March 8, 2021
Like anything in life, social media marketing is effective only if you are doing it the right way. What can make this complicated is that there is no ONE right way to do it. The channels and platforms you use, how often you post, what you post, and whether you employ paid advertising all depend on your unique situation, business, and niches.
Once you have mastered the habit of posting on a regular basis (see “How To Create A Social Media Calendar” January 2021 and “Choosing The Best Buckets For Your Social Media Calendar” February 2021), you should collect data from those posts that you can use to fine tune your content to maximize effectiveness. What works well on Facebook may not be successful on Instagram, so you have to evaluate each channel on its own merits.
This process is generally referred to as a “social media audit.” If you want to learn more after reading this article, those are the keywords I suggest you Google.
After completing an audit, you will learn:
* what is working and what is not
* new opportunities and ideas for content
* how you compare to your top competitors
* whether you have been hacked and an imposter is stealing fans
* ways you can save time and improve your overall performance.
The recommended frequency of doing an audit varies. Some suggest quarterly, others every 12-18 months. Once you have done one, you will have a feel for how often repeating the process is needed.
There are social media management platforms that offer free templates that can make this process easier. Here is one example from Hootsuite: You need to give up an email to get it.
Identify all accounts. For smaller companies, this may be an unnecessary step. You may never have had more than one account. However, a former employee may have created an account and then left the company. Or after an initial page was created, the company name or ownership changed, and the old page was forgotten or abandoned.
Larger companies, with divisions or sister businesses, may have multiple pages. You may have created a Facebook user group for your products. Regardless, you want to ensure you are aware of every page out there connected to your enterprises.
The first step is to Google your company name(s) and other keywords that would be associated with your business regarding your products and services. Not only should this turn up any defunct or forgotten accounts, but it also can make you aware if an imposter is trying to present themselves as you. Once you have completed that step for Google, repeat it on every social media channel/platform you have ever used.
Another good thing to track is what social media networks you are NOT on. Part of this evaluation should include assessing if you should be adding new channels either immediately or down the road. Examples might be places like TikTok, Pinterest, Nextdoor or Byte.
The next step is to evaluate if anything needs to be updated in terms of contact info, cover images, logos, etc. Have you had the same cover image up on Facebook for more than a year? What about profile photos? It may be time to freshen those up. Are personnel, phone numbers, email addresses, landing page links, and website URLS, all current?
When you initially set up your Facebook page, there are 13 steps you are prompted to complete. It is a good idea to review these and fill in anything you may have left blank at the time. The more complete your page info is, the more likely it will pop up in searches and provide potential customers with information they are seeking so they do not go elsewhere in frustration.
Get verification badge. Is your page verified by the provider? For example, on Facebook, you can request that it verify your account, which means you receive a badge that appears on your page. It is proof that it is an authentic, registered business, which provides credibility and increases trust.
To qualify, your business page must have an about section, a profile photo and at least one post. You must submit a request, but it is worth the time. The request form is here. For other channels/platforms you can Google for the appropriate page. If you have never done this, consider taking the time as part of your auditing process.
Identify your best posts. This does not mean scrolling through past posts and looking to see how many likes and shares were received. Employ the free tools that the platform offers. For example, if you are evaluating Facebook, you will want to use Facebook Page Insights.
As the admin of your business page, go to the left column under “Manage Page.” (Only the admin can see this. If you are not the admin, you can request that the admin also make you an admin.) If you scroll down, you’ll see “Insights.” (Facebook is constantly changing its interface, so if you don’t see it, look around, it will be there.)
This presents a page of graphs and info that is an overview. Typically, it shows data for the past seven days. It includes: actions on page, page views, page likes, post reach, post engagement and page followers. You can change the view to “yesterday,” “today,” or “last 28 days.” By clicking on any of the charts, you can get more detailed information.
At the top of the left-hand side of the Page Insights area, you’ll see a link that allows you to export data. Your choices are Page, Post and Video. So you can download the data from each of these tabs and store it for later review.
This will get you started on your journey to conducting a social media audit. Next month, we’ll go into more detail about evaluating the data from Facebook Page Insights.
Deborah Sexton is the former editor of Impressions Magazine, where she worked from 1981 to 2001. She now owns her own company, Saracen Communications, doing digital media marketing, copywriting, and public relations for companies in the decorated apparel industry. You can reach her at email@example.com.
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