Conducting a social media audit
Welcome to Tourism Upgrade, the podcast unpacking marketing trends from travel, tourism and marketing leaders. I’m your host HollyG, and today we welcome Amanda Kendle, who is a podcaster at the Thoughtful Travel Podcast, blogger at Not a Ballerina, as well as being a social media consultant. Today, we will be chatting about conducting a social media audit.
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What is a social media audit?
Amanda: A social media audit is something that’s not done often enough, that’s for sure, but it’s something that can make a really big difference. I deal with it with quite a lot of my clients and encourage them to do it themselves as well. It’s taking time to sit down and have a proper look at how you’re using social media and how effective it is, what results you’re getting from social media. It might be delving into each of the social media platforms that they use and having a look at some of the stuff that you can measure, so it might be the engagement or click-throughs or sales or page views on a website or a blog, those kinds of things, so, actually, putting aside a half a day to dig down into what their social media is doing for them and their business.
HollyG: What are some of the reasons why you’d encourage people to conduct an audit of their social media activities?
Amanda: I think a lot of people see social media as kind of this extra thing that they just sort of do on the side and, now, throw up a picture now and again or, kind of ad hoc, add stuff to their social media. By sitting down and conducting some kind of social media audit, you can actually see, “All right, so, actually, my fans really love these images from these kind of tour we run. I should do more of that,” or, “These kinds of stuff isn’t working. My Facebook fans never watch a video on my page,” probably unlikely, but something like that, and you just actually see where you should be putting your efforts.
Social media can take a lot of time, but, if you’re going to spend the time on it, you really want to be spending the time on the most effective way to reach your audience. That’s why you should be sitting down and doing a social media audit.
HollyG: I think, when we’re talking about what sort of things are involved in a social media audit and what we’re talking about in terms of conducting an audit, it is a very sort of tactical thing that we’re doing, but it is allowing that time to take a step back and making sure that your social media is fulfilling your overall objectives and that it is fitting in with your overall marketing or business strategy, and, sometimes, as you say, we forget to do that with social.
Amanda: Yeah, I think it’s really easy to neglect it because it doesn’t … usually, especially for a small business, it doesn’t, perhaps, cost much money, probably, only time, whereas it’s a bit like you would never not sit down and do your books and look at your sales or how many tickets you’re selling or your taxes you have to pay. You would never not do that because you can say that you can measure it, and it’s sort of you feel like it has to be done. I think, really, with your social media these audits and measuring stuff has to be done, too, because, otherwise, you’re just throwing stuff around, and you could be using your time and resources in a much more efficient way.
HollyG: Yeah. There’s a discussion about whether you should do a social media audit or whether someone else should do it for you. I think that there are sort of benefits to both.
Amanda: Absolutely. If you do it yourself, then you do know your business a lot better and you’ll have some sort of insider information that no consultant will know and you’ll have, probably, anecdotal feedback from your customers who’ve said, “Yes, I saw this on Facebook [inaudible 00:04:31].” You might not be able to find that in the stats, but you’ve got the evidence in your head of it.
Having said that, outside, it can also say thing say things in a different way as well and can have like that more depth of knowledge to say, “Okay, you should try this because, on Facebook, this is working really moment at the moment,” or, “On Instagram. You know, you need to have a look at different hashtags.” I think there’s an opportunity for getting value out of both and, perhaps, even in combination.
Sometimes, with my clients, they’ll often come to me and they’re just completely hands throwing up in the air. They have no idea what they should be doing with their social media. They’ve started like 4 platforms and they really only use one and stuff like that, and I’ll do like a quite in-depth audit with them at first and give them a strategy and then give them some tips on measuring their progress goes by themselves, so check on this monthly and see. You might want to adjust this, and, then, sometimes, they’ll come back in 6 or 12 months and say, “Okay, can you have another look again,” but, at least in between, they’ve been doing their own mini-audits to see how their progress is going.
HollyG: Yeah, and it’s also why I encourage people to do a monthly report on their social media activities.
That is almost just to, okay, take the time to stop and look back on what worked over the last month, how many people were you reaching, what was the content that was engaging, how did that impact your sort of other activities and your sales, so, yeah, sort of doing that social media reporting on a regular basis means that, I guess, you can of leave a bit of a longer time before you’re doing an audit.
