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How good are your social media marketing efforts? Whether you’re leveraging social media marketing to build your personal brand for career development or to build a business brand to increase sales and revenues, you need to take a step back and examine your social media marketing strategy and initiatives to ensure they’re truly delivering the results you need.

In other words, you need to perform social media audits on an ongoing basis. Not only does the social media landscape change quickly, but fickle audiences change even faster. Couple the ongoing changes in social media tools and audience demands with your own evolving career and business goals, and what you were doing yesterday on the social web might not work tomorrow.

Following are 10 basic steps you can follow to perform a social media audit on your personal brand or business. For simplicity, the remainder of this article will focus on business social media audits, but the principles of each step apply to any type of social media audit. While each person or business has unique goals and strategies, these basic steps can get you started in improving your social media marketing efforts by ensuring you’re focused on nailing the basics.

Analyze the Current State of Your Social Media Landscape

First, you need to analyze your existing social media marketing strategy and your existing social media presence to get a baseline of your goals and activities.

1. Review your current social media strategy and presence.

Why are you on the social web? What are your goals for investing time in social media activities? If your social media strategy isn’t already in writing, take some time to capture it in a single document, so you can analyze your efforts against that strategy.

Where is your brand on the social web? Identify all of your social media profiles and destinations and review them for brand consistency in imagery and text. Are profiles filled out completely? Are you using all of the features available to you? Be sure to include the most popular social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, as well as your blog, forum profiles, Flickr, Pinterest, and any other social site where you have a brand presence.

2. Review your competitors’ current social media strategies and presences.

You need to do the same analysis of your competitors’ social media strategies and presences that you did for yourself in #1 above. Of course, you’ll need to deduce your competitors’ strategies based on their social media activities, but you can gather all of the competitive intelligence about their social media activities simply by visiting their various social media profiles.

Analyze Your Social Media Activities

What are you doing on the social web and how are you doing it? These are the next questions you need to answer in your social media audit, and you can get the answers by analyzing your social media activities.

3. Review the type of content you’ve been publishing.

What kind of content have you been publishing and is it consistent with your social media strategy and goals? This is a question you’ll be able to answer when you’ve completed your social media audit, but first, you need to identify the type of content you’ve published. You might be surprised by the results.

4. Review your social media activities as well as your prioritization of those activities.

What social media activities do you invest the most time doing? What activities have you been prioritizing as most important? Analyze the content you’ve published and shared, conversations you’ve joined, and so on to determine if your efforts have been invested in the right places.

5. Review the frequency of your social media activities.

When do you publish content and participate in social media activities and how often do you do so? Review your frequency of publishing content, sharing content, discussing content, and so on. For example, do you publish content on your blog once a day or once a month? Is your publishing schedule consistent or sporadic?

Analyze Your Social Media Performance

Once you’ve clarified your social media strategy and goals and recorded your social media activities, you need to analyze your social media performance. By analyzing your goals against your efforts and results, you’ll be able to determine what you need to change about your social media plan going forward. That’s the prize at the end of your social media audit — a more focused social media strategy and action plan that will drive better results.

6. Review your social media integration efforts.

Are all of your social media, online, and offline marketing activities integrated? Does one lead to the next? Do all roads lead back to your core, branded online destination where consumers can learn more about your business, contact you, and make a purchase? Analyze your various profiles to ensure they integrate with to each other through links or social sharing buttons.

7. Review your popularity and reach.

Track the number of likes, shares, and page views your content gets as well as how frequently you’re mentioned across the social web. Next, identify whether or not those mentions express positive sentiments about your brand or not.

8. Review your social media engagement levels and trends.

What content that you publish drives the most engagement from your audience in terms of comments, shares, likes, and so on? Look for trends in page views, comments, shares, and other metrics. You want to make sure your site and brand are growing over time.

9. Review your social media results.

It’s essential that your social media audit includes a comprehensive results analysis. Which activities are driving the most leads, conversions, and sales? Do you see an increase in your influence, brand awareness, and reputation? You can’t identify where to invest your social media time and budget in the future if you can’t identify which activities drove the best results in the past.

10. Review your social media tools and resources.

Are the tools you’re using (including measurement tools) giving you the information you need relative to their costs? Do you have the manpower you need? There is no better time to evaluate the tools you’ve been using and the resources you have on hand than during your social media audit.

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