social media audit discussion by 3 people

Quick Guide: How to Conduct an Effective Social Media Audit

You can put your heart and soul into your social media posts, but without taking a hard look at your brand’s past performance, it can be challenging to achieve the results you want going forward.

That’s where a social media audit comes into play, and we gathered three social media experts to discuss how brands should conduct an effective social media audit.



If you prefer to read along, we’ve summarized many of the highlights of the discussion in this post. We’ll also cover the key essentials of what is a social media audit and how to use one to optimize your social media presence.


What is the goal of a social media audit?

A social media audit is a comprehensive analysis of a brand’s social media presence and activities. It includes an analysis of your profile, audience, competition, and more.

The goal of a social media audit is to gain insights about the current social media performance, identify areas for improvement, and make initial recommendations and informed decisions for the future. A social media audit can help optimize your social media strategies, enhance engagement, increase reach, and drive better marketing results.

Social media audit vs. social media strategy

Think of a social media audit as a preamble to your social media strategy. An audit starts at the beginning and creates a baseline for what is working and what isn’t working for a particular brand. It provides an opportunity to examine your overall performance and establish context for your brand.

The information discovered during an audit will then inform the social media strategy development. A full social media strategy will include more details than a social media audit, getting into an in-depth strategy about next steps, specific goals, timing, and more.

What are the major things to look at in a social media audit?

From a content standpoint, the major things to look at in a social media audit are what’s working and what’s not working. If your brand is on multiple channels, it is best to go channel by channel and look at key information like engagement rates, how the audience is engaging with posts, and what areas are opportunities for optimization.

From an analytics standpoint, there are a few key things to look at numerically. For example, it is best practice to look at posting frequency, how posting frequency compares to competitors, how engagement rates compare to posting frequencies, and so on.

In other words, how often do you post compared to others? Are you posting at a similar rate or are you way off the mark? Are you putting a lot of effort into posting constantly but only getting low engagement? Does your industry as a whole tend to have low (or high) engagement on social media or are you underperforming compared to your peers?

With your own content, it can also be insightful to look at click data. This will help you understand how effective content is at driving traffic to your website if this is one of your goals.

Getting all the data on competitors can be tricky and it’s one of the reasons brands turn to social media agencies with experience doing exactly that.

How do you do target audience analysis?

Target audience analysis examines what platforms your target audience is on, what content types they engage with, and what tone they’re looking for from brands.

Audience research can be a little tricky to do on your own, but a social media agency like Ignite has access to tools that can make this a really insightful process. We use GWI data to review where your exact target audience is on social media, figure out what your audience wants from brands on social media, see if your intended audience composition matches your actual results, and make actionable suggestions to optimize your audience reach.

How much do follower numbers matter as a social KPI?

Follower numbers used to matter a lot more for engagement than they do today. Now, they only matter if you want to brag about how many followers that you have.

This is because most social media channels have implemented newsfeed algorithms instead of showing posts in a chronological newsfeed.

You no longer necessarily see a brand or creator’s content just because you follow them. Instead, people who engage with particular content often have it keep showing up in their feed much more than inactive followers.

Many social media platforms today also want to encourage creators and brands to use their paid features. This means that your content is shown to fewer followers so that you are incentivized to pay to promote it.

For example, several years ago, Facebook posts would reach about 16% of your followers. After implementing a massive newsfeed algorithm change in late 2013, that rate was cut to about 2–5% or less. Different platforms have different rates, but ever since those changes, 5% or less has become the new average reach rate and now you’re lucky if you’re reaching 10% of your followers.

Therefore, follower numbers matter less today. Even if you have millions of followers, your message will only reach a tiny portion of them. Instead of driving all of your efforts into follower growth, you are better off supplementing organic posting with paid syndication, so you have control to reach the audience you want to reach.

Social media is different in that quality content gets a “dividend” in that it is shown to more people. So posting high quality content less often will often result in better overall results than frequent posting of low engagement content. Supplementing that with paid gets the most efficient total reach.

What do you look for in a competitor analysis?

Competitor analysis is often a challenge because it is harder to access other brands’ information, especially regarding paid media. Because of this, a “viral” post may simply have been promoted via paid. However, it is possible to pull key insights about competitor performance from publicly available data.

Ignite uses a proprietary tool to enhance and simplify the competitor analysis process. We pull information about industry averages, and we also look for outliers to see who is relatively under- or over-performing. The data can help inform us of who is using paid media and to what extent they’re using it.

We also look at the intent behind competitor’s posts, how their posts are executed, their engagement rates, and what size team or resources they have at their disposal to inform our overall analysis.

Best advice for brands doing a social media audit

If you are considering doing a social media audit for your brand, bravo! You are about to enter an exciting period of insight and transformation.

Our best advice to you is to dive in and embrace the process. Be prepared to discover things that might surprise you or that might not be ideal. Instead of starting the process with an exact idea of what you expect to see, enter with an open mind and be open to what the data tells you.

It can also be helpful to go into an audit with three to five key questions that you want to answer. This can help give your analysis some focus and direction.

If we can help you with a social media audit, or a full social media strategy, please let us know by completing the form below.

Ignite Social Media