"Audit is my favorite word in the English language," said no one, ever. But according to a new Medium post from Buffer's Kevan Lee, if you're a business owner, you should probably subject yourself to one anyway.

No, not the kind that involves being endlessly harassed by the IRS, thankfully. Instead Lee is urging owners to undertake periodic social media audits. "A tune-up at the garage is essentially an audit for your car, a check-up at the doctor is an audit of your health. You can learn a lot from regular reviews like these," he contends, before arguing that 15 minutes once in awhile is all you need to keep your social media marketing efforts on track and performing at their peak.

Before you groan in horror at the very idea, I should point out that Lee has made it easy for you. In the lengthy post, he lays out in detail the steps to knocking your social media efforts into shape with an audit. Check it out for everything you need to know, but don't worry. It's simpler than you think. Here are the basic steps.

1. Find all your accounts

This could take you all of three seconds, or it could take you a bit longer, but the first, most obvious step to any social media audit is locating all your accounts. "Did you create a YouTube page a couple years back on a whim? What new social networks did you try out when they were brand new and have never viewed again? Take note of them all," instructs Lee. Also be on the lookout for unofficial accounts, perhaps those set up by an overeager employee, for instance.

2. Check for completion and consistency

For any account you're not instantly trashing, the next step is pretty straightforward -- make sure all your details are filled out and your branding is consistent. Lee suggests some questions to ask: "Are all avatars the same? Do backgrounds and other images follow theme/branding? Are all descriptions and URLs uniform?" Be aware that different sites may demand slightly different personas. You might want to be more light-hearted on Twitter, for example, but more straight laced on LinkedIn.

3. Check up on your goals

Did you have specific aims for your accounts? Did you meet those goals? You might want to look at the number of fans or followers, the frequency of your posting, or the level of engagement with your account, Lee says, before suggesting that you stick this info along with the URLs for all your accounts into a handy spreadsheet.

4. Examine what others like you are doing

OK, now you know how your own accounts are doing, but how do they stack up with those of your competitors? "Begin by finding four to eight influencers or brands in your niche," instructs Lee. "If you need help rounding out this list, you can try tools like Traackr." Next, check out their profiles for branding, popularity, engagement, etc.

5. Set goals for the future

"When you take such a close examination of your profiles, you are going to have plenty of data on how everything is performing and where you can improve. So the next step is to make a plan of action," concludes Lee. The complete post offers lots of ideas for what that might look like.

When is the last time you did a thorough review of your social media efforts?

Published on: Mar 30, 2016
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