On the always-informative Progressive Exchange listserv, one of the members posed this question:
“Anybody have a Social Media Audit template? This question keeps coming up in my orbits, and I haven’t seen many specific recipes or templates for social media audits (or more comprehensive digital audits).”
I wanted to step up to the challenge, since a big part of my work with nonprofits is conducting and delivering social media and digital marketing audits and assessments for clients.
In this post, I’ll cover these main points to help you conduct a social media audit for you nonprofit:
- The definition of a social media audit
- Ways to set it up and where to begin
- Access to a Social Media Audit Template for you to use (and I’ll walk you through how I use it)
What is a nonprofit social media audit, and where do I start?
A nonprofit social media audit is a series of steps taken to evaluate and optimize an organization’s social media profiles and assess current strategies.
Performing a social media audit can help you ensure that you are reaching the right people on the right channels, and that your online presence is relevant, optimized, and performing effectively.
In my work with nonprofit clients, the social media audit is the starting gate for our work together. The audit is where I dig into your website, email marketing, and social media, to evaluate what’s working and to assess what could be improved.
Clients walk away with a list of detailed action items and prioritized recommendations.
How it works:
- Introductory phone call to get a handle on where the nonprofit is struggling, where they need extra help, and what they need to be reviewed in the audit.
- After this call, I spend some time diving deep into your website, email marketing, online fundraising, social media channels, and any other tools that the nonprofit wants evaluated and assessed.
- Just conducting an audit is not enough. What are you going to do with this information? After I do the deep dive, I write up a succinct and customized Action Plan with my top recommendations for improvement and a plan to get started.
Step 1: Discovery and background.
Any social media audit starts with an overview of the organization, their mission, their vision for the future, and their goals for using social media.
Questions to think through:
- Clearly articulate what you hope to accomplish by using social media for your nonprofit.
- If you could wave a magic wand, what could social media help you accomplish?
- What can social media specifically (as different from your website, email, direct mail, other tools) do for your nonprofit to help it grow?
- List out your top 3 goals:
Step 2: List out every single social media platform that you currently use to communicate about your nonprofit.
If you have multiple accounts on each platform, for example each department runs their own Facebook Page, you will need to write each of them down and audit each one.
GOALS: Look back at your goals. At a glance, is this platform getting you the results that you seek? Write down yes, no, needs improvement.
AUDIENCE: Are you attracting and engaging your desired audience through this platform? Write down yes, no, needs improvement.
After you do the inventory, what can you streamline and/or cut, based on your goals?
Right now you probably have a pretty good idea of what you can eliminate, and where there are holes or duplication.
Step 3: Audit the individual channels.
Audit each of your nonprofit social media channels for the following:
- Brand consistency. Are you using the same colors, fonts, logo, and overall aesthetic?
- Are the About sections and bios up-to-date?
- Do they feature a compelling call-to-action that isn’t just “visit our home page”?
- Can they be spiced up a bit to attract more of your ideal followers and fans?
- Are you using hashtags regularly and consistently?
- Which hashtags do you use most frequently.
- Is your brand voice consistent across channels? Are you personable, friendly, authentic, accessible?
- Are you able to continually create unique content designed for each channel? (For example, what works best on Twitter is different from what works best on Instagram)
- Are you able to curate and share relevant, interesting content from other trusted sources?
- Are you automating the majority of your posts to save time?
- Repurposing a story or a great photograph/graphic is ok, but simple cut & paste automation usually doesn’t work very well
- Are you responding to comments and questions?
- Are you actively participating in conversations, liking other posts, following others, and not just “posting and running”?
Step 4: Audit your nonprofit’s current and past content.
Social media is like anything else in our attention economy. It’s a value exchange!
Your audience gives you their time and attention, and you give them something they want to read, look at, or watch.
A good rule of thumb is the 80/20 rule for social media content. You can measure your content in this way. Is at least 80% of what you post showcasing your impact, talking about the problem that you are solving, and building community with your audience?
If you are only using social media as a one-way promotional billboard, you will fail. If you are only using it to promote your organization and your agenda, and not considering what your audience wants and needs, you will fail.
Audit your social media content by asking the following questions:
- Who is responsible for creating the content, posting it, maintaining the community, and evaluating the results?
- Have they found this process overwhelming or exhilarating? (For the most part – every day is different!)
- Have they found the community to have a mostly positive reaction or negative reaction to the content? Or just crickets?
- What kinds of content work well and get you the desired engagement?
- You will need to go into your Insights and Analytics to see detailed information on engagement, clicks, video views, and more.
- What topics work well and energize your audience?
- How are you using video?
- Live video, on demand video?
- Does video make up a significant portion of your content? (HINT: It should!)
- How many of your posts feature stories of your work – clients, beneficiaries, staff, donors, volunteers?
- Do you include a visual with each post?
- How often do you post?
- Which days and times get the most engagement and reach?
- Which platforms are performing best and how can they be augmented? (Social media advertising, more consistent content, et. al.)
Step 5: Create a report of results.
The key is to deliver the results in a manner that is not too overwhelming.
Make it very tactical and action-oriented.
When I create the audit report, I usually have about 10-12 pages of audit content and recommendations, which then gets distilled into the Executive Summary at the top of the document.
It makes it easier to review the main priorities so that the organization doesn’t get overwhelmed (more than they already are!) and they can take concrete action steps to move forward.
If you are looking for a detailed guide on how to choose specific metrics and how to create a measurement spreadsheet, read How to Measure Nonprofit Social Media Success and Document Results.
Things to keep in mind when conducting a nonprofit social media audit
When conducting a comprehensive audit, it’s important not to just look at the channels themselves, but take into account all of your existing assets, including time, talent, and treasure (budget).
You also need to understand how all the pieces fit together.
Which channel is best for which goal? Which channel works best to engage a certain demographic?
What are the trends that we need to know in the ever-changing social media landscape?
How to understand and make sense of the ever-changing landscape, demographics, preferences, behaviors. Get a copy of my 2020 Social Media Matrix to help.