I’ll spare you the clichés about harnessing the power of social media. If your social efforts aren’t moving the needle, it’s time to perform an audit to see what you’re doing right (or wrong). Download our Social Media Audit Checklist at the bottom of this post for a quick and easy review. Looking to improve more than just your social media performance? Check out Imarc’s “A complete guide to conducting digital marketing audits”.
Social media is about what your audience wants, not what your brand needs.
It’s constantly evolving. Experimentation is the name of the game. What worked yesterday will not always work today.
Have. 👏 Some. 👏 Fun. 👏 For most users, social media is an escape, not a place to sit through a sales pitch.
Use the 70/20/10 rule. Your content should be 70% educational, 20% sales, and 10% fun.
Goals + industry + audience = success
The first step in your social media audit is to take a step back and look at the basics. Understanding your goals, industry, and audience sounds simple, but there are often complex audiences and multiple goals to consider.
Social media goals should complement your business goals, but they don’t need to be the same. Social media goals should vary depending on your audience or social channel, like LinkedIn vs. Instagram.
Set SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-based) goals for your social channels. Then, define micro- and macro-conversions.
Macro-conversions are your bread & butter, those lead form fills, C-suite contact inquiries, purchases, bookings, etc.
Micro-conversions are smaller actions, like post engagement, custom audience evolution, shares/retweets, etc.
Use your goals to set expectations with leadership and evolve them as business needs change over time.
Stay up to date with your industry by following major competitors and influencers. Look at their strategies, messages, and tone to see how they are approaching their audiences. Identify areas your brand can differentiate, improve, or expand upon opportunities your social competitors have left behind.
Ultimately, your goal is to become a thought leader and get ahead of the pack. The US 2020 Edelman-LinkedIn Thought Leadership Study interviewed C-suite executives across the country. 88% say impactful thought leadership increased their perceptions of a brand. Social media is a proverbial megaphone for you to amplify this thought leadership content.
Understanding your audience is the most important aspect of your overall social strategy. You need to know who you are speaking to in order to create relevant, compelling content. Define your brand personas, and use social as a medium to reach them. Like most companies, you might be speaking to more than one audience. Segment your audience and your content, no matter how big or small.
Have fun with your content
Social media is inherently used to escape the day-to-day. While some mediums, like LinkedIn, may be more focused on educational and sales content, having some fun can help you stand out from the crowd. Take a look at the type of content you are creating, and try to align it with the 70/20/10 rule that we mentioned above.
70% education: This content should be focused on awareness for your product or service.
20% sales: This content should inspire action with CTAs and/or offers to directly drive your macro-conversions.
10% fun: B2B companies can’t all be Wendy’s on Twitter. For conservative law or engineering firms, “fun” can be as simple as a feel-good post or something that evokes a grin.
Step outside your comfort zone
Experimentation has a direct impact on social success. Now is the time to try something new! Your audience wants to see something fresh, something different. In most cases, social media channels do too. Look at the prominent locations of LinkedIn Stories or the sneak preview of Twitter Communities launching in 2021.
While new social media features can be cumbersome and intimidating to test, they keep your audience engaged and eager. Social media algorithms can’t directly reward brands for using new features, but engaging your audience with new features will be rewarding all on its own.
Additionally, experimentation provides ample opportunities to stand out from the crowd. Your competitors might not be using these new channels or new features, which presents a large opportunity for your business. If they are? Find a unique way to differentiate. For example, SoulCycle created the series Soul People Are The Best People. The series leveraged IGTV to highlight instructors, customers, and their surrounding communities.
Advertising on social media
Consider implementing or changing your advertising strategy based on the results you are seeing today. When advertising on social media, consider the fundamental difference between boosted content and unpublished paid content. While each serves its purpose, choosing between the two impacts your results.
Boosted posts: These ads allow you to extend the visibility of a post previously published organically on your page. This is the most user-friendly option and can be an excellent tactic to increase social engagement. With that said, it comes with some major drawbacks. Boosted posts have constraints on objectives, placements, budget control, and optimizing for conversions. This is a good option for a quick promotion or a first-time advertiser, but it is not recommended for sophisticated campaigns.
Unpublished paid content: These are also called “dark ads.” These ads allow for more robust functionality in areas like targeting specific placements, creating custom audiences, optimizing for conversion events, and more. Their primary drawback is that the posts are not included on your public feed. This can be a benefit for sensitive promotions or topics.
The terminology mentioned here is specific to Facebook and Instagram but each social channel has its own variation. On Twitter, it’s referred to as “promoted-only” content. On LinkedIn, it’s referred to as sponsored content.
Deliver personalized content through segmentation
Segmenting your audience starts with considering different social platforms. For example, if you’re looking to run a highly targeted campaign for business professionals, think LinkedIn. Want to target women in a casual setting? Pinterest can help you with that. Looking for savvy millennials? Hello, Instagram.
Custom audiences are a widely used function of social advertising, and they’re extremely powerful for segmentation. Consider your data, website traffic, email lists, and people who have previously engaged with your page. Combine that data with targeting features from social, like demographics, geography, keyword interests.
Create personalized content for each audience segment. Test messaging and format for different audiences to identify repeatable trends. For example, try using video to more cost-efficiently reach younger audiences. Alternatively, analyze the impact of traditional feed posts vs. stories for different generations.
Once you’ve collected some data, start comparing a few general KPIs. The most common are cost-per-click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), and cost-per-action (CPA). Wordstream provides a great resource for benchmarks on paid social by industry.
For ongoing social reporting, we’re big fans of the built-in reporting tools through Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics. If you’re an active Sprout Social user, their reporting capabilities can be extremely insightful. Ultimately, Imarc prefers to evaluate social performance side-by-side with our other marketing efforts through Google Data Studio.
Latest & greatest
Staying on top of the latest social media products and features can feel like a full-time job! We compiled a few of the latest coming your way in 2021.
Twitter: Twitter is unveiling some exciting new features in 2021, including communities and business profiles.
Instagram: A few rollouts in January, March, and April of this year already yield some innovative updates from IG.
Clubhouse: An audio-only social media? Introducing Clubhouse! A few ideas from HubSpot on Clubhouse marketing here.
Now, you’re on your way to social media success! We recommend auditing your social channels at least once a year. Imarc’s digital marketing services team is here to support you with anything you may need.
In the coming weeks, we'll be publishing blog posts that detail how to perform digital marketing audits on these other key marketing channels:
How to perform an email marketing audit
How to perform a content audit
For more strategies, check out Imarc’s “A complete guide to conducting digital marketing audits”.