Amanda: Yeah, absolutely, because just by looking monthly at your stats and it’s a short enough time that you can remember quite a lot of details about things, and you can say, okay, “I’ll tweak these now and just do these slightly differently for the next month and see how that works,” because you’ve got a short frame of reference to compare it to. It’s quite rewarding. You can say, “Oh, well, these, you know, these links to,” I don’t know, “some really interesting websites and stuff, okay, my followers really like that. Okay, that’s great. I’ll do some more of that,” and it can make you feel like the efforts that you’re putting in are actually achieving something.
HollyG: I think that is such a good point, Amanda. I think that, when … if you take the time to report on what you’re doing, you do get more encouraged to keep going, and it doesn’t seem like such or a random chose when you can see what’s actually working and how it’s working. It’s much more encouraging to do that sort of thing.
Thinking about conducting a social media audit, what are some of the things that we would really actually look at when … if we’re going to sit down and go, “Okay, I’m going to, you know, spend the next few hours?” What are the things that we would look at?
Amanda: Obviously, it depends on the platforms, but Facebook is a platform that virtually everybody is on, and Facebook is really good for these, especially just for someone doing their own audit because all the tools are there already in the Facebook Insights. I always start to show my … like people in my training courses about insight and they’re like overwhelmed with all the statistics, and I say, “Just settle down. It’s okay. Um, you know, there’s just a few important things that you need to look at,” and that will depend a little bit on what your business is like as well.
For example, the demographics of who is following you on Facebook and if you’re reaching the right age group, the right gender, the right … people in the right location, those kinds of things. Sometimes, my clients might find that they’re actually reaching the wrong people, perhaps people in the wrong location, and they need to tweak the kinds of posts that they’re doing to attract people in the right destination or, sometimes, it doesn’t matter so much who they’re reaching, but it’s important that they know who it is, and then they can … that can inform the kind of content that they put up there.
If I think even back to my own travel blog, years ago, when Facebook started up and before that, it was less easy to find out who was really watching and following me, and I would get all this information and I was like, “All right, so, actually, um, I reached sort of my age group and and older age group,” and it made a lot of sense when I found that out. Without being able to look at my Facebook Insights, I probably never would have realized because, if someone leaves a comment on my blog, they don’t add their age and bracket, so I didn’t know, but it made a lot of sense that all these experienced travelers who are in their 50’s and 60’s were also interested in the content that I had. That’s the sort of thing that you can find out by doing … by auditing and looking at your Facebook Insights and other sorts of things on Facebook, especially the kinds of posts that worked the best and the timing, what time of day your followers are online and all of those kinds of things are so useful to find out.
HollyG: The other thing that I encourage people to look at is look at their branding and their description.
Is that up to date? Is the logo or the image, your avatar the most up to date? Is the header image that you’ve got on all your social platforms, is that reflective of who you are as a brand now, or was it something that you just chucked up there when you first set things up? The same with your descriptions and “About Us” and your long descriptions and your short descriptions on your social, they’re really important, and they do impact SEO and things like that. Making sure you’ve got … you’ve really nailed the description to encourage people to connect with you and make it easy for people to find you.
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Amanda: Yeah, that’s very important, and to make sure that that is really consistent across all your platforms. You might have upgraded it, updated it on your Facebook and something else, but then you look on Pinterest and you’ve still got an old image instead of your current profile and stuff like that.
HollyG: Thank you. Yes, that consistency, yeah, that’s really important. The other thing that I encourage people to do during a social media audit is to identify 2 or 3 or 4 competitors and also look at what they’re doing with their social. Compare basic things like your numbers and things like that, but also look at the type of posts that seem to be getting the engagement for your competitors. Yeah, do a bit of an audit of yourself, but also in comparison to what some of your competitors are doing.
Amanda: Yeah, absolutely, that’s a really important thing. Of course, Facebook has that page that you could follow, a section in their Insights, which I always like to use to prove that my clients are doing better than their bigger competitors, so, when you can compare the engagement across some different size of fan bases and stuff.
HollyG: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Oh, yeah, and the other sort of question that I asked, that I sort of encourage people to answer when they’re doing an audit is, “Why would people engage with this page?” Try to take a step back and be really objective, your own Facebook [inaudible 00:12:23] different pages, yourself as a person so you think why would people engage with this page? Is what I’m posting engaging enough?
Amanda: Yeah, that’s so important, and especially with the small business, sometimes, they can skew their content much too promotionally, so they feel like nearly all the time they’re putting something about, “We got this tour on next week,” or, “This event is coming up,” and it’s all promotional and they forget that it’s okay to talk about other things. I mean, that’s where the demographics of who your audience is coming to play again, but, knowing who they are, then it’s okay … not okay, it’s essential to also be providing interesting content that they want to engage with that’s not promotional.
