Social Intelligence Information about the use of social media in PR

23Jan/12Off

Social Media Audits: The benefits and how to do it.

For those who work in social media and in fact many businesses, the company audit is no stranger to you. Whether it’s a new client or even a blogger you’re considering outreaching to, it is vital to understand everything you can about the subject in question.  Its history, products, markets, USP’s, the structure of the organisation, values and mission statement are all vital pieces of information. What will also put you in good stead for creating an effective strategy for your new client, is an  understanding of brand perception and the internet is the best place to look. Nowadays, all of this information is on the web and with the right tools it is easy to compile a professional and insightful audit, one that will measure online sentiment and brand perception.

The importance of an online audit may have been as imperative as now. MD of Immediate Future, Katy Howell, for the CIPR confirms, “Consumers who engage with companies using social media spend up to 30% more than consumers who don’t.” Not only do these consumers spend more but research conducted by Bain & Company shows that these consumers “are more loyal and emotionally connected than consumers who are not socially connected.” (conversation.cipr.co.uk, 2012)

For many, social media is a scary and alien concept. Many organisations realise it is something they should or need to get into. A common problem is a lack of time and effective social media management can be time consuming. What many don’t realise is that, whether an organisation or agency has incorporating social media into the marketing mix or not, there is already an online conversation going on where people are talking about the brand, products, and are sharing their opinions and experiences of both. Even marketers struggle to grasp the impact of digital marketing. A recent McKinsey Global Survey uncovered: “Marketers are unable to translate analytic results into insight, or identify the right metrics in the first place.” (Yu Lam, C. We Are Social, 2012)

The survey also uncovered “31% of marketers feel that online metrics do not adequately quantify the financial impact digital marketing has generated for their companies. Alarmingly, 24% can’t even understand what these metrics actually measure.” (We Are Social, 2012) The problem with this statement is that there is an abundance of tools online that can deliver results, invaluable insight and provide return on investment.

A simple Google search is a great place to start your audit.

Understanding influence is key and tools such as Alexa are a great starting point. Alexa is simple to use and understand. By entering a URL into the search box, Alexa will give you a traffic rank - the traffic driven to the site, the site’s nationality, how many sites link in to the page, for example by hyperlink, search queries that drove traffic to the site and audience information.

Another simple tool is Google pagerank. This can be downloaded as a browser add-on and will give the site a rating between 1-10 based on how many visitors the site claims.

Tools that enable you to manage communities, monitor consumer comments and response in one place are a fantastic and effective time saver. One of the first and simplest I ever used was HootSuite, which enabled me to do all of the above, for multiple accounts, all in one place.

Sysomos Heartbeat and Map is a brilliant tool for monitoring and evaluating conversation and sentiment insight. Based on specifically selected search terms, it will listen to conversations across social media channels and platforms, which can be sorted and recorded into reports.

These are only a few of the never ending list of tools available. Over the coming weeks I will endeavour to post about individual tools for social media auditing, monitoring and measuring to give a more detailed look at each tool.