It’s 2:00 a.m. I am tossing and turning in my bed, mumbling incoherently about “Groups” and “Engagement” and “blog frequency.” My husband is used to my restlessness and simply rolls over.
The cause of my anxiety? I’m in the middle of a B2B social media audit. Again.
As a digital PR agency, social media audits are part of the daily routine of our firm. So what’s keeping me up at night?
Audits are messy affairs. If you want to do them right, you are going to spend a lot of time going down rabbit holes. For example, you may find your best piece of intelligence when you follow the client’s “keyword” to a new “LinkedIn group” that identifies the “emerging influencer.” These are tremendously time consuming projects.
But it’s getting better, thanks to a checklist that ensures our team is approaching the research in a consistent manner. Here are the basics, plus advanced suggestions if you have the time – and the budget:
- Codify presence on major social networks: LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, flickr
- By the Numbers: Twitter lists to update frequency to number of Groups
- Marketing Posture: News-blaster or marketing savant or timid starter?
- Quality of content: Use 1-5 ranking system with clear categories
- Skin in the game: How long have they been experimenting? How much attention and investment have been given?
- Grapevine: Classify existing social commentary about the client
- Select Competitors: Agree on 2 peers and 2 aspirational institutions, run through entire “Basics” section
- Use monitoring tool to find smaller or emerging communities: But do not think your tool can do the analysis for you. Don’t be lazy – this is where you actually get to stretch your brain.
- Prioritize keyword searches: Don’t just rely on what your client’s phrases, research the terms that keep coming up in audience conversations and search queries. Have you stress-tested what topics do not come up?
- Find Influencers: Who are the people that already have attention and traffic in this space? How did they build presence?
- Distill audience conversation themes
- Must have a “needs” POV – don’t just report on topics
- Compare blogs: Client vs. competitors vs. influencers vs. niche news
- Tie discoveries to traditional B2B thought leadership program themes, media relations strategies and future goals
- Create audience personas to guide future content development
- Determine Delicious bookmarkers who are interested in your client’s content
- Evaluate if crowdsourced content offers additional clues
- Jump into every blog on influencer blog rolls: who stands out? Why?
- Chase who is influencing your influencers: What are the meta trends that impact your client?
- What are the demographic trends that emerged? Supplement your insights with supportive data on male/female, age, geography, etc.
- Build profile for most frequent commenters: They may not be influencers – yet. But they are often the “folks to watch.” What topics excite them? What moves them to action?
- Identify “wows:” In every single audit I’ve ever done, I’ve “accidentally” found a piece of intelligence that was extraordinarily meaningful to my client. But you make your own luck by being diligent and persistent. If you want a wow, keep digging several more layers than you want to.
- Force deductions as you research: you may be only part of a team that’s completing the research, but if you keep each individual’s goals in mind, you are almost sure to find data that helps the entire team.
Are you spending a lot of time on your social media audits? Do you have any time savers that you can share? How would you add to our checklist?
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