How to Conduct an 80/20 Social Media Audit

Do you ever get the feeling your social media efforts could be more effective, but you're not sure how?

A recent study revealed the average Internet user has more than 5 social media accounts.

It's not just everyday users that spread out their attention on social media, businesses do the same thing!

Facebook. Twitter. Snapchat. LinkedIn. Pinterest. The list of social media platforms your business can use to push its marketing forward seems to grow longer every year.

But which ones should you actually be using?

A social media audit can provide desperately needed clarity by helping you clearly evaluate which channels are growing your business and which ones are draining your time, energy, and money.

Now, you may hear the word "audit" and experience terrible flashbacks to last year's tax season. Don't worry! This process will be much different (and less painful.)

Personally, I'm not a big numbers fan. But I have good news: you don't have to spend hours of time or crunch endless spreadsheets of numbers.

By focusing on only the most important metrics, we can efficiently prune out the social media channels you should toss and which ones you should pour resources into moving forward.

Here's the 4-step game plan to knock out your social media audit.

  1. Identify the right numbers: List all your social media profiles and note the most relevant numbers including follower, engagement, and clicks.
  2. Measure with your gut: Evaluate your overall performance to judge the health of each social account.
  3. Prioritize: Separate the winning channels from the losers.
  4. Plan: Create 2-3 hypotheses that will guide your actions moving forward.

So, what are you waiting for? Let's get started.

Step 1: Identify the right numbers

Take Inventory of All Your Profiles

First, you need to list every social media platform you've used in the past. Even duplicate accounts or dusty old profiles you haven't used in years count toward this list.

You can jot these down anywhere, but it can save you time in the long run to store them in a tool like Google Sheets for future reference.

You can also find pre-made templates like this one created by Buffer to save you the effort.

It's incredibly useful to record the most important information from your profiles as you go. Using a spreadsheet like the one linked above keeps things organized cleanly.

Fill in your spreadsheet with the following categories:

  • URL address
  • Profile username or handle
  • Follower count
  • Most recent activity
  • Post frequency
  • Average post engagement
  • Monthly Site Traffic

Now that you've set up your spreadsheet, you should have something that looks like this.

Don't worry about all those blank lines. We'll fill them in shortly.

Next, let's hunt down your profiles across the web.

Here's a list of the usual suspects you should track down for your organization.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google+
  • Snapchat
  • Yelp
  • YouTube

Of course, other social media platforms exist and your company could have created accounts on sites such as writing sites like Medium and Tumblr.

Companies in certain industries may also use sites tailored to their industry such as Houzz or Zillow in the real estate space.

Do you want to take an additional step to catch stragglers that may have flown under the radar? Use Namechk to scan dozens of websites for a certain username at the same time. It will quickly tell you whether one of your usernames is taken on a popular site.

Make sure your numbers match your goals

You can get lost in endless numbers that muddy the water when it comes to social media reporting.

It's helpful to focus on 1-3 primary goals when measuring the effectiveness of a social account.

Here are the goals I've found most helpful to measure when you're starting out.

  1. Building an audience
  2. Increasing your audience's engagement
  3. Driving online traffic

Fortunately, it's simple to hunt down the right information for each platform with the right tools.

Simply Measured offers an assortment of free tools to request a free, quick report on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a few other platforms.

Most platforms also feature analytics tucked away inside each account's settings.

For example, Facebook Insights provides a valuable breakdown of your top-performing posts and details about your audience's age, sex, and location.

Check your each channel's follower count and post reach to gauge how effectively you're raising awareness on a platform.

Next, look at the past 30 days of posts to gauge how much engagement a post receives on average.

Finally, take a peek under the hood of Google Analytics to see how much traffic your website has received from each social channel.

Step 2: Measure with your gut

Now, you have a big-picture overview of your social media performance by the numbers. Next, it's time for a more emotion-driven take.

Gather your top 5 posts

You could comb through every post on every platform, but doesn't that sound exhausting? Instead, we're only going to look at 5 our top performers.

Find the top 5 posts with the most reach, likes, comments, or shares. Take a screenshot using the "Command + Shift + 4" shortcut on a Mac. (For Windows users, opening the Snipping Tools application will allow you to do the same thing.)

Save these top 5 post screenshots in a folder by platform or a word document for easy access.

Run through best practices for your platform

Check recommended benchmarks for post length, images, and hashtags for your platform. This infographic does a great job of breaking down the most relevant tips for your text, image, style, and action you want your followers to take next.

Compare to the industry leaders

Steve Jobs famously said, "Good artists copy; great artists steal." You can apply the same concept to your social profiles.

Whether you're selling pool accessories or software subscriptions, you can learn from the excellent social media strategies of your industry's top-performers.

Of course, your goal isn't to copy each post as it exists. Instead, you should be looking for templates, styles, post types, and themes to inject with your own unique perspective.

Simply Measured recommends asking the following questions while dissecting competitor profiles.

