Saturday, 15 June 2024

for Business Owners

Social Media Audits, a Necessity for Business Growth

In South Africa, for a successful Digital Marketing strategy for business owners, there is need to conduct a Social Media Audit of the business and its brands. Just as in Accounting, an Audit helps measure performance and identify challenges that need to be overcome, to ultimately point at profitability; so, it is with social media for a business's Digital Marketing strategy.

As the Covid restrictions loosened, in South Africa, there was uncertainty on businesses like travel and hospitality, with some having folded by closing branches or the whole group. One such industry was the Bureau De Change business, as people were not travelling, hence the demand for foreign currency very low, or non-existent.

I consulted for one Bureau De Change in Sandton, with a Social Media Audit proposal being the first thing I presented on my first day. I spent the next few days in an intense audit of all things Digital Marketing for the business, and presented my findings. From these findings, we then were able to create strategies, advertising campaigns, social media content plans, calendars, optimisations, choose relevant channels, execute and start monitoring performance.

The results came within the third week, as relevant sales leads began to flow, with good conversation rates. We went on to do the same for the financial services group, touching all its brands, and business units with audits and action plans, with clearly defined objectives, budgets, and return on investment. The return on investment for the Bureau De Change was no less than 10,000%, and all this was during a time when there was scarcity of consumers of foreign currency for travel.

What is a Social Media Audit?

A Social Media Audit is the process of assessing a company's social media metrics, that is, Engagement, Impressions, Reach, Shares, Referrals, Conversions and Response rates, to assess growth, opportunities and advise solutions to improve growth. It is a holistic view of the business's social media performance with a view to identify strengths and weaknesses, in terms of content, community outreach, strategy, etc.

The results from a Social Media Audit give the necessary insights on how to improve the overall effectiveness of a company's social media marketing. This would include social media accounts audits, competitor audit and customer feedback audit.

Social media is an important tool for business owners to make their products and services known in the marketplace. With high visibility comes opportunity to generate leads and increase sales. To do this effectively though requires setting up accounts and creating posts that will attract and engage the right audience at exactly the right time based on your business objectives or your customers preferences.

When conducting the Social Media Audit, the business must assess the least to the most important such as Profile Information (name and URL), Engagement Metrics, Publishing metrics, Audience Demographics, Referral traffic, Channel Statistics.

In the same light as the social media accounts audits, the auditor reviews the social media channels of the company's competition randomly or specific, in order to assess how the business fairs in the market on social media.

Customer feedback audits for social media is conducted by the auditor to capture the voice of the customer. This is a great opportunity for a business to capture feedback from customers and get insights into what they like, don't like and would like improved. This is done by reviewing the conversations with the customer, the engagements, the comments, the likes, and the inbox messages sent through a specific channel.

As the audit is conducted, it is important to set a scope of works. The Social Media Audit Scope is very important, as it sets out the parameters that shall guide the auditor during the entire audit process. The scope will outline that which shall be included in and excluded from assessment or analysis to ensure integrity and completeness of analysis and reporting.

The Social Media Audit Scope must also be accompanied by social media goals, as most Auditors must give recommendations based on what were the desired goals of the business in terms of Social Media Marketing. In order to remain objective with the audit, there is need to set goals, and these could include things like Increasing brand awareness, generating more leads and sales, increasing community engagement, growing your audience, or Increasing traffic to your site.

Social Media Audits are conducted using data from the social media analytics from various platforms such as Facebook Business Suite, Facebook Pixels, LinkedIn Analytics, Google Analytics, Twitter Analytics and more, depending on which platforms you are using.

The framework of a Social Media Audit is called the Visibility Matrix, a method developed I developed in 2006, and have been using it to review social media performance of different types of organisations and individuals, and chart a way forward for them. The Visibility Matrix is a tool used for Digital Marketing performance measurement, and high-level planning, comprising of Motive, Mass, Media, and Money.

Motive, on the top left, is where a business defines its agenda, purpose, objectives, and values for the business or brand. Mass, on the top right, is where the business defines who the target customer and consumer are, with all demographic’s details, and parameters that enable a clear knowledge of who the desired audience is. Media, on the bottom right, is where you define the digital marketing platforms to be used, including conventional media like print, outdoor, and more. Money, on the bottom left, is where you detail the budgets involved, the expected revenue through conversations of lead to customer, and also measuring the projected return on investment.

Working with the Visibility Matrix to conduct a Social Media Audit, helps to then create a plan for the future. After the Audit, there is need to create a strategy using the intelligence gathered from the audit, and the overall company objectives, to create a Social Media Strategy. The Social Media Strategy plays a critical role in determining where to focus social media activities and attention to achieve business objectives. The strategy will involve a content plan, announcing the business to the world, engaging with the audience, handling crises, establishing guidelines for the channels used.

After creating a Social Media Strategy, there is need to create a Social Media Action Plan or Marketing Calendar. This is based on the strategy created. The Action Plan will set up timelines for tasks which are required to be done at different periods during the year so as to measure performance and enable them fulfil their objectives effectively.

Sources: TheBehaviourReport, Sprout