3 Steps to a Successful Social Media Audit

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Strategist Lauren Teague breaks down what happens in a social media audit and her tips for improving your social media marketing strategy.

Full Episode Details

tdtm-lauren-teague-episode-artWelcome back to Talk Digital to Me, where we’re joined today by Convince & Convert Strategist Lauren Teague!

Lauren specializes in social strategy, which includes performing social audits for Convince & Convert’s clients and helping brands make social media work for them. In today’s episode, you’ll learn what happens in a social media audit, what many brands miss in their social media strategy, tips for setting the right goals for your social media marketing, and Lauren’s favorite tools social media management tools.

Ready for a closer look at how your social strategy measures up? Watch the video to hear more from social master, Lauren!

Kate: Hey there. Welcome to another episode of Talk Digital to Me, conversations about marketing and customer service from the pros at Convince & Convert. I am Kate Volman and during each episode I have the pleasure of interviewing one of the team members at Convince & Convert. And today I am joined by Lauren Teague. She is a strategist over there. And the topic today is “Three Steps to a Successful Social Media Audit.” Lauren, this is such a fun topic.

Lauren: Yes. This is actually something that we do all the time here at Convince & Convert. So I’m so excited to share some of our recipes with the crowd.

Kate: Awesome. Well, before we dive into our topic, why don’t you share with everybody what you do over at Convince & Convert?

Lauren: Okay. So yeah, my name is Lauren Teague and I have been a strategist and consultant for Convince & Convert for just over a year and a half. Previously I was at the PGA Tour for seven seasons and built and led their social department and how the PGA Tour, the golf landscape, players, tournaments, etc., helped them all get started on social media and then was able to transition that into a successful consulting career with Jay and the team here at C&C.

So as part of the consultant team, I do social strategy. I take the lead on several of the social audits that we conduct with our clients. And also as it ties in, content marketing, influencer marketing, team building and also do a lot of workshops and speaking on those topics and really just trying to coach and help people figure out how to make social work for them and how to add value in the space.

Kate: Awesome. So like you said, you guys do this all the time. You’re conducting audits with all the different brands and social media strategies. So what is the biggest mistake that you see most companies make when you actually do an audit for them?

Lauren: Well, actually it’s not really a mistake, but I see big misses. Does that make sense?

Kate: Yeah.

Lauren: So there are going to be mistakes. Everybody is still kind of learning and playing in this space. But at the same time, we’ve matured to the point where people kind of get set in their ways.

One miss I see is when a social team or a digital lead, they’re getting buried in that day to day because they’re so ingrained in what they’re doing, the content they have to produce, their editorial calendar and what not. They tend not to step back and look at the landscape. What’s happening around them? What are their fans saying? What are their competitors doing? What is that social space doing and changing?

I’m here at Social Fresh, which is a conference held annual in Florida and we spent the first 20 minutes today of the conference going back through what’s changed in the last year. It’s incredible. Every single platform has emerged with new functions and features. They’re changing things all the time. I’ve already heard today, “I’ve figured out one thing and now something else changes and I have to go back and figure that out.”

So many social media managers and day to day practitioners are so caught up in that that they’re really not looking back at what everybody’s doing and that’s really where you get the inspiration to innovate and drive success in new ways. So that’s actually what we do at C&C is we can drop in and really help bring that big picture back into focus. We create a strategic vision with our clients. We’re advisors and we’re coaches.

So we can help build strategy and then break it into these manageable chunks and these road maps that for 30 days this is what you can focus on and for 60 days this is where you’re going to get to and in 90 days, here’s how you can start moving forward and what does that look like for the rest of the year. That’s really where we’re able to help plug that miss or fill that gap where people just aren’t able to look forward as much as they would like because they still have to manage the day to day.

Kate: Right. That makes sense. I think it’s so . . .what I love about the work that you do for companies is that you’re able to go in and because they’re so in it, having a third-party perspective, you see things immediately that it would take them forever or not at all to see because they’re just to in it. So that’s the benefit of having somebody, that third-party person come in and look at that strategy.

Lauren: Right.

Kate: So let’s dive in because you have a really cool three-step process that you want to share for anyone that is going to audit their social media because you and I had the conversation the other day just around the idea that there are the little tweaks that can be made, but you have to figure out what they are and the only way to do that is by going by some type of audit and seeing what you’re already doing. So what does that process look like?