HollyG: Yeah. Yeah, that’s right, and then also, too, other things around the time that you’re doing a social media audit, have a look and see if you need to update your passwords.
Amanda: Oh, good idea, I actually do remind people of that. That’s a really smart thing to say.
HollyG: Also, who has got admin access to your pages? Do they still need to have that admin access? I think of all the pages I’ve still got admin access to with clients that I don’t work with anymore. I think they really need to update that, so definitely looking at your passwords and your admin access, for sure.
Amanda: Yes, that’s a really good point. Just sort of one more thing that my clients often fail to follow through on, and it’s … if you’re thinking about what your social media is doing as well as us engaging and being there on an everyday kind of basis, but also, of course, you’re probably driving traffic somewhere, so to your website or blog, and it’s so important to be able to have a look at your statistics in your Google Analytics or something to see how effective you’ve been with your social media and you’re actually getting people to take those actions, whether it’s to rate content on your website or to buy tickets or make bookings through your website.
I’m always a little bit concerned, let’s say, when I’ve got a client and they’ll have a pretty good website, but, very often, they have never ever looked at Google Analytics. Often, they’ll have it installed. They basically heard of it, but they never looked at it and will have a look and will say, “Oh, my goodness, look, you’re getting all this traffic from Pinterest. You didn’t even know.” It’s really important to measure those parts as well.
HollyG: You mentioned Google Analytics. If you listened to past episodes, I will always wrap it on about that and say how amazing and important it is and everyone needs to get their head around it, even the basics.
HollyG: What are some other tools that can be helpful when we’re doing an audit?
Amanda: I don’t use too many of the other tools because my clients are always really small and they’re not in the market for sort of those other paid analytics tools, but are obviously for different platforms. If it’s a big component of your social strategy, then you need like a tool for measuring like Instagram analytics and stuff like that, like Iconosquare or something, but, most of the time, my clients make do with just the Insights from Facebook and Google Analytics.
HollyG: Yeah, we’re lucky there. There is a tool that I do like to use from time to time, and it’s called LikeAlyzer.com. What you can do is you just type your Facebook URL in there, and it feeds you back some analysis of your Facebook page.
It’s just sort of basic stuff, but you can do that for yourself, for your Facebook page, but you can also do it for anybody else.
HollyG: You can look at some competitors, and it’ll just give you a few sort of tips about maybe some of the things that you could be doing a little bit better. Like it could say, “Oh, you, you’re only posting, um, uh, link posts. Maybe think about posting some, um, images,” or, “Look, your posts may be a little bit long. Maybe try to do some that are a little bit shorter.”
HollyG: Yeah, that sort of thing, so LikeAlyzer, and that’s just, yeah, free, too. That can be … Just to give you a little bit of a head start when looking at some of your Facebook’s data and things like that.
Amanda: That sounds really useful and easy for anyone to use then.
HollyG: Yes. Yes, super easy for anyone to use. Once you’ve gone through the process of, say, looking at what your competitors are doing, checking your branding, looking at what posts are working for you, looking at some of your data and statistics, coming back and looking at the demographics, I guess, what is sort of the outcome or the next steps you want to do once you’ve conducted a bit of an audit?
Amanda: What I always do with my clients is to work on their strategy for social media because, if they’ve come to me for an audit, the chances are they’ve actually never really sat down and had much of a think about their objects even and, definitely, not their strategy for social media going forward, so, as the results of the audit, usually, it’s fairly easy to see what should be done to hopefully increase its effectiveness or at least what should be tried out, and so, then, the strategy will be, can be a fairly simple thing with stuff like the number of posts, the kind, the content of the posts, the timing of the posts.
I’m talking often with them about using [scheduling 00:18:16] tools like even just using scheduling your Facebook or using Hootsuite for Twitter and stuff like that so that they are more effective in their use of social media and also setting some goals for their metrics, for their measurable for the next … I usually get them to set goals for the next 6 months or so, develop, yeah, basically, an overall strategy of “this is what we want our social media platforms to do and this is how we’re going to do it, and we’re going to try it this way and then measure it as we go and tweak it if we need.”
Sometimes, it’s also, okay, we’re actually going to ditch X, Y, Z social media platform because they’ve often started up in 6 or 7 different platform and it’s impossible for them to do all of them well. It might not even be necessary. Their audience might not be there or whatever, so, sometimes, it’s consolidating their social media and then moving forward from there with a good strategy.
