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Even though tracking social ROI is an often-cited challenge for marketers, social media audits remain an under-utilized tool for understanding how companies are doing on social.
So, what is a social media audit anyway?
Basically, it is a stock take of your organization’s social media presence and performance for the purpose of improving it. By laying out all the data, it provides the opportunity to weigh up and improve upon your social strategy to draw out the maximum ROI.
As marketers, we often hear about the 80/20 rule: the principle that 80% of results come from 20% of our actions or customers. A social media audit is one of your best tactics to coax out that 20%.
But how do you find your 20%?
Luke Kintigh, Intel’s Global Content Strategist, also speaks about the 10/90 rule – that 10% of content drives 90% of traffic and engagement. That makes it vital to “find that 10% early and often.”
An audit is how you do it.
Discover how to do a social media audit below.
Here are the six steps to performing a social media audit.
The first step is a complete review of your social media presence. We’d recommend doing this at least once annually, leaving no stone unturned.
Document everything: from your channels to handles and hashtags. For every channel note down its purpose and everything you know about your audience on it. The look of your channels is important too—is the cover imagery still on-brand? Do you have fresher imagery to improve upon it with?
Once you have gathered up everything and looked at the packaging. It’s time to get stuck into actual performance.
This is where you can put some numbers to your efforts. Your follower count and development, as well as the number of shares and mentions, are all relevant here.
Also, consider if you are playing to each network’s strengths. Each has its special characteristics, e.g. if your brand has a Twitter profile, you had better have the resources in place to ensure the quick responses expected by Twitter users.
An audit will ensure you don’t waste resources on channels that aren’t paying off, and shift focus to others that do.
B2C companies will want to pay particular attention to engagement and community management metrics, such as the number of messages being received—and responded to. One commonly overlooked metric is sentiment, which is the rating of whether the messages and mentions you’re receiving are positive or negative. This requires a sentiment analysis tool but it is well worth it.
Your posting frequency and times should be closely scrutinized. Are you scheduling posts at the optimal time?
Every social media network has its rule-of-thumb best times for posting. But these are always debatable, and closer investigation may show that your audience’s consumption habits simply don’t match up.
Which posts are actually driving the kind of traffic that will affect your bottom line?
Rather than focusing just on the numbers, take a closer look at how your social audience is behaving in terms of page views, bounce rates, and conversions.
As with all aspects of social media audits, small fixes can have a huge effect.
A common oversight is not optimizing your content in a mobile-friendly format. It’s a biggy considering that mobile now accounts for approximately half of global internet traffic. For all you know, you could be losing your audience on something as avoidable as slow mobile loading times.
Identifying your best performing posts can provide insights into what works for you and why.
Look closely at the demographics of each channel. What are your followers’ locations, gender, and interests? You may find that your audience is a rather different bunch to what you pictured—or to your ideal customer profile. One way to glean that is to compare your follower numbers to your engagement rate.
Facebook and Twitter both offer some demographic features, but we’d recommend using a profile database. This automatically logs every social interaction once a profile is created. You can also sync it with CRM data.
Once you have a handle on your own posting across channels, it’s time to see how well it aligns with what your audience is talking about—and compares to what your competition is doing.
Ideally, use a social media listening tool. This will make it a lot easier to track hashtags, handles, topics, or brand names. Doing so gives you invaluable insights into what your audience and industry care about. You can also see how your brand and others are being spoken about out there.
This is where you get introspective and examine how well you and your team are functioning.
Processes are central here. First, when it comes to publishing do you have a sufficient quality control process in place? How far ahead are you planning out your content calendar?
With community management, the key consideration is how fast your turnaround on messages is. If it is taking too much time to reply, you need to jump on it. Creating template responses to common questions is one way.
So, you’ve completed all the steps above, with a slick n’ streamlined social media machine to show for it.
But there is one crucial last step.
Does this rebooted social media outfit still fit with and support your broader company goals? After all, social media should never exist in a vacuum. Neglecting to align social with company objectives not only defeats the purpose, it makes it much harder to prove the ROI of your activities.
When completing a social media audit, comprehensive documentation and ample time are key.
Don’t underestimate the time or resources that you’ll need. After putting in your due diligence and with the results of your analysis in-hand, you’ll want to do three things: create clear, easily-sharable reports that detail the most important findings, share your analysis with your team, and develop a fresh plan of attack for your next quarter or year.
Tracking the right metrics will help establish the connection between your social media activities and your goals. This, in turn, will allow you to clearly demonstrate how social media is contributing to your company’s business objectives.
Be sure to share your findings with other departments within the company and look for connections to brainstorm new ideas together.
A social media audit is a unique chance for a fresh start. By knowing precisely how your brand is performing on social media, you can save time, sweat, and tears with a social media strategy that really works.
But remember, what you’re doing is only laying the groundwork that’s going to help you make more informed business decisions on your future campaigns.
To get the most out of your social media presence, you’re going to have to answer these questions:
To answer that million-dollar question, check out our guide on calculating social media ROI.
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