Lauren: Okay. So as we were talking about this and I was thinking about it, I was like, “Wow, it would be really cute if I could get it to like three R-words” or whatever. And I didn’t. So there’s nothing necessarily cute about it, maybe if we continue to refine it. But I’ll tell you what, this is what works. This is what we actually do at C&C. This is that recipe that we use. So it might not be cute, but it’s tasty, okay?

Kate: I like it.

Lauren: So the first step is, we always go in with a client and do what we call the brand anthropology and it’s really a review. It’s that ability to step back and look at what’s really happening. It reintroduces you back to your business if you’re doing your own social media audit.

It takes you out of that day to day and it takes you out of just what your team needs are and what your goals are, but it gets you back into looking at it from the overall business perspective, what are we really trying to do? How are we really trying to be different? How do we need to show ROI? What’s our bottom line here?

To do that you need to interview several business units. So go talk to people who touch social. Don’t go talk to people who don’t touch social because that’s really the best way to get people on your side, upper management or other teams to say, “Our social program or our content marketing program is really here to benefit the whole business, but we can help you unless you understand us and we understand what you need.”

So interview several business units, determine how your programs currently work, not how you would like to see them work or how you tell people they work, but how do they really work.

And then start to really identify those gaps and where that is. So it could be a gap in process, a gap in results. It could just be a gap in that what we want to be and who we are now. Internally it’s helpful to identify goals for your social programs and what you want to learn ahead of time from the audit process because that helps drive the road map. As you go through the findings hopefully you’ll find a lot of things and sometimes that’s hard then to narrow into, how does this get back to what our goals are.

So help identify those first in that anthropology stage and that will help drive and shape the narrative of your audit and in the results in what you bring out of that. Otherwise like I said, you get lost in that data and you’ll focus on little things instead of finding that key strategic idea and objective.

Kate: When you say talk to the different units, are you talking about different departments in the companies, so bringing those people together and having a session about it or individually, everybody’s get to the brought to the table at once?

Lauren: Well, it just depends on how your organization really works. So if you have weekly sessions with your overall digital team, then that’s the right time to bring that up. If you are trying to introduce, “We’re social. We do good things,” you kind of want to bring that up to the whole company.

Then you talk about doing a lunch and learn that’s more explaining how social works, where your successes are, where your goals are and what’s new in this space because if the people who are in it every day have to keep up with the changes, then the people who aren’t in it at all don’t understand where social can drive the business forward and what results you can have and where it benefits everybody.

So they might just use that as an open air to ask you questions and to give you ideas about how you can better use social going forward. That’s the anthropology step. It’s reintroducing yourself to the business as a whole and not just your team.

Kate: Got it. Okay. Awesome.

Lauren: So that’s step one. So that can take one week. It can take one month, hopefully not any longer than that because that’s only the first part of the audit, but it’s really, really important. That’s really where your research and your goals are based. Then once you have that set, number two, then you need to dive into the data. This is all about research. It’s really researching what you’re currently doing, but also what your competitors are doing, what the industry is doing, different industries have different trends in how they’re using content.

If you’re a regulated industry, that’s much different. If you’re a media company or an entertainment industry, that’s much different in how those brands use social channels. It’s all about research. It’s looking at your competitors and then analyzing their content and their performance, analyzing your own content and performance, evaluating both your organic and your paid content programs and what those results are.

And then even looking at do we have attribution modeling? How are we measuring results? How are we bringing this back to the bottom line? Those are all different things that you want to look at while you’re in this social audit phase to really identify and say, “Here’s what we’re missing. Here’s what we’re doing well. Here’s where our competitors are doing well and here are those opportunities for us going forward.”

Kate: So talk about tracking and the goals that people are having that people set around their social media. What are some examples of things that they should be measuring, that they should be looking for? Because I think that’s a really big conversation, especially in some of these bigger companies that are looking for their social media managers to prove the ROI of social and now it can be easier to do that with all the tracking methods. So what are some of those things that we should be tracking and measuring?

Lauren: A while ago it was all about how many followers you have. And then it became how many followers are you reaching because of the decline in organic reach and how many are you reaching. And now it’s almost to a point of like quality of followers. So are the people that you’re reaching the right people and if so, that’s a good thing.

Now a lot of people are focused on engagement. Are we really hitting people with the right content and are they in return engaging with our content? Are they replying to us? Are they clicking on things?

So you can actually measure engagement in four standard ways. You can measure it in applause, which is likes and plus ones and hearts and things. And you can measure it in conversations to find comments and feedback.

Sometimes depending on the goals of your social program, maybe it’s driving conversation, something you can take and measure, especially if you’re more service-oriented or that’s the purpose of your social channels.

