Conducting a social media audit for a corporation is a critical part of social media risk management. There are several key risk factors that stem from social media accounts and these are: risk of counterfeit accounts, cyber risks such as phishing, and brand inconsistency that damage your brand reputation. These key threat vectors are present for every company and an audit is how you mitigate the risk.
The process and schedule of your audits should be detailed in your social media governance procedures.
Many professionals come to Brandle asking us to discover social media accounts associated with their brands, but they may not have a process in place to handle these accounts once they are found!
Brandle is designed to conduct a continuous social media audit to protect your corporate IP and brand reputation. You receive alerts for any new web presence created using your brand names –– whether authorized or unauthorized.
As part of your governance program, you should have (at least) an annual review of every Social Network/Platform to determine your corporate strategy for that platform. For your primary platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) you should conduct a platform review at least twice per year.
Many companies conduct social media audits on an annual basis but may miss some key elements of the audit. Skipping or forgetting even a few steps in the audit process can damage a business’s ability to mitigate against risks on social media.
The first step to completing an audit is to gain a clear picture of a brand’s web presence. Consider each site or page as a corporate asset; the asset elements are everything that is set on that site once you populate the profile. (This includes profile description, avatar, image, apps, profile metadata, referenced website, etc.)
This is the first information a customer sees about you, the corporation, or the brand and this space is where you have control over maintaining brand and regulatory compliance standards.
A complete social media audit covers four distinct phases. They are:
Within the discovery phase businesses should seek to identify the following types of points-of-presence (POPs) related to their brand:
Corporate Web Presence
Third-Party Web Presence (such as employees or partners)
Infringing Properties (infringing on IP, counterfeiters, phishers, etc).
During the network audit phase, businesses should take stock of how their social media accounts mesh with current trends on social media networks. In some instances, companies may need to shut down accounts that have fallen out of prominence –– though they should retain the rights to their account name and information.
The networks can change rapidly and it's worth the time to review what has changed in the past year including:
Once you have an inventory of what you've discovered, you then need to review the asset elements of each account or page. The corporate branded accounts should take precedence. These are company sites: product sites, program or campaign sites. Remember, this audit process is to manage corporate risks and to identify any inconsistencies within profiles, information sections, pictures etc. This is not an ROI audit on marketing campaigns or ad spend.
These are sites for your employees, partners, communities, etc. Corporations can't control them in the same way they can internal accounts, but they do need to provide guidance, especially in a regulated business or if the business has a formalized employee ambassador program. The same list from above applies, with the addition of reviewing any contractual agreement or policy specific to the third-party.
During this stage, companies should review their content posting processes. Determine which local employees are responsible for posting content and how corporate can ensure compliance within the content. (This step is, again, particularly important for businesses within regulated industries.)
Mistakes in the auditing process are fairly common, but the repercussions are anything but. Make it a point to avoid these potentially damaging social media audit mistakes:
This white paper by Brandle® highlights how an automated system outperforms a manual web and social media audit.
This presentation highlights the six phases of social media governance to protect your brand online. After reading these phases, you'll be on the right track to developing your own corporate social media governance program based on the best practices of global corporations.
As we mentioned above, Brandle is designed to conduct a continuous social media audit to protect your corporate IP and brand reputation. You receive alerts for any new web presence created using your brand names –– whether authorized or unauthorized. To schedule a demo of the Brandle Presence Manager and learn about its auditing capabilities, contact us today!