Auditing never sounds fun, but a content audit doesn’t have to be arduous. It’s a vital way of giving your efforts a health check, so you can make sure your web and social media content is working the way you want it to.
This guide will take you through the auditing process step-by-step, and help you set up your own custom template for tracking the information you need.
Hopefully you plan out your social media content, and when you do, you start by coming up with some goals for your accounts – short, medium and long-term. It’s important to have goals to shoot for so that you can really assess whether or not your content is working for you. If you’re consistently missing goals and targets then you might need to re-think your strategy, or your expectations.
If you don’t have goals already, you can write some now – what’s the point of all the work you’re doing on your content? What are you trying to achieve? One or two goals should be fine, possibly one or two per account, if you have a few different ones.
If you’re prepared enough to have an existing set of goals, there’s a good chance you’ve got some indicators listed as well, to help you measure progress towards them.
And if you don’t, no problem – now is the time to look through each of your goals and work out what an indicator would be. An indicator needs to be something measurable – like a number of clicks through to your website, visits to a certain article, or sales of a certain product. Some times you need real life indicators – asking customers in your shop if they’ve seen you on Facebook, for example – as well as statistics. You may have a customer survey you can utilise here as well.
It’s important to come up with the indicators before you start looking at the data. It can be easy to get caught up in the number of likes and shares your content has received, but without deciding beforehand what information is important to you, it can be hard to interpret the data.
Make sure you have at least one indicator for each goal. Ideally it should be a strong indicator – for example, if your goal was to increase traffic to your website, then the number of clicks through to your website is a strong indicator. However, if the link between your goal and your indicator is weaker, you might need more than one. If the purpose of your social media account is to become established in your field, then you might need to look at a combination of how many followers you have, the interactions on your posts, and the number of direct messages you’re getting.
There are a lot of existing templates you can use to track the data you need for your audit, or you can create a spreadsheet of your own.
The amount of data you’re planning to collect will have an impact on how you choose to arrange your spreadsheet – if you have a lot of different accounts, goals and indicators, you’ll need a more sophisticated tool. For most small businesses, however, the steps here should be sufficient.
On the left hand side of the spreadsheet, add in each indicator on its own row. You might like to group them by goal, or by profile. If you need to, use a separate sheet for each platform, or even for each goal.
In the row across the top, you’ll outline the dates you’re looking at. The first column should be an overview of the time period you’re auditing, and the second should cover the previous time period. So if you’re auditing your December content, you can compare it to November’s, or you can look at the December of the previous year. You can add multiple columns to compare data over days, weeks, or months, depending on how detailed your audit is.
Now it’s time to dive into the data – open up the analytics tool for your social media account and start collecting the information laid out in your spreadsheet. As you look through for each item, keep an eye out for unexpected trends – spikes in traffic, length comment conversations etc. If they aren’t covered by the indicators you have listed, make a note of where the data is and come back to it later.
List of analytics tools and tutorials
Now that you’ve gathered all the information you need into one place, you can sit back and take a look at it. You might be able to ‘tick off ‘ each indicator and goal to get an idea of what’s gone well – if you wanted to increase traffic by 50% and it’s gone up by 60%, it’s fairly straightforward to see that you’ve achieved the goal. Or you might not have had specific cut offs in mind to measure against, in which case it’s a little more subjective.
Take a look at post performance, and traffic sources to get a better idea of what might be causing your unexpected results.
Once you’ve completed your audit and you know where your successes were, and where there’s room for improvement, you can use that information to make action points and a to-do list for your next content cycle.
Have you done an audit recently? What were your key take aways? And let us know what you think about our free worksheets!