How to Perform a Social Media Audit

How To 7 min
Follow these steps to improve your effectiveness on social media by performing an audit.

Review of social media effectiveness is an ongoing process. Many social media platforms have built-in analytic tools with hundreds of data points you can record and report. Having clear objectives will help you understand which metrics are important to your unit.

It is important to conduct in-depth research to collect and analyze data to assess the performance of your social media strategy. Use this step-by-step guide to help you track and analyze social media accounts related to your unit.

Auditing accounts requires considerable research. Spreadsheets are ideal for holding the data you collect. Use the Social Media Audit template or create your own.

A social media audit template is helpful to keeping track of your data. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Empty Social Media Audit Template Spreadsheet (Excel spreadsheet format)
A social media audit template is helpful to keeping track of your data.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1000

  • List all registered accounts. You must compile a complete list of all accounts, both past and present. First list all the accounts that you and your team use regularly, then list old or abandoned profiles.
  • Identify platforms where you don’t yet have a social presence. Know what new platforms are emerging and gaining popularity. Consider pros and cons of adding them to your social strategy, or create profiles to reserve your handle for the future. 
  • Search for unknown accounts. Do a general internet search of your unit name to find those you may not be aware of. If you find an account you don't recognize, you may need to do some digging to see if they are official accounts or run by someone unauthorized to represent your unit. You should then move on to search all social media sites with your unit name to see if you find any you are not aware of. 
  • Record your research. Add all known and found accounts to your document so you can monitor activity and watch for unauthorized accounts that may be created. Add notes to flag questionable accounts that require you to investigate further. A column for "unauthorized accounts" will allow you to record unauthorized accounts and the steps taken to have them shut down.

Document all of the registered accounts, platforms without accounts, and unauthorized accounts using a social media audit template like this. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
An example of how to fill out the Registered Accounts tab on the social media audit spreadsheet. Other tabs include: Platforms without Accounts, Profile Complete and Unauthorized Accounts.
Document all of the registered accounts, platforms without accounts, and unauthorized accounts using a social media audit template like this.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1001
The channel owner should be a person or group responsible for maintaining and posting on the platform. The objective should be one line that represents what you want from using the platform. If platforms do not have an objective, now is the time to create one. You must know what you're trying to achieve before you can evaluate whether or not you're hitting your goals, and an objective will help solidify that.

Ensure that channel owner and objective have both been identified for each registered account tracked on the social media audit spreadsheet. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
An example of how to track the channel owner and objective for each registered account on the social media audit spreadsheet.
Ensure that channel owner and objective have both been identified for each registered account tracked on the social media audit spreadsheet.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1002
Once you know what you're trying to achieve, you will have a better sense of what metrics to track to evaluate the effectiveness of the account. Set Key Performance Indicators to note which metrics you will use to evaluate performance. Some good metrics to watch are:

  • Likes
  • Reach
  • Engagement
  • Video
  • People

You may discover that some accounts or platforms outperform others. You may need to adjust your strategy, invest more time in the successful accounts or shut down the poor performing account.

Track the key performance indicators you want to focus on to evaluate the platform's performance on the social media audit spreadsheet. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Showing an example of how to track the key performance indicators for each registered account.
Track the key performance indicators you want to focus on to evaluate the platform's performance on the social media audit spreadsheet.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1003
Your best posts are the ones that generated the most positive engagement. Identify the top three for each platform and add the links to these posts to your audit document.

Once you have a list of the best posts, look for patterns:

  • Is the best response on posts containing photos or videos?
  • Does the platform change the amount of engagement?

Add notes about any patterns you recognize to your audit. Use this information to help craft more engaging posts going forward.

Identify your top three posts, analyze what was done well and what message reached your audience. This example shows how to do this using columns on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Social media audit template with Top three posts with an example of tracking the top three posts for each registered account.
Identify your top three posts, analyze what was done well and what message reached your audience. This example shows how to do this using columns on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1004
As you evaluate each account and how they all work together to support your unit, you need to gain an understanding of each platform's audience. Demographics are a key part of that.

  • Who are you targeting?
  • What are their consumption habits?
  • What platform do they prefer?
  • Has this audience changed or grown?

Track demographics using columns on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template. Be sure to identify the makeup of your audience. Use this data to inform your future posts. Note any changes. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Social media audit template with audience demographics with an example of tracking audience demographics for each registered account.
Track demographics using columns on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template. Be sure to identify the makeup of your audience. Use this data to inform your future posts. Note any changes.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1005
You should have enough knowledge and insight into your unit's social media accounts to be equipped to decide where to focus your efforts. Look at each account's performance and audience, and look for ways to incorporate those accounts with your unit's command messaging. If there isn't a connection, or if the account is not performing well, consider focusing more on the ones that are and less on the ones that aren't.

You can reevaluate at a later date to see if more changes need to be made. The most important factor is to make sound decisions based on the research you uncover during your audit. You need to focus the most time and resources on the accounts that are strengthening the unit's message.

Figure out what your best accounts are and what needs to be done to improve them to make the best use of your time and efforts. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Social media audit template with aoptimization column
Figure out what your best accounts are and what needs to be done to improve them to make the best use of your time and efforts.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1006
One person or team should maintain control of and responsibility for each social media account. They should ensure the account reflects unit messaging, is up to date and performing well. They will also be in charge of necessary approvals on the account and will guide its strategic direction. They’ll decide who should have access to the account and what level of access each person should have. Sometimes, responsibility for accounts changes hands. Instead of giving many people access to the passwords, centralize them. This ensures you don't have to change passwords every time someone moves to a new role.

In your audit document, make sure you list each owner and which tool is set up to control passwords.

Identify the location and/or owner of the password. Do NOT use the audit to store passwords. This example shows how to track the password owner's information using a dedicated column on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
Social media audit template with Location / Owner of Password with example of tracking the owner of password for each registered account.
Identify the location and/or owner of the password. Do NOT use the audit to store passwords. This example shows how to track the password owner's information using a dedicated column on the Registered Accounts tab of the Social Media Audit Template.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1007
All accounts need to be consistent with your unit standards. Evaluate:

  • Profiles images
  • Cover photos
  • Bio text
  • Handles
  • Links
  • Pinned posts

These should all be consistent and current with the unit's brand, image and messaging standards. Make sure all bio text is completely filled in with the current unit message. You also need to check that the same handle is being used consistently across social media platforms. The exception might be if you have more than one to serve different purposes. Ensure links point to the correct pages for your unit and that pinned posts are still relevant.

Ensure that all profiles are complete and create concrete actions to remedy any issues. This information can be tracked on a Profile Complete tab of the Social Media Audit template. Photo by Andrea Batts-Latson
An example of how to track the information for the profile complete tab on the social media audit spreadsheet.
Ensure that all profiles are complete and create concrete actions to remedy any issues. This information can be tracked on a Profile Complete tab of the Social Media Audit template.
Photo by: Andrea Batts-Latson
VIRIN: 200423-D-VE872-1008
A social media audit is not a one-and-done process. All accounts should be audited on a regular basis to ensure accounts are up to date, still reflect the unit's messaging and are performing as expected. You can decide how often you will perform an audit, but quarterly is a good place to start.