience in the first place. Why they/should buy from you, why they/should like your brand, why they/should engage with you.

This ‘why’ is extremely important. If you don’t know this ‘why’ then you may end up engaging more with random people than the actual customers on social media.

 

#4 How good the company is in targeting customers through social media?

Once you know your target audience, you can do Gap Analysis to determine who the company is trying to target and who are actually being targeted through various social media campaigns.

For example if your target audience lives in New York and you are engaging mainly with the people from London then this type of engagement is not profitable for your business.

No matter how much you engage with Londoners, they will not buy your products because they are simply not your target audience.  Your target audience lives in New York and you are better off focusing your marketing efforts in that city only.

Because of this very reason you should ignore all social media metrics in aggregate form like raw number of twitter followers, raw number of facebook fans, facebook likes etc.

People can engage with your brand from all over the world. But just because they are engaged doesn’t automatically mean that they will buy from you.  They may be engaged for all the wrong reasons.

Segment your social data to determine how many twitter follower or facebook fans are from your target audience location. Determine the volume of traffic and user engagement your website gets from your target audience location.

For example Facebook Insight provides good demographic and geographic data of the people who liked your facebook page:

facebook-insight

In case of twitter, FollowerWonk is a good tool to get demographic and geographic data of the people who follow you on twitter:

follower-wonk-1

follower-wonk-2

Make sure that your content strategies align with your business goals so that you don’t end up engaging more with random people than your target audience.

Avoid developing and marketing contents which have nothing to do with the products/services you sell.  

For example Let us suppose you sell jeans but you created and promoted an infographic on ‘beer consumption in London’. This infographic went viral and as a result you got lot of engaged visits, twitter followers and facebook fans.

But since this infographic has nothing to do with what you sell, it won’t result in many orders. And at the end of the day we all are here to sell. Not only you lost potential sales but you also ended up engaging with wrong people, the people who won’t promote your brand.

 

#5 How good the company is in building positive influence among customers?

User engagement is the key. Yes we have all heard this phrase millions of times so far. But this is true only when the user engagement is profitable.

I am talking about Profitable User Engagement.

A profitable user engagement is the engagement which leads to conversions and transactions.

“When a user engagement negatively correlates with conversions then the engagement becomes distraction.

If you are engaging more with random people than your customers than the user engagement could negatively correlates with conversions and thus become DISTRACTION.

For example:

distractionHere the avg. visit duration is increasing over time which should be a sign of good user engagement. But at the same time the goal conversion rate is going down which is a bad news for the business bottomline.

So when you correlate average visit duration with conversions, you end up getting distraction. This is the distraction from achieving your business goals. This is the distraction which makes you believe that somehow more is better (more tweets, more facebook likes, more fans means more sales and conversions). That you are actually succeeding in your social media efforts when in reality you are not.

This distraction can be due to several reasons. Some of the most common reasons are:

1. You are engaging more with random people than your target audience. It is quite common in case of poorly targeted campaigns.

2. You are not spending enough time and resources in acquiring and engaging with new customers.

3. Your landing pages do not have prominent call to actions.

So in case of social media marketing, it is wise to look at your conversions and sales figures instead of blindly relying on number of facebook fans, twitter followers, Google +1s etc.

Without measuring conversions and sales you will never know whether you are building influence among your customers or among random people.

Little to no sales/conversions from social media campaigns is a good sign that you are engaging more with random people than your customers.

 

Conduct a quick reputation audit

1. Search for Brand name + Reviews on Google and check out how positively or negatively company’s brand has influenced the people. Needless to say, lot of customers complains and bad reviews are not a good sign of positive influence among existing and potential customers.

2. Use SocialMention.com to determine what people are talking about the brand on social media. Another good tool for this purpose is topsy.

 

#6 Which Social Media Tools are used by the company?

Make sure that the company is using all the popular social media tools which are relevant to its niche.

These tools can be: blog, forum, youtube channel, facebook, linkedin, Google+, twitter, Pinterest etc. Competitive analysis is good way to determine which social tools can be used by your client to engage with target audience.

 

#7 How good the company is in leveraging the various social media tools?

The way a company uses social media, tells a lot about their social media efforts.

While majority of companies use social media only as broadcasting tools, you should encourage your customers to use social media both as broadcasting and conversation tool in order to engage with the target audience.

Determine how much the company is involved in making social media efforts:

  1. Minimally involved
  2. Somewhat involved
  3. Moderately involved
  4. Heavily involved

 

Determine how frequently the company uses the social media tools:

  1. Not at all
  2. Sometimes
  3. Weekly
  4. Daily
  5. Several times in a day
  6. Almost all the time.

There is no point setting up social media accounts if you have no intention of using them.

Success in social media is directly tied to the amount of your social media efforts. 