You can also use social and measure engagement in amplification. So that’s how many retweets are you getting? How many shares are you getting? Is your content going viral? That’s all amplification. Sometimes that’s the goal of a campaign or a company. That’s totally fine.

Then the fourth one which we don’t talk about because it’s harder to measure because the social channels don’t give us one specific measurement but it’s your business metric. It’s the thing that really helps drive our business forward or drives our bottom line of our business. Sometimes that’s leads in the funnel. Whether we’ve got new email subscribers or we’re getting names somehow. We’re adding to our retargeting list, we’re putting people in the funnel. If that’s your conversion metric, great.

At the PGA Tour, a lot of our content went back to PGATour.com, which is a monetizable business. As a media brand, we were selling ads for things like video pre-roll and banner ads and content sponsorships. So the more traffic that I could drive from social into PGATour.com or specific content or videos, there was an end return. We could actually track that referral traffic and compare that to other things. So that was a money metric for us, clicks.

But it’s different for everyone. Again, it goes back to setting those goals and not just the goals of your digital team, but in the goals of your business, how are you making money and how can you show that through social media.

Kate: Awesome. I love that, especially in that first stage, being able to identify what those metrics are, goals are for the sales team and then figuring out, how do you use social media to help the sales team with those particular goals, whatever that may look like. I think because there’s that big gap, there’s a lot of opportunity there.
Awesome. So what’s step three?

Lauren: Number three, create a road map with checkpoints. So once you’ve gone through your anthro stage, you’ve gone through your research and you’ve identified where successes are and where your opportunities are, then you create this road map and you put checkpoints in. So as you pull all this info together, you have to create this narrative that ties together the evolution of your business and the current strategy and those gaps. And then you have to tell that story of what your competitors are doing because you have to show how you’re going to respond to that.

You have to show how it’s best to reach and engage your audience so that you can meet your business goals. That’s one thing that we talk a lot about as we’re conducting social audits and we’re going through the research phase and into this road map phase is, what is the narrative? What are the key stories we have to tell a client to get them on board with the recommendations we want them to move forward with?

So how you crack that narrative and what’s included is a really big deal. What we’ve found is we are really, really good at producing ginormous deliverables. So we could have a PowerPoint that is 300 slides, no problem, for a social audit. So that’s really, really hard to comprehend and go through with a client in two or three hours or even in a whole day.

We’ve retooled that focus of like what is really that narrative, what really has to be in there and how are we presenting things back to the client. So is it a presentation deck that’s more appropriate for the high level people we initially deliver to?

And then we might have a session with the social team or the ads team or whoever’s in charge of customer service and say, “Look, we found like eight things that would be really effective for you to do now,” but your boss doesn’t necessarily need to know that for the long term, it’s just things you can put into play.

So it’s really point out that main narrative and then putting in the pieces you can help and that’s how that road map builds. What’s achievable right now? What do we need a little buy in on? Do we need work orders or whatever it is? Where are we trying to get to in that 30, 60, 90 days and then what does the rest of the year look like? Hopefully that shakes us up for planning for next year.

Kate: Let’s talk a little bit about the timeframe of stuff, especially because like you mentioned in the beginning, there are so many new platforms that come up, there’s change, the way that you can use them is different. So when setting these goals in this road map, how far along should you actually set them? Obviously we have to be very flexible when things come up, but how far along should these goals be set?

Lauren: Well, I think your strategy shouldn’t be channel dependent as much as it should still really focus on your business and what drives your business forward and how you’re engaging with your audience and the voice and the engagement and the service you’re trying to provide through social media.

So having a strategy that covers a year or further is okay because that’s where those 30 days . . . in those 30 days, we’re going to clean up our Facebook ads. In 60 days, we’re going to talk to someone about optimizing our Facebook ads. And in 90 days, we’re going to test so that next year we have a better idea of what our 2017 budgets for paid look like. So that’s how you can kind of apply that strategy in very short-term but looking long-term.

Kate: And when it comes to setting goals and setting expectations for these goals, I know obviously we all want to generate lots of traffic and lots of leads and all that when it comes to social media. But how can we be realistic when we are looking at the audit and then setting where we want to go, creating expectations that we can actually achieve?

