Not sure how effective your social media presence is? Are you seeing the results you want from your marketing team? How do you know if your business’ social media presence is benefiting the brand or just irritating the customers whose timelines you keep cropping up on?

Social media audits are invaluable to the success of a company’s marketing strategy. It is a complete misconception that social media is a black box with intangible return on investment figures. If people are telling you this, then they do not know how to demonstrate their results, or they just don’t want to show you them!

Inevitably, there are benefits of social media which spread far beyond follower numbers, tracked clicks and impact on SEO (to name only a few) but you should attain a very good estimate of primary and secondary influence (within and beyond your social sphere, respectively).

Auditing social media effectiveness is done in two discreet ways. First is data and statistical analysis; the second is content appraisal.

There are a whole host of tools you can use to give yourself a broad picture of the influence your social media presence has and how this is contributing to specific marketing goals. Google analytics, for example, can show you how much traffic has been driven to your site through social media, how long individuals stay there and their conversion rates. Using a combination of all these insights, you can work out the return on the resources being allocated to social media management. Many of these tools can be used on any social media account, which makes competitor analysis straightforward. Indicative data on brand ‘awareness’ and ‘reputation’ can both be indicated by ‘reach’ figures as well as positive or negative mentions of the brand name (although not mentions in real life!)

Judging performance based on content production requires some knowledge of how social media marketing works. Most traditional marketers use social media as a self-promotion channel, completely negating the benefits of having a conversation tool at one’s disposal. If more than every one in five posts could be regarded, predominantly as ‘self-promotional’, they’re doing it wrong. Posts don’t have to contain ‘calls to action’ to be self-promotional. If they are not interactions or adding value to consumers without promoting the company, it is self-promotional.

As far as internal auditing goes, are your marketing team going to give themselves a bad report? It depends – they’ll certainly make the stats look promising. Get someone independent, outside of the marketing team, to do it. The outcome of your social media audit needs to be along the lines of a SWOT analysis of your social media presence with clear guideline for going forward – making the most of strengths and taking opportunities, for example. Using good social media management and an optimal content blend these goals can be worked towards.