HollyG: Yeah, that’s right. It could be just identifying the couple of channels that they should really focus or put more energy or focus on and get traction on those. I think that would …
HollyG: … itself would be a great outcome, so I guess it’s looking at what’s working and what you can do more of and maybe what needs improving or changing, and, I guess, if you come to those decision or outcomes, then spending a few hours doing a social media audit would be worth it.
Amanda: Absolutely, because I might be suggesting to them that they completely drop Twitter, and they’ve been spending 3 or 4 hours a week on it and then, in their case, it’s not going to be very effective compared to other platforms that they prefer, and, there you go, so you’ve saved heaps of time.
HollyG: Yeah. Yeah, I think that’s a really good point. Is there any other tips or things that you want to mention around conducting a social media audit?
Amanda: Not so much. The only other thing that just springs to mind is that I also always get them to think about what social media platforms they personally use for themselves and that they like using. I think, sometimes, they feel under pressure to do X, Y, Z social media platform because someone told them it should work, and they really hate it. I think, as a small business, it’s going to be really hard to have an effective social media strategy using something you don’t enjoy. I think that’s another thing to take into consideration. It’s a big world out there. There’s lots of people on lots of platforms, and you don’t have to be on all of them, so make your job a little bit easier by finding the ones that … where your audience is and that you can enjoy using.
HollyG: I totally agree. I talk about that when people ask how do I choose which ones to be on. Obviously, you want to decide or you want to work out where your audience is hanging out and a few other elements, but, definitely, a consideration should be “what social platforms do you enjoy” because, if you don’t, as you say, if you don’t enjoy it, then it’s definitely harder to get that traction.
Amanda: Yeah, absolutely, and it’s just hard work to do it. If you really feel that you’re doing it really begrudgingly and you don’t really love it all, then it’s going to take more time to do, you’re going to procrastinate about it, and it’s just not going to be an effective strategy.
HollyG: Yeah. Great to talk to you about this topic. Where can people connect with you or find out a little bit more information about you?
Amanda: There’s a few places, but, briefly, you can find me at Notaballerina.com, it’s my travel blog, or you can find me at Amandakendle.com and, since you’re already listening to our Podcast, you might want to listen to the Thoughtful Travel Podcast.
HollyG: Excellent. Now, are you up for the bonus question?
Amanda: Oh, yes, I think so, as long as it’s not too tricky.
Now it’s time for our $1000 bonus question!
HollyG: I ask all my guests the same question, and, that is, if you only had a $1,000 marketing budget, what would you spend it on?
Amanda: $1,000? It doesn’t sound like much, but I think, for a small business, you could probably get a few things done, but … and this wouldn’t apply to everyone, but the thing that springs to mind for me, because I see it a lot in my clients, is just to get themselves a decent basic WordPress-based website. A lot of my clients will, have like especially small, small business, will have built like a week’s website or something free. It’s perhaps not very beautiful. It’s definitely not very functional and there’s definitely no blogging capacity in there. I know that my clients often do go off and manage to get a decent WordPress site for under $1,000 just, but … and I think that then they’ve got the SEO advantage so that they’re going to turn up more often in search. They can blog because, I mean, I’m a blogger going back over a decade, so I’m always advocating blogging. It’s a great way to get people to your website, and blog is a great content to put in to your social media. That is how I would suggest they spend their $1,000.
HollyG: Yeah. Great. What if they only had $100.
Amanda: Yes. That’s really not much at all, but I think that, probably, you can really wisely spend a $100 on Facebook advertising, because facebook advertising can be super effective and it can be done on such a budget, so, if you’ve got something important that you need to spread to the wider community in Facebook advertising, I love the way that you can be so, so targeted with who your ad gets shown to, and it can be $5 a day. I always tell people to try a couple of different ads and turn them both on and see how they work and compare which one is working better and turn the other one off. A $100 can go a reasonable distance to promote your business.
HollyG: Yeah. I’m a big fan of Facebook Ads also, and so I think that, if you only had $100 and did have something that you needed to fill or a specific event to promote or something like that, then I think Facebook Ads can be a fantastic option.
Amanda: Yes, and, always, I need to remind my clients not to just hit boost post, but to use the ad manager or something instead of just hitting boost post.
HollyG: Yes. That is a whole another topic.
Amanda: It is. it is, but just to get it out there.
Tweet me with any comments or feedback @hollygalbraith or email is good too holly (at) hollyg.com.au
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