Successful content marketing plans simply cannot discount social media. It’s become a pervasive element in the lives of almost every demographic group today, particularly that coveted 18-34 age bracket. A full 25 percent of web search results now link back to social media posts.

Effectively adding social media into a broad-based content strategy means knowing what works for a particular business, industry and social media platform. The next step involves integrating that strategy with other efforts such as blogging, email marketing and ads or adopting a new content strategy altogether.

This all starts with a social media audit, which asks brands to look at their individual social media channels as if they’re the consumer, analyzing which posts, channels and content types most resonate and increase positive brand awareness. Done well, this basic overview of a business’ social media sites and activities serves as a springboard for a larger content strategy.

A social media audit doesn’t need to be complicated. After extracting data using any number of social auditing tools such as TrueSocialMetrics, Buffer or Keyhole, there are just a few basics you need to identify to get a picture of what’s happening. Based on the “5 W’s” of journalism and adapted from Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution by Keith A. Queensbury, this simple auditing strategy easily identifies opportunities for social growth.

Pay attention to the type of content your followers are sharing most frequently to get a better handle on what you should post.

Who

Begin by classifying data according to who’s talking. Ask:

  • Is it consumers, competitors or you driving the conversation?

What

Review what types of content you share across all channels and rate it in terms of tone and success. Ask:

  • Are blogs more popular than memes? Do direct status updates and comments dominate the conversation?
  • Is the tone positive, negative or neutral?

When

Again, looking at all channels, figure out when the most engagement takes place. Ask:

  • When are the most shares, comments and views taking place?
  • Is there a time, day or month when engagement ticks up or down?

Where

Now, classify data according to which social platforms are most and least effective. Follow the same three steps above for each social outlet to get a more precise picture of engagement in that medium.

Why

Once all the data is analyzed, classify the purpose your overall message. Are you being primarily promotional and trying to build brand awareness, or are you seeking engagement on a more human level, focusing on commenting and general praise?

Identify Challenges and Opportunities

Determine which areas present the biggest challenge in terms of delivering your brand message and meeting marketing and engagement goals. Consider whether these issues can easily and cost-effectively be addressed. Use these final analyses to identify areas where you brand excels or engagement is easy and natural.

Review Findings

Use a rating system for each channel or type of content. This creates an easy-to-review audit that clearly identifies which areas should receive more focus and which may be best to step away from to focus on broader content strategies.

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