More efforts you will put in, bigger and better will be the results.

 

#8 How good the company is in engaging with the target audience?

I used the metrics proposed by Avinash to measure user engagement. This metric is called the ‘Conversation Rate’.

Conversation rate is the average number of comments/replies you get per social contribution.

Through conversation rate you can determine how well you are engaging with your target audience. Higher the conversation rate, higher is your engagement with target audience.

Higher engagement can result in higher brand retention and we all know that brand retention leads to brand loyalty which in turns leads to more sales and higher customer lifetime value.

The conversation rate is calculated as:

(Total Number of comments/Total Number of Social Contributions) * 100

  • In case of facebook, a social contribution is a status update.
  • In case of LinkedIn, a social contribution can be a status update or announcement to all the members of a group.
  • In case of twitter, a social contribution is a tweet.
  • In case of Google+, a social contribution is sharing with your circle

 

Let us suppose you published a blog post and shared it twice each on twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+

So total number of social contributions = 2 X 4 = 8

Let us suppose that you got total of 3 replies on twitter, 4 comments on Facebook, 5 comments on Linkedin and 10 comments on Google+

So total number of comments = 3+4+5+10 = 22

So the conversation rate of your blog post = Total Number of comments on your blog post across all targeted social media channels/Total Number of Social Contributions across all targeted social media channels

= 22/8 = 2.75

 

Following tips can help you in improving the conversation rate:

1. Be responsive on social media. If somebody is asking you a question, reply to him/her ASAP. Reply to each and every comment you get on your blog, facebook etc. Avoid being like talking to a brick wall.  Check out this post on getting more comments on blog: How Quick Sprout Gets 176 Comments Per Blog Post

2. If nobody is replying to you then go back and find out what things you said resulted in high conversation rate. I use a tool called ‘Snap Bird’ to check the twitter history of a company. It is a good way of knowing how the company is using twitter.

3. Look for ways to converse with your target audience. Ask open ended questions. Ask for opinions. Conduct webinars and meetups. Try to interact with your target audience in-person if possible. Nothing beats face to face interactions.

4. Build authority by becoming a top notch contributor in your niche. In this way, people will pay more attention to what you have to say.

5. Develop user engagement features like blog, forums, recognition systems etc. on your website. It is the key to improving your conversation rate.

 

Related Post: Practical tips to develop user engagement for e-commerce websites

Note: I use True Social Metrics tool to measure the conversation rate. More about this tool later.

 

#9 How good the company is in amplifying its messages?

I used the ‘Amplification rate’ metrics proposed by Avinash to determine how good a company is in amplifying its messages.

Amplification rate is the average number of social shares per social contribution.

A social share can be in the form of re-tweets, facebook shares, LinkedIn shares, Google+ shares etc.

Through Amplification rate you can determine the true reach of your social media efforts.

Higher the Amplification rate, higher is your social reach and higher is your probability of reaching out to people who don’t follow you yet.

High Amplification rate can quickly make any content go viral.  Therefore you should always aim to increase the amplification rate of your social media campaigns.

The Amplification rate is calculated as: (Total Number of social shares/Total Number of Social Contributions) *100

 

Following tips can help you in improving the Amplification rate:

1. Become an influencer in your niche. If you want people and esp. other influencers to pay more attention to what you have to say then you have to become one of the top authorities in your niche.

2. Connect with other influencers to increases your social reach. Each influencer comes with his/her own amplification rate which when combined with your amplification rate can exponentially increase your social reach. Influencers can also introduce you to other influencers and thus increase your social reach even more.  I use whoretweetedme.com to determine most influential re-tweeters. I also use klout.com and wefollow.com to find influencers.

3. Determine the social sharing efforts which resulted in high amplification rate and the one which resulted in low amplification rate.  Do more of what brings high amplification and less of what brings low amplification. It is not a rocket science. I use mytoptweet.com to find top tweets. These are the tweets which results in lot of re-tweets. I also use bit.ly to measure the performance of each tweet. 
 
4. If your target audience is spread around the globe then you need to make sure that your social messages reach to people in different time zone. That means you need to share your messages several times during different parts of the day. Consider using bufferapp to schedule your tweets. 
 
5. Leverage different social media channels. Don’t rely on just one social channel to forward your messages. So for example if you use only twitter for marketing, consider using facebook, linkedin and Google+

 

I use the True Social Metrics tool to measure the amplification rate. This tool is one of my favorites.

true-social-metrics

All you need to do to use this tool is sign up and then connect it with your social media accounts (like twitter, facebook, google+ etc) and Google Analytics account.

This tool can easily calculate the conversation and amplification rate for you in a given time period. The biggest benefit of using this tool is that it can calculate the average economic value generated by a social media visitor.

Other Posts you may find useful:

 

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