Lauren: Right. I think that’s why it’s so important to get the business perspective in that first step of bringing it back to what is the business trying to do. If you’re in the business of selling deodorant or shirts or socks, then ultimately your social program has to tie into that at some level. Now, you can be caused based or service based or whatever on social media, but at the end of the day your business makes money by selling socks or what have you. So I think by tying your overall goals, starting with what the business needs are and then creatively coming back and saying we can achieve this in multiple ways and with multiple story lines and how are we different from our competitors or from other people in social media that allows our fans to engage with us, our audience or our customers and make them better customers, having kind of that business perspective first and not just, “Hey, this is fun,” or, “Oh, we’re just going to try this,” and there’s not a lot of measurement behind it at this point. Those days are kind of over.

So we really still have to be aligning those goals with what drives that business forward because social media is not free anymore. Most people don’t have teams of one and one intern. Most people have a paid budget to go along with their organic content. So when you have real dollars and real people invested, social media needs to grow up and show that they can contribute to the business.

Kate: So what tools do you recommend for people to put in place to measure results and be more effective with their social media efforts?

Lauren: How much time do we have? I’m a tool junkie.

Kate: Are you? I love it. That’s awesome.

Lauren: I keep begging Jay to put me on Marketing Marvels, where he just gets to demo tools for like 45 minutes at a time.

Kate: Oh, yes. For sure.

Lauren: I’m like, “If you ever need a cohost or a sub, put me in.”

Kate: Put me in, coach. I love that.

Lauren: So tools, tools that I recommend, tools that we use. For publishing, we really like Sprout Social and Hootsuite are really great tools that can be accessible on any level. So if you’re a one-man shop or enterprise, then you can really use both of those tools. Buffer is a great light scheduling tool because it works with a lot of different platforms and supports them.

And obviously native apps, I think, also are great for publishing because you can have the most functionality in things if you’re publishing native. That’s one that people kind of forget about when they subscribe to using Hootsuite or Sprout Social, but the native apps and the apps on the phones, you can do great things with that.

I come from a land where we created a lot of content on the move and on the go and so I didn’t have the luxury of dialing up my social media management platform on my laptop if I was out in the field and trying to post content. I got really good at posting from my phone, so those native apps are really, really useful for that.

Kate: Cool. Yeah. Everyone gets so excited about apps.

Lauren: It’s true. But I can do almost everything on my phone that I can do on my computer. It’s just more convenient sometimes to do it on my computer and on the other hand it’s more convenient sometimes to do it on my phone. The best tools, some of them start mobile first and the other ones get better from going to desktop to mobile. So Canva is an example of that. Canva was a desktop creative client or tool so that you could go in and create good looking graphics and ads and business cards. I created my business cards on Canva. But they just . . .

Kate: Did you really?

Lauren: Oh yeah. I’ve got one somewhere. I’ll find it. But now they have a mobile app, which is great because people don’t have to be tied to the computer to use it. Other creative tools I like, Unsplash Photos is great for non-stock images. Unsplash is really, really great and I use their resource first when I’m looking to fill decks in speaking presentations with interesting and beautiful imagery.

For listening I’ve been using Zignal Labs a lot. They’re a good friend of Convince & Convert and really great for social listening. They’ve got great hooks into the social platforms and they’re innovative in what they’re displaying. So Zignal Labs is great. For display, I like Postano or Tagboard. Both have great display capabilities, whether you’re an event or retail or you just host a Twitter chat and you’re trying to get content streams. Those are great ones.

Sprinklr is probably the best for having so much functionality for just a giant social media management. Very few companies in the world really need that robust experience, but Sprinklr does a great job by providing everything that you need. I told you. How much time do we got?

Kate: I know. I was like I’m sure you could keep going and going with all of them because they’re awesome. But that’s a great plug for Marketing Marvels because it really is a really great podcast to listen to to kind of get the scoop on all of the tools that are out there and how to use them.

Lauren: Yeah.

Kate: So do you have an example you can share of a client that you’ve worked with or are working with? You did an audit with them and there were so many aha, great little things that you were able to catch or tweaks that were made that really made a big shift in their business?

Lauren: What’s really interesting about what we do is that when we present, when we go through this whole phase and we present it, we do have those aha moments. Like I said, sometimes we carve them out and go one on one just like for individual coaching and sometimes we present them to the group. What we love to do is highlight, “Look, we know you’re busy. That’s why you hired us in the first place.”

So we can actually go through and do these step up projects or these micro projects with you and it’s a great way for us to help those recommendations in the audit continue to live. So we are able to work with clients and say, “Hey, we really want to refine your paid strategy or help you do that. Let us kind of take that.” So TaylorMade Golf is probably one of the clients that I worked closest with over the last year and a half. That was exactly that.

