YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA SUCKS
AND A CHECKLIST TO FIX IT
Every now and then, you need to take stock of where your brand is on social, how often and where you’re publishing, and how your content performs. Yes, a full first-quarter has gone by, but good news! There’s still plenty of time to make adjustments to stay on track for the remainder of the year. The result of this checklist is essentially a social media audit. The goal is to take the time to carefully review what you’re currently doing across all social media, and find out how it’s working for your brand. From there, you can decide what you should continue doing, what you should adjust, and what you should stop doing altogether. In the following pages, I’ll take you through why an audit is important and how exactly you can go about tiding up your social media. There’s even a checklist to guide you.
HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE
For those of you who are familiar with social media audits, this checklist may be all you need. But if you’re interested in more detailed explanations of the nerdy stuff, and tips for how to adjust your strategy, I’ve expanded on those details after the checklist. To let you know, depending on your resources and how large your social marketing program is, this could take several hours to several days. Before you start, make sure you’ve got a pen and paper or your favourite spreadsheet program handy. You’ll need to log in to all your main social accounts, as well as your blog and web and social analytics programs. I also recommend a massive cup of coffee.
This audit can be as in-depth as you have the time for, but try to spend as much time on it as you can. If you don’t have lots of time, try and block out 30 minutes, it will make a difference. I always try and start with some of the easier pieces, but feel free to jump around to focus on what’s important to you and your business.
Check your followers for all your social profiles. How have they changed so far this year? What are your growth rates? Hopefully you see positive growth for all your accounts. While some growth rates will be faster than others, depending on how many followers you started with, the age of the platform and your account, and the promotions you’ve been running. Look for generally smooth growth over time. If you do have spikes up or down, try and figure out why. What happened to cause the more dramatic increase or decrease in followers? Are new followers leaving you after a campaign because the rest of your content isn’t interesting enough for them to stick around? Then it’s time to refresh your content strategy if so and make your organic content better. Do follower changes coincide with times a social platform has cleaned out bots or spam accounts? I lost 1,000 fans on one account overnight because of this. It was scary. You should always, block and report spam accounts when they follow you so they don’t affect your follower numbers long-term. Are you losing some followers after specific posts? Look at what these posts have in common? Same with any posts that resulted in a positive bump; what about these posts did your audience like or not like? Read all the comments and look for trends. Then use that information to tailor your content strategy.
Now on to content: what have been your most successful posts so far this year? Look at engagement metrics like shares/retweets and comments, likes and favorites. See what content has spurred conversation. Asking questions always seems to help this. Don’t forget to sure to analyze impressions and reach to measure the size of your audience for particular posts. Coupled with engagement, impressions can show you how effective the post actually was. What content has gotten in front of a larger or more diverse audience? Check the major channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as any other platforms your brand participates in. Also look at your blog here – which posts have gotten the most pageviews and which have visitors spent the most time on? (Google Analytics) Look for common themes in terms of content. What are your top posts about? Do they include media?
Always keep tabs on where your audience likes to spend their time. Make sure you are participating where it makes sense, and where the attention is the cheapest. Evaluate the timing and frequency of your posts. Certain channels can handle more frequent posts, like Twitter and Facebook, but on Instagram, you may want to post just once or twice a day. Do you see an increase in engagement on posts shared at certain times? Target these timing slots to maximize your reach.
Review your current pinned posts. Have you updated these lately? Make sure they’re not about dated promotions and that they’re highlighting something evergreen. What do you have as your bio info? Check your profile pictures, about or bio text, background image, URLs. How long has it been since you refreshed your social bios? Make sure they are consistent across the platforms you are on. See if they need an update, especially if you’ve updated any of your brand voice or values. Super important: check to make sure your contact information is up-to-date. You wouldn’t want to miss a social lead because of an outdated phone number or unused email address. Lastly, take a close look at your social profile security. Change old passwords and update shared password information, if any. If you don’t currently use a password tool to manage team access, consider adding one now. I recommend Slack, Hootsuite, and Evernote for handing teams and shared password documents. Look through each social channel’s list of authenticated third-party apps to be sure you’ve only allowed access to reliable apps you’re actively using. These are usually under settings for the major players.
