Conducting Social Media Audits for small businesses and teams taught me three trends of content marketing.

When I set out to conduct Digital Presence Audits at the end of last year, I planned to run a seasonal campaign to help small businesses and teams to refresh and align their communications and channels to the new year. But, little did I know… 

These encounters with fellow entrepreneurs proved so insightful and interesting that – almost without noticing it – I kept on scheduling audits way past the new year and up until the spring. Over the months, I made a few interesting observations about how small businesses, start-ups and non-profit organisations manage their content and communication and saw that the same themes and struggles popped up for most of them. 

By springtime, it was obvious that Digital Presence Audits were here to stay, and they also expanded to a blog series guiding you to run your own audit, strengthen your social media presence and uplift your website

In this last part of the series, I’ll share my personal observations and what conducting these audits has taught me. 

Going Strong: Storytelling & Personal Branding

Long gone are the days when a business website was just a place to store contact details and social media was for sharing puppy videos. In today’s content marketing landscape, both are opportunities to share your brand story and more and more often, pieces of your personal story alongside it. 

It was a delight to see how small businesses embraced storytelling on their websites (especially the About Us section) and on social media content, sharing glimpses of their personal history, values and day-to-day lives in the process. 

As I work mainly with mission-driven brands and teams, these stories that show the why and who behind the what of their business are crucial, and I was happy to see brands and missions come to life through content so powerfully. 

Surprise of the process: Tight Character Limits Produce Crisp Copy

One of the great (and happy!) surprises of conducting Digital Presence Audits was to notice that most companies expressed their mission, services and benefits better on social media platforms than on their websites. Social media “About” and “Bio” sections were, almost without fail, crisp, engaging and to the point, while website copy tended to be wordier and less client-focused. 

I drew together two possible theories for this phenomenon:

  1. Social media platforms are updated more often than business websites, which are written once and then forgotten. 
  2. The tight character limits of most social media platforms force us to condense and distil until only the essential facts remain. 

The good news is that any communicator can try out these two strategies that follow:

  1. Use your social media content as an inspiration when updating a company website. 
  2. Rewrite, rewrite and rewrite the most important parts of any copy to get to a crisp, finalised version. Those to-the-point introductions rarely (if ever) pour out of your keyboard in 30 seconds. 

Almost there: Consistency

Another common theme that kept coming up in my Digital Presence Audits was the struggle of consistent content creation. While all entrepreneurs I spoke with acknowledged the importance of creating a steady feed of quality content, living up to those expectations was understandably hard for small teams. 

When we dove into the topic of consistent publication rhythm, I noticed another commonality though: small practical tweaks, such as installing regular ideation and content creation routines and building a monthly content calendar, helped my clients tremendously. (Check Content Circle for some good-natured peer pressure.) As practical and uncreative as these strategies seemed, they created empty space for the creative process to happen. 

Setting up routines is sometimes boring and takes time up front, but pays itself back over time in the form of improved engagement and generated business. 

Keep in Mind: Digital Presence is a Process

Finally, there’s one piece of advice I’d like to wrap up this post series with:

Building authority and engagement online is a process, and so is auditing and reviewing it. That’s why it should be repeated regularly, ideally once or twice a year. 

This is also a process where many entrepreneurs find external perspectives very helpful. All business owners I spoke with were great at what they did with their clients, but it’s not always obvious to transform that expertise into engaging communication that reaches your audience’s attention at the exact right moment. 

If you feel you’d need some help updating your social profiles and ensuring your website is saying what you want it to say, check the previous posts of this series or schedule your own Digital Presence Audit with me.

During this hour together, we’ll review your website and social media accounts to ensure your message is on point and supports your business goals going forward. And if something is not spot-on right now, you’ll have a map to set things straight.

Read the previous articles in the series:

Digital Presence Audit – Part 1: Turn a Good Website into a Great One

Digital Presence Audit – Part 2: Strengthen Your Social Media Presence

Digital Presence Audit – Part 3: How to Conduct Your Digital Presence Audit

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