It was coming in and doing this giant audit and then carving out pieces and saying, “Okay, we’re going to tackle this. We’re going to tackle this project. We’re going to change the way your reporting looks. We’re going to show you guys and give you some data and some slides on your competitive analysis six months later or one year later so you can go back and show your CEOs that it’s working.” We’re helping you do social research, whatever that project is that comes out. It’s just a really great way to stay engaged with a client and really help them bring those ideas to fruition.

Being on the other side of that in corporate, I know that if I would have had this great deliverable and all these great recommendations and I was still just a team of one and a half or two, I wouldn’t have been able to bring everything to light on my own. So it’s really rewarding to be able to stick with a client and be able to bring some of those processes to life to help move them forward. You do see the difference.

Kate: Awesome. I feel like we could talk about this . . . we could forever and always because there’s so much to dive into. But before we end with your bonus round questions, do you have anything you want to share that you’re like, “I have to share this thing about social media audits”? Any last minute tips?

Lauren: Okay, if I have to make it fast. Like I said, I’ve been in that corporate role and one thing I really wanted when I was in that corporate role was someone to learn from and be able to have a resource. I think if you’re doing a social media audit, it’s easy to say, “I can do this and I can handle it and take this on my own.”

But I really think now having the consultant point of view that having that outside perspective is really valuable. So it’s not a bad thing to say we could do this and that’s fine, but it might be better for the long-term if we ask for some help and get a company like Convince & Convert to help pitch in.

The industry changes so fast and if you’re head down and creating content and managing your paid campaigns and audience engagement, you’re going to miss something new. That’s my job is to not always be on top of that. It’s Jay’s job. It’s Zontee’s job and Daniel’s job and everybody who’s been on this series, Talk Digital to Me. So we’re really here to make your life easier and make your work better. That’s something I really appreciate having been on both sides.

Kate: Awesome. Great advice. Yes. I love it. It’s so fun, especially when you talk to businesses who think, “I can’t do social media because it’s too boring or there’s no content to create.” I’m like, “No. You need to read Jay’s books. You’ll get really good . . .” I love his use of examples of all the different ways companies have figured out how to get creative and do something different with their content and have a really great plan for social media.

Well, you’re awesome, Lauren. So let’s end with your bonus round questions.

Lauren: Fire them away.

Kate: Okay. What is your marketing superpower?

Lauren: I love this question. I’m not actually a marketer and that’s probably my superpower. I have a PR and communications and a broadcasting background. So I am a communicator. I’m a storyteller and I’m a fan. I think that’s really a unique perspective when you’re dropped into a land that is traditionally marketing. I have no apologies on that. I love it.

Kate: Cool. I like that. What digital marketing trend are you most excited about?

Lauren: Probably one thing is the content workshop that I produced yesterday here at Social Fresh and we’re talking about content that moves, sings and smiles. That’s video, that’s audio, and that’s emoji.

I think those three ways are really easy ways for people to just switch out their content mix and what they’re doing and there are really inventive things, everything from 360 video and this live video technology that’s a year old, to President Obama dropping his Spotify playlist last week. And emojis and personalized emoji like Bitmoji or emoji keyboards like what we saw for Rio and what Twitter is doing in that space. Those things are really easy ways to just kind of mix up your content and just capture some new eyeballs.

Kate: Awesome. I love emojis. I’m like, I use them way too much. Okay. This one is going to be hard. This one is the hardest one. If you could only have one mobile app, what would it be?

Lauren: Personally or professionally?

Kate: Personally. No professionally. Both, do one for each.

Lauren: So professionally I’m going to say Twitter Dashboard because I get so much value out of Twitter, especially when I’m with my peers, whether it’s at a conference like this week or what not. I get so much out of Twitter but I love that they’re releasing new products that help you manage Twitter better and Dashboard is one of those products for businesses, for executives, for people who are managing multiple profiles, Dashboard is the best. They also released an app called Engage recently that’s kind of more for influencers and verified users but also really, really helpful. But probably Twitter Dashboard so I don’t lose Twitter.

Personally maybe something like Skype or Facebook because those are the ways that I communicate with my friends and my family and that’s ultimately the most important relationships that I have. The people who are nearest and dearest to my heart aren’t on Snapchat. They’re not on some of the new wave things. So I would still continue to use something like Skype or Facebook to communicate and share great moments and even great sorrows with them.

Kate: Awesome. Great answers. Well, I think you’re awesome. I am so loving your whole team over there at Convince & Convert. You really have an amazing group of very talented individuals and it was such a pleasure chatting with you about a social media audit. So thank you so much for taking the time and we will see you guys next time on Talk Digital to Me.

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