Media and Visuals
Now is the time to look at the media you use in your posts. Do you need to update your stock images or graphics? If you’re using the same three images over and over, your audience will notice and get bored. Even if you don’t have a dedicated designer or budget to hire one, there are plenty of free and low-cost visual content tools you can use create your own images. I love Pixabay. Do you use much video? You probably should. See what you can learn about how your video performs. If you’re doing a lot of live video, assess how those perform and think of ways you can attract more viewers in the first few seconds of your next video. Do your posts perform better when they have an image or video in them? In many cases, adding a visual to a social post makes it stand out and gives it more screen real estate, so if you’re not using many images, consider adding more in the future.
How much do you post the same piece of content to multiple social channels? AKA Content Syndication. Make sure you’re varying the time of day you post similar messages across social platforms. This can lead to multiple touches on the same day or week. It can be a good driver of interest to your content. A little repetition can grab attention, but too much can be annoying and lead to the dreaded unfollow. Evaluate your social timing and content strategy to see if it could use some tweaking. Please, make absolutely sure that your paid and organic strategies are in sync. While paid campaigns can take a slightly different tack to draw in new followers from your target audience, you need to be sure your organic content is interesting and helpful enough that they want to stick around. Why spend money bringing people in only to push them away with boring follow up? Next, take a look at how your ads are performing, both active campaigns and those you’ve recently run. How did they do? If they didn’t perform as you expected, was it because they were out of sync with your organic strategy? You’ll also want to consider things like timing (did you run two campaigns too close together?) and targeting (were you reaching the right audience?).
If it’s been a while since you’ve checked in on your audience, you’ll want to make sure you still know them and that you’re targeting the right people. Throw in a question or a poll, if it makes sense to do so. While you’re thinking about ads, consider what you’re doing to collect email addresses and other leads on social. Take stock of your CTAs, demo requests and newsletter signups. A small change in your Call To Action might convert better. If there’s anything you could be doing to pull in more email addresses, now’s a good time to incorporate it. Finally, take a look at your web analytics to see what social and blog posts have driven the most traffic to your website(s). What is the visitor’s behaviour like when they arrive? Where do they go? Where do they drop off? Think about what you can do to improve these flows.
Competitors and Listening
It’s always worth analyzing what your competitors are doing. So first, be sure you’re monitoring your competitors. But also, check that you’re monitoring the correct competitors. Then you can look into how they are performing compared to you. I recommend Social Blade and Ahrefs for analyzing competition. What strategies do they have in place that you can learn from? You obviously don’t want to outright copy them, however, it can be very helpful to see how they’re connecting with their fans. You might discover a gap that your brand can fill or something you can do even better than they can. This is also extremely helpful to provide a set of benchmarks you can use to evaluate your own success. Also check in on your “share of voice”. Ensure you’ve got something in place to monitor your share of the conversation in your industry compared to your competitors. It’s like market share, and is sometimes called brand mentions. Hopefully you’ll see a trend of slow and steady growth over time, but if you don’t it’s better to know now and be able to fix it. Declining share of voice is a sign that something is wrong. Finally, a strong social media marketing strategy isn’t complete without comprehensive listening. Check in on your social listening terms to be sure they’re capturing the general conversation around your brand, including any common misspellings. Add additional industry keywords or hashtags as new ones become prominent in industry conversations, particularly those from your biggest brand advocates and any influencers.
ABC – ALWAYS BE CLEANING
Consider running through some of this checklist at least once a quarter if you can find the time. Set up a good social media analytics program (Iconosquare, Hootsuite and Social Blade are all top notch) and make sure you’re continuously capturing data about your social performance so you know how you’re doing and what you can improve. Go for it!
Thanks for reading. Leave a comment if the checklist is missing any critical options that you use.