Brandle Social Media Governance Blog

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Why A Social Media Audit Is Not Enough

July 17, 2015

Many companies come to us with the request "Can you run a social media audit so we can update our spreadsheet(s)?" While the answer is "Yes, we can..." there is a very big caveat: "... but your data will be out of date very quickly.”  

Unfortunately, social media is not like an email address or phone number which the company can control who gets one, when and for how long. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. all operate by their own rules. Anybody, inside or outside your company can create a new (or modify an existing) social media presence (or new domain) that purports to represent your business...and this can happen on a daily basis. which makes auditing your social media presence a challenge.

The challenge with conducting an audit for web and social media accounts is that the web is a dynamic world and a single audit that produces a static spreadsheet is out of date the moment it is completed.

For good digital and social media governance, you need to perform a continual audit that produces a dynamic inventory!

4 Financial Case Studies — Why a Typical Social Media Audit Would Have Failed

We have taken four leading corporations in the financial sector (a bank, a regional insurance agency, a national insurance company and a mortgage company) and analyzed the POPs found in the initial Discovery audit compared to the POPs found in an ongoing Brand Patrol audit.

To have a clear picture of these case studies, you first need to understand some basics about Brandle. 

  • The Brandle Presence Manager helps companies audit, inventory and monitor points-of-presence (POPs) that represent or associate with your brand(s).  POPs are digital assets such as websites, social media accounts, and domains.
  • First, Brandle runs a deep and comprehensive "Discovery" to find what is currently out there. This is the initial audit process.
  • Second, it runs periodic "Brand Patrols" to find any new POPs, which have been created or any which have been re-branded to associate with your enterprise. 
  • Finally, for those companies who need to monitor employee social media, the system runs periodic "People Patrols" to find any new properties which the employees may use to promote their work. Critical to a large company with a changing workforce.

Take a look at the facts below and see why an automated solution (such as Brandle) is the only reasonable way to keep an accurate inventory of the POPs that are important to your company.

A National Bank:

Let's take a look at a well-known bank with several retail consumer operations. While the initial Discovery was significant, the daily Brand Patrol (over the next 400+ days) found an astonishing number of new properties. We will analyze the results of this patrol in a separate post but needless to say, the business and its employees are not standing still. As you can see even running a social media audit every quarter would mean a company was quickly operating on incomplete data and potentially exposing the enterprise to regulatory risk.

Discovery Results: 2,420 POPs
Patrol Results: 7,094 POPs (↑293%)
POPs Found On:
306 of 433 days (70.6%)

Brandle Bank Brand Patrol

A Regional Insurance Agency:

Here is a rather large regional insurance agency which has agents and offices in many states. In this case, the company has a tight brand identity and the initial Discovery found a comprehensive presence for the enterprise. However, weekly Brand Patrol continued to find properties as the company and social media adoption grew.

Discovery Results: 72 POPs
Patrol Results: 329 POPs (↑457%)
POPs Found On: 33 of 34 weeks (97%)

Brandle Insurance_A_ Brand Patrol

Note: Brand Patrol was run only on a weekly basis for this account.

National Insurance Company:

Let's take a look at another insurance company. It's a well-known consumer brand with plenty of marketing personas. The initial audit discovered a substantial social media inventory. However, over the course of 113 days, Brand Patrol more than doubled the size of the relevant inventory. That's a significant change in inventory in less than two months. Many of these are people spoofing the brand due to the popularity of their mascots, but the company does need to consider if there is any intellectual property infringement with these spoofs (so important to watch them in an inventory). Also, Brand Patrol was initiated while Discovery was still running so some of the POPs attributed to Patrol would have been found by Discovery but we opted not to "correct" the data.

Discovery Results: 458 POPs
Patrol Results: 486 POPs (↑106%)
POPs Found On: 48 of 113 weeks (42.4%)

Brandle Insurance_B_ Brand Patrol

A Regional Mortgage Company:

Finally, let's look at a regional mortgage company. While it is a regional enterprise, it operates in many states and has a large network of loan originators; therefore, it has enabled People Patrol as well as Brand Patrol. People Patrol allows the company to search for the websites and social media of specific employees, like those who would use social media to market their business operations (e.g. mortgage loan originators). Finding and monitoring employee social media is a vital component to ensuring your company stays compliant to state and federal regulations, especially in the financial industry.

For this company, you will see two charts. The first is the Discovery that occurs when a new identity (e.g. a brand or person's name) is added to the system, the second is the results when Patrol picks up a new or changed point-of-presence. As you can see, the full enterprise has a very large and rapidly changing social footprint. We should note that when People Patrol is enabled for a person, a Discovery is run to get a baseline presence for that person; that is why you see such a long tail with the Discovery chart.

Discovery Results: 3543 POPs
Patrol Results: 733 POPs (↑20.6%)
POPs Found On: 112 of 446 days (25%)

Brandle Mortgage_Discovery

Brandle Mortgage People Patrol


After reviewing these four use cases, it should become evident that running a one-time social media audit is not sufficient to protect your brand or stay compliant. The worlds of business and social media are just too dynamic. We've seen people try to keep track of these with Google searches but in larger organizations, it's just not possible for simple searches to find everything or for a human to filter through the noise to find the needles in the haystacks.

That's why the Brandle Presence Manager was designed to learn about your business, probe the nooks and crannies of the web, and filter out the noise so your business can focus on more important things. Now you can run one web and social media audit (the "Discovery"), set-up Patrol to let the system automatically conduct a continual audit for you, and watch for email alerts when new POPs are created or existing POPs are changed. The single manual audit is now a thing of the past, making it possible to achieve strong social media governance and social media compliance in just a few minutes each day.

If you would like to read more about enterprise social media audit processes, take a look at our blog post The C-Suite Demands Social Media Governance or download the Enterprise Social Media Account Management - Case Study.


Chip Roberson
Written by Chip Roberson

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