If you are serious about your social marketing program, you are likely focused on executing across a number of social platforms. I am of the mind that ideas are a dime a dozen and execution is key to success - that is, if our ideas are right to begin with. This is why I always advise our clients to take a breather and check in on their progress in the social realm at least twice every year. Social media platforms change at an unprecedented rate and programs and plan we put in place just a few months can quickly grow outdated. To add to that, we are often biased by our choices, and sometimes are too close to our programs to know if we are doing the best we can. This is why the team at Awareness created How to Objectively Audit Your Social Marketing Efforts white paper. We hope you will use our suggested objective methodology to assess your progress and identify new ways to optimize your social marketing efforts.
An objective audit of your social marketing program will help you answer these key questions:
- How well are we doing with social marketing?
- How do we compare to our competition?
- What can our social marketing teams do better?
Start with some objective analysis of your Social Reach along with an analysis of the likelihood that your products or brands are or will be discussed in the social realm in the future. You will learn that Social Reach is the estimated number of potential and existing customers you can reach via your presence on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Your reach is an important first baseline - you are as big as the number of people you can reach and touch (for a deeper conversation on how to grow your Social Reach, download our The Social Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing eBook).
Proceed by analyzing the volume and types of digital conversations surrounding your category and products. You will likely find that new entrants are vying for your customers' and prospects' attention. Understand who they are, where they are investing and what they are talking about. This will help you assess if you have sufficient resources and focus to participate and dominate these conversations.
Remember - keywords are the new digital currency. Create a list of top strategic keywords you want to own and see how well you rank for them with the top search engines. You have to be good at connecting with your prospects and customers - wherever they are, however they search for your solutions. Our proposed step three - the SEO Healthcheck, helps you better understand your rankings and keyword authority. You will learn that to succeed with search engines, you need to use landing pages - our research shows that best-in-class companies across all sectors are using landing pages to get to the users who have a clear idea of what they need.
Equipped with this data, you can build your own Social Marketing Effectiveness Dashboard. This dashboard becomes your benchmark against your peers and against your own progress. Updating it at least twice a year will help you stay focused, nimble and relevant. It will also help you identify untapped opportunities for traction and growth. To bring this objective assessment to life, we connected with our friends at Percussion Software, who kindly agreed to be our featured company example. Percussion Software provides Web Content Management (WCM) software that helps businesses increase traffic, drive conversion and improve social interaction. The company recently invested in a new marketing team, who will use the provided objective assessment as a baseline to measure their improvements and create a targeted approach to social media and SEO practices. Special thanks to our social marketing agency, Scratch Marketing + Media, who helped with the analysis for this paper.
If you would like to review other resources on the same subject, I recommend SMO vs. Engagement: Why They're Different and How You Can Rock Both by Mashable's Community Manager Meghan Peters. You will learn the difference between social media optimization (SMO) and engagement. I also recommend the 6 Components of a Successful Digital Marketing Audit by Mark Smiciklas published on Social Media Explorer earlier this year.
Curious to hear from my peers. How do you keep your social marketing program focused? Do you run health checks of your social and SEO programs and how often? What methods and tools do you use? Let's continue the discussion on this blog, on Twitter, Facebook at Social Media Marketing Best Practices and in our LinkedIn Social Media Marketing Mavens Group.