Is it time for a social media check-up?

Take a few minutes out of your week to sit back and take stock of your social media work.


We’re more than halfway through 2012. Just a few short years ago, many of us were trying to convince brands to invest more money and resources into social media. No more. Today, many brands are involved in some way on social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and others.

But, are they making the best use of their time and energy with their social media work?

Since many brands jumped aboard in the 2009-2011 timeframe, they’ve been at things for a couple years now. And, they’ve learned a lot. Plus, a lot has changed since 2009. New platforms have emerged (Pinterest). Other platforms have changed significantly (Facebook). And yet others have come and gone.

So, these brands have been plugging away for a couple years now. Much has changed in terms of platforms and best practices. My question: How’s your brand doing?

The answer for many brands right now, I’m guessing, is: I’m not sure.

So, why not conduct a social media check-up? Or, really, a straight-forward social media audit.

What am I talking about? If you’ve been steadily working along, but not checking back to see if/how your approaches are working—or what your competitors are up to—here’s what I’d suggest:

How to take stock of your current social media work:

Facebook

* Are you using visuals consistently? According to recent surveys, visuals are resonating with fans more and more. And the brands that are taking advantage are winning—big time.

* Do you know the requirements around visuals for Facebook? If not, make sure to bookmark this post. And check back frequently as the rules change fast.

* Are you playing by the rules of Facebook’s Terms of Service? Do you know the rules?

Twitter

* Have you checked your Twitter stats lately? You can see a lot from a simple check on TweetStats.

* How many times a day are you posting? What times of day are working best?

* How many retweets do you get a day? What’s resonating with your followers?

* Who are the folks that are interacting with you most? (another nugget you can learn from TweetStats)

* Have you updated your Twitter page with the new header feature? Here are a few brand examples.

Blog

* Where is your blog referral traffic coming from each month? Twitter? Facebook? Pinterest? Other sites?

* Which posts got the most clicks in the last month? Six months? Year? What can you learn from that? Any trends?

* What keywords are people searching for to get to your blog? Can you capitalize on any that you didn’t expect? Do the keywords reflect those you’re trying to rank for?

* How long do people stay on your blog? How many pages do they read during each visit? What does that tell you?

Other

* Are you active on other social platforms? Is your approach working? Is it worth the effort/resources you’re putting into it?

* Do you use resources across different platforms? For example, if you’re active on Instagram, do you promote that on Facebook and Twitter and share those images on Facebook where they’ll really pop (with the right headline, of course)?

* Have you explored new platforms that have popped up in the last couple years to see if they’d be a good fit for your brand (i.e., Pinterest, Instagram, Google+)?

What are your competitors up to?

What platforms are they active on?

How many fans/followers do they have on those platforms?

What kinds of things are they sharing?

What’s working for them—and what’s not?

Tip: Consider a simple graphic that shows their accounts in fans/followers vs. yours. It will give you a nice, quick recap of where things are. This is a great tool to use with senior management.

What opportunities do you see as a result?

After looking at what you’re doing a bit more closely (and keep in mind, this post doesn’t cover all the questions to ask), and peeking at what your competitors are up to, what opportunities do you see?

Continuous learning is what social media is all about from a brand perspective. You have the tools at your disposal to track your progress (Facebook Insights, Google Analytics, TweetStats, etc.). Now it’s just a matter of checking in every month/quarter to make sure what you’re doing is working-and tweak the strategies and tactics that aren’t.

Arik Hanson is principal of ACH Communications and blogs at Communications Conversations where a version of this article first appeared.

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