Data Touch Points in Your Social Marketing Audit: Part Two

If you thought Part One was a bit daunting, then you might as well delete any reference to this post. The following lists are what I refer to as "data points" that would be used from an analytical standpoint to break down each and every one of the categories on a per-social-channel basis.

The goal is for you to walk away with a strong granular understanding of your competition’s social marketing directives. Please note that some of the data points will not be defined as there are redundancies on a per-channel basis. Therefore if you see one that is not defined, more than likely it is your responsibility to "see above."

I recommend that you break down these data points inside a spreadsheet. I know, I know, open mouth insert bullet. Additionally, I like to color code my analysis once it is done – cause' it looks pretty. These are the color codes I use:

Green = yes; good; well within best-practices

Red = No; not falling within minimum standards

Yellow = problematic; dated; or to be altered

Gray = Inactive

It's important to note that if you drop these data points into a spreadsheet, you should take your time evaluating each element and write a brief description alongside your assessment. Bear in mind that this document is going to end up in the hands of management and other people outside your normal circle of influence. So provide an understanding of how you came to your assessment.

Keep it brief. Make it succinct. Economize with words – not that I ever do – sorry.

You get the point.

Throughout these data points I also have a ranking criteria of one through three. One being superior and three being insufficient or poor. You can expand upon this mathematical ranking if it suits your purposes.

LET'S DO THIS!

Website

  • URL: Outline your competitor’s website address.
  • UI / UX Intuitiveness: Does the website feel as though the usability is intuitive; does the navigation makes sense; overall do the colors, layout and content feel like the brand they represent?
  • Responsive Design: Has the website been designed in a responsive format?
  • Multilingual: Is the website multilingual - appearing to communicate to a global audience?
  • Primary Vertical: Does the website you're evaluating seem to direct its attention at a particular business vertical (e.g. automotive, medical, real estate, etc.)?
  • Website Ranking: People love to use website tools with ranking criteria when constructing a social audit. However, unless you're paying for these tools, the ranking is often misleading and/or inflated. I recommend compete.com if you're willing to pay for it. Nevertheless, utilize Alexa.com or any other free ranking criteria to establish a baseline.
  • Demographic: Does the demographic seem to sway more male or female; young or elderly; geographically, where is the largest audience?
  • Social On Index: Are icons or listings for their social graph listed on their website's homepage?
  • Call To Action: What is the primary "call to action" on their website; look for items such as "register now" or "call toll-free."
  • Up-Sell / Cross-Sell: Is the website intending to up-sell or cross-sell you on additional products and/or services?
  • Partners / Affiliates: Is your competitor working in conjunction with additional affiliates, organizations or partners?
  • Newsletters: Is there an allocation on the website for newsletter sign up?
  • Press Room: Is there an area on the website for recent press releases; how current is the last press release?
  • Key Differentiators:  Overall is there anything on your competitor’s website that is unique, thought-provoking or progressive?
  • Overall Impression: Establish an overall impression ranking.
  • Misc. Notes: I like to add miscellaneous notes to all of my categories; be sure to list anything that you find that was done well or was a complete fail within this area.  

Blog

  • Blog URL:
  • Unique Blog Categories: Many of your competitors will have categories similar to yours. Look for unique categories and envision them as key differentiators as they pertain to this data point.
  • Blog Activity (1-3): Look at the last post and make an assessment based upon your industry of whether that date is progressive, slow or outdated
  • Overall Impression:
  • Misc. Notes:

Community

  • Community URL(s):
  • Forums URL (if applicable):
  • Community Size (if applicable): Often you can find a publicly available list of members. Take note of the size.
  • Public; Private; Registration Required; Purchase Required: Is access to the community public, or does it require purchase of the product/service?
  • Community Wiki:  Is there a community wiki established?
  • Groups UI Format: Is the user interface format a traditional "forums board" or is it laid out more like a blog with associated comments?
  • Activity (1-3): Check the 10 most recent content entries and see if people actively comment and respond.
  • Misc. Notes

Facebook

  • Facebook URL:
  • Likes: How many likes are listed?
  • Content Activity (1-3): How frequently are posts being made?
  • Thread Activity (1-3): How much conversation is taking place on posts?
  • Cover Photo CTA: Within the cover image on the top of the Facebook page, is there any graphical call to action?
  • Custom Apps: Does your competitor's Facebook page utilize custom apps?
  • Contest Offerings: Has your competitor created any interesting or engaging contests or promotions?
  • Connect Social Channels: Have any social channels been connected through your competitor's Facebook page?
  • Misc. Notes:

Facebook Group

  • Facebook Group URL:
  • Public / Private: Is your competitor’s group public or private?
  • Members: If the Facebook group is public, how many members have joined?
  • Activity (1-3): What is the frequency of conversation within your competitor’s Facebook group?
  • Misc. Notes:

Twitter

  • Twitter URL / @handle:
  • Followers: How many followers does your competitor’s Twitter account have?
  • Tweets: How many tweets has your competitor communicated?
  • Content Activity (1-3): There are a great many free tools that will rank activity for a Twitter account; in addition look at the most recent Tweet and assess activity based on the first page.
  • Klout: What is your competitors Klout score? It's important to understand Klout is merely a numerical ranking and should not be a statement of your competitor’s worth one way or the other. Use it only as a baseline.
  • Custom #Hashtag branding: Has your competitor constructed any unique #'s specifically for their own marketing purposes
  • Misc. Notes:

YouTube Channel

  • YouTube URL:
  • Content Network: Is your competitor's YouTube channel a single or multichannel network?
  • Subscribers: How many subscribers does your competitor’s YouTube channel have?
  • Video Views: How many video views does your competitor's YouTube channel have?
  • Content Activity (1-3): When was the last video uploaded; how many comments have been made about any number of videos that have been posted – both positive and negative?
  • Content Style: What is the production quality of the videos your competitors post within their channel; do they appear to have been shot on professional equipment and professionally edited?
  • Misc. Notes:

Linkedin – Company

  • Linkedin Company URL:
  • Followers: How many followers does your competitors Linkedin company profile have; how many services are listed and how well are they described?
  • Content Activity (1-3): Does it appear that your competitor’s Linkedin company profile is active?
  • Misc. Notes:  

Linkedin – Groups:

  • Group Search Result(s): When doing a search for your competitor’s Linkedin company and/or services, how many group results are returned?
  • Largest Group: What is the largest Linkedin group that is returned from your search; does your competitor own and operate the largest group?
  • Linkedin Group URL:
  • Followers: How many followers does the largest group contain?
  • Content Activity (1-3): The groups on LinkedIn have a metrics pool located on the right-hand side; check the frequency of contact with in this tool.
  • Misc. Notes:

Google+

  • Google+ URL:
  • Followers: How many followers does your competitor’s Google+ page have?
  • Content Activity (1-3): What is the frequency of conversation and activity within your competitor’s Google+ page
  • Misc. Notes:

Google+ Communities

  • Google+ Community URL:
  • Public / Private:
  • Members: How many followers does your competitor’s Google+ community have?
  • Activity (1-3): What is the frequency of conversation and activity within your competitor’s Google+ community?
  • Misc. Notes

Pinterest

  • Pinterest URL:
  • Boards: How many Pinterest boards does your competitor have?
  • Pins: How many pins does your competitor’s profile have?
  • Likes: How many likes does your competitor’s Pinterest account have?
  • Activity (1-3): If you click on the "activity" tab you can see the perceived engagement against the channel.
  • Followers: How many followers do they have within their Pinterest account?
  • Following: How many Pinterest accounts are they following?
  • PinAuthority Score: One quick ranking tool among many is Pinauthority.com. It will give you a numeric rank you can use as a baseline.
  • Misc. Notes

Instagram / Social Photo Sharing

  • Instagram URL:
  • Photos: How many Instagram photos does your competitor have?
  • Followers: How many followers does your competitor’s Instagram channel have?
  • Activity (1-3):  When was the last photo taken and what level of engagement is taking place against the last 12 photos?
  • Misc. Notes:
  • Alternative channel URL: Does your competitor have any alternative social photography channels in use?
  • Members:
  • Activity (1-3):
  • Misc. Notes:

Slideshare

  • Slideshare URL:
  • Presentations: How many Slideshare presentations are listed within your competitor’s account?
  • Followers: How many followers does your competitor have against their Slideshare account?
  • Activity (1-3):
  • Misc. Notes:

Alternative Content Graph Points: Podcasting & Wiki

Podcasting URL:

  • Listed in iTunes: If your competitor has a podcast, is it listed on iTunes?
  • Followers: Is there any indication as to how many people are following your competitor’s podcast?
  • Activity (1-3):
  • Wiki Entry URL: Does your competitor have a wiki entry?
  • Misc. Notes:

I’ve done my best to construct the previous data points in a manner that you could collect without the expense of an online service tool. There are many tools out there that can do part if not all of this data collection at varying levels of expense.

Below I have listed a number of tools that are free and or competitively priced in order to do portions of this data collection. I recommend that you review them and determine if there is any service you would be willing to pay for outside of what they provide for free. Good luck, happy hunting and write me back and tell me what you've discovered!

Free / Freemium Tools for additional Data Points:

This is all the data points you'll need to have a kick-ass competitive assessment. What you choose to do with it next is a whole book in and unto itself but at least you have a map for that strategy.

What are your thoughts? What did I miss? How do you do your competitive assessments? Let's talk shop.