Like a financial audit, a social media audit surveys your practices and status and suggests areas for improvement. An initial social media audit is an important part of drawing up a social media marketing plan. Essentially the first audit tells you where you are in the social media world and serves as a basis for planning your future activity.
An audit of your social media efforts doesn't have to take a lot of time, but it should be sufficiently through to let you see precisely where you stand. As with any audit, be prepared for some surprises. You may find you have more of a communal media presence that you thought.
The place to start your audit is by listing all the social media outlets you are aware of that you use. This starts with any web sites you may have and includes blogs, twitter accounts, email accounts and any other social media presences. Be sure to include the inactive ones as well.
The first surprise is likely to be how many of them there are. Social media accounts are like dust bunnies; they accumulate in obscure corners. This is because it is much easier to establish an account in today's environment than it is to cancel one.
This list should include all the social media outlets you own. However that is only the first step in the process.
The next step is to Google your company name, trademark, names of top executives and anything else that may specifically identify you.
You are very likely to find rogue accounts that you do not own and are not under your control. These arise from a variety of causes. They may be accounts created by employees or ex-employees to support your efforts. They may be accidental cross-over’s from third parties. They may also be malicious attempts to confuse people about your company. If possible, get these closed down. Almost all social media outlets have procedures for eliminating spoofed accounts, but these vary considerably with the companies.
Now look over the list of social media channels you have left. Your next job is going to be to get these into line with your corporate goals or, barring that, to close them down.
One of the most important parts of a winning social media campaign is consistency. Visitors to your sites should find you speaking with a unified voice no matter which channel they visit. That doesn't mean everything has to have the same information, but it does mean that everything should support your consistent messages.
Part of this is controlling the number and volume of channels. Keeping a social media channel active takes effort and time so there is a limit to how many you can support – and a smaller limit on the number you can support effectively. Remember to be effective a social media channel needs to be refreshed with new content, preferably at least weekly.
Consider your overall social media strategy and goals and decide which channels are most important to you. Your strategy should also tell you what kinds of messages you want that channel to transmit and how you're going to interact on that channel with your audience.
In general it is better to have two or three channels which are strongly supported than five or six which have weak support or, worse yet, a dozen or so that are never supported.
Decide which channels are most important to reaching your target audience and concentrate on the top two or three. Make sure that those channels are unified in appearance, tone and everything else so they can reinforce one another.