Branding: What is their overall image or theme? How do they portray themselves? How do they portray the brand or industry?

Engagement: What$)A!/s their engagement rate? Is it higher or lower than your brand!/s?

Frequency: How often do they post? Do they use multiple channels?

Popularity: How many followers/Likes does the brand or influencer have?

Types of Posts: What topics do they frequently discuss and how do the posts perform?

To quickly find successful pages in your industry, first go to Facebook's search bar and enter in a broad keyword.

For example, enter "Pool" to find pages in the swimming pool and hot tub space.

Keep scrolling past the local results and find results with follower counts in the thousands. Make sure the page remains active and posts regularly.

If the page matches all the criteria above, scroll through the past 30 days of posts. Take bullet-point notes on the post types that received the most engagement and why you think it worked.

This Facebook Page reeled-in respectable engagement by giving away 2016's trendy Christmas toy: Hatchimals.

Can you see all the post types this page used to promote the giveaway? At a glance, I see live and recorded video, photos, and even plain text.

Clearly, it worked. The post above by itself attracted 212 likes, 152 comments, and 377 shares as I'm writing this.

If I were a small business owner in 2017, I would certainly take note of the social media giveaway as a strategy to keep up my sleeve based on this example.

Are you still having trouble finding great examples of posts? Here's a handful of high-performing pages almost any industry can learn from.

  • Netflix nails their a savvy, natural feel with every post.
  • Shopify provides a great example of a page that mainly drives traffic while also keeping engagement high.
  • Buffer always experiments with new formats and works in beautiful posts that aren't only about their products.
  • Starbucks knows how to put its products front-and-center without feeling stale.

If you're still hungry for a few more examples, see this round-up post that Hubspot put together for inspiration.

Step 3: Separate the winners from the losers

It's time for you to make some quick decisions by using the 80/20 rule. This is the principle that estimates 80% of your results will stem from 20% of your work.

The important question remains: how do you decide which 20% to focus on right now? It's finally the moment of truth.

Rank each platform's effectiveness from 1 to 5

Since you've gathered numbers and examples from your industry in the last two steps, it's time to rate your channels. Rate each platform's current effectiveness to meet your business goals from 1 (very ineffective) to 5 (very effective.)

Sort your freshly ranked profiles from highest to lowest. Next, break the profiles down into three buckets: "Worst," "Okay," and "Best."

Eliminate the worst, Limit the Okay

Right of the bat, you can identify low-value channels. These often share the same problems:

  • Duplicating another profile
  • Low overall reach for each post
  • Painfully slow growth rate for new followers
  • Apathetic engagement with almost no likes, comments or shares
  • Channels that align poorly with your target audience

Clearly, you should shutter any duplicates and accounts showing months of inactivity. But, what about the others?

It's tempting to test out new ideas on every platform. More attention in more places means more results, right? Not necessarily!

Limitless possibilities exist to jumpstart and improve every "Okay" social profile. Still, it's a huge mistake to test them all out.

The reason is simple: Your time is more limited than you think.

Rather than working yourself ragged on a dozen accounts, you're going to work smart by harnessing laser-focus on your channels with the best chance to succeed. Which means...

Focus on the best channels

Acclaimed management author Peter Drucker wrote, "When you focus on your strengths, you make weaknesses irrelevant." The same idea applies to online profiles you choose to cultivate.

Unless you're managing social media full-time, You should ruthlessly de-prioritize every profile except your top 1-2 accounts.

This forces you to maximize your results from your channels with the best chances to succeed, while cutting out channels that would otherwise suck hours out of your busy week.

Step 4: Use smart guessing to create a new game plan

You've identified the best channels for success and witnessed examples of successful competitors in your indsutry. Next, it's time to capitalize on the opportunities you've identified.

Create 2-3 hypotheses for your top channels

What is a hypothesis? You may remember from science class that it's a simple formula for testing your ideas against your expected results.

Usually, it follows a formula similar to this.

"If _____[I do this] _____, then [this] will happen."

You're going to create an educated guess based on the data you collected about your profiles and strategies you've identified from your competitors.

Make sure your hypothesis uses SMART goals to stay actionable and grounded in reality.

SMART goals follow this framework:

S - specific, significant, stretching

M - measurable, meaningful, motivational

A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented

R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented

T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable

For example, here's one of my recent hypotheses using SMART goal-setting:

If I post 3 videos to the McMahon Marketing Facebook page every week in January, then organic post engagement will increase by 25% over December posts.

Finally, you'll need to set a date to evaluate your hypothesis and make adjustments moving forward.

Take the following steps to make sure you stay on top of your new strategy:

  1. Mark a specific time out to evaluate the past time period on your calendar. (I recommend 2 weeks to start.)
  2. Write down the actual results of your hypothesis in action and compare them to what you expected.
  3. Use your new information to shift your strategy to focus on new content, audience needs, or platforms.


Taking the time to analyze your social media performance and make smart changes can pay huge dividends in the long-run. Not only