Author Simon Sinek popularized the idea of finding your why. Many organizations, including our own, have created “why statements,” allowing us to succinctly state the purpose behind our work.
Before getting to work, Sinek proposes that organizations “start with why.” But when social media exploded, many organizations jumped in feet first. It was something they “had” to do. There was no why other than a sense of urgency and competition. As social channels have reached a level of maturity (not in what people post on them, just in their age!), organizations should consider taking time to look at the why behind social media through a social media audit.
Yes, you do “have to” be on social in today’s world, but why is your company on social media? What does your company hope to accomplish? What’s the benefit to your organization, its goals, customers, employees, etc.?
Mission + Marketing = Social Why
Examining an organization’s mission – whether it’s to provide expert legal counsel to corporate clients or to eliminate childhood hunger – and its marketing strategy should define the social why.
What does your organization need to support your mission and marketing strategy? Get new clients or donors. Find strategic partners. Attract great new employees. The list goes on…
Once defined, these points enable the development of a channel and content strategy that aligns with goals. See what’s working – and what’s not – on your social media channels and then optimize and plan to build a comprehensive social media strategy across all channels.
Keeping an Eye on the Competition
In addition to looking within, analyzing what your top competitors are doing on social is a critical component of an effective social media audit.
What are they doing well that you can learn from? How does their competitive position and culture differ from yours? What is their overall social presence?
It’s also important to consider what competitors are doing on social that you would never do. Identifying what doesn’t align with your social brand helps to define it just as much as identifying what does align.
Thinking Outside Your Category
Assessing how other organizations – even those that are completely different than yours – approach social can spark ideas and insights into successful social media strategies.
For example, Bloomberg News effectively shares slideshows and videos on Instagram to tell their business-focused stories through visual media to reach different audiences.
Historic tourism sites Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon incorporate humor and modern memes (Marie Kondo, Pi Day, May the 4th) into their Instagrams, which helps keep them relevant to younger audiences. They do it in a way that is bold, surprising and engaging.
Think about the social channels you enjoy and what you might learn from them. Even if they seem irrelevant to your organization, you might generate some fresh ideas about new approaches.
Leading the Leaders
Because the C-suite extends an organization’s digital brand, leaders’ social media presence must be included in a social audit as well.
This aspect of the process is as unique as your leaders themselves. For some, it may start with: “Does our CEO have a photo on her LinkedIn profile?” For others with an advanced social presence, it will be more about considering how and when the organization shares content from your CEO’s social media accounts on your channels and vice versa. (Content topics and voice are important considerations here.)
Whatever the case, making sure that leadership is representing the organization online in a way that is relevant and aligned with the overall social media strategy is critical.
There are many factors that go into a comprehensive social media audit, which serves as a launchpad for building a strategy based on data and insights.
Interested in learning more about our social media audit services? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.