In any merger or acquisition, there are various people and procedures involved. 

No matter the complexity of a deal, there is a library of checks that need to be done—and one that is often overlooked is social media. With marketing due diligence, you need to be prepared for every discipline that contributes to day-to-day operations to be evaluated.

While you might not be active on every social media channel—or give a hoot about posting in general—this is the one time you should care about your business’s public face. 

Why Care About Social Media in Due Diligence?

According to a study, more than “94% of all businesses with a marketing department use social media as part of their marketing” (strategy). Not to mention how this marketing channel is used to identify target companies for potential partnerships. Deloitte shares that “more than half of corporate executives use social media for target identification.

If social media carries a lot of weight with regard to brand reputation—why is it so low down on the DD priority list? Be it a lack of resources or priority, you cannot ignore the impact it has on your brand image. Much like historical numbers can sway decisions, one problematic post can harm a transaction. A due diligence team can use social media to raise any concerns about inappropriate, unethical content that could jeopardize both reputations.

Additional ways social media contributes to due diligence:

  1. Reputation in the market: share of voice or data on brand mentions is publicly available online. It’s become easier than ever to compare company performance and monitor how competitors position themselves in the same field. You can also use social media to analyze the personality of a company and its values. 
  2. Customers and industry: by looking at the type of people who engage with your social content, you’re able to analyze your customer profile and see how it aligns (or doesn’t) with the rest of your marketing. To add, you can make better judgment calls on competitor activities when you’re competing against the same audience. 
  3. Perception of the brand: commonly, people base their perceptions on what they see online. Fortunately, for marketers doing their due diligence, you can really tap into user reviews and comments to review unfiltered thoughts on a brand.
  4. Financial feasibility: social media should be considered a growth driver. Next to a website that drives traffic and conversions, a healthy social presence and online media perception can prove business stability and enhance future prospects. 

How to Prepare Your Social Media Channels 

Before the reputation analysis begins, review your content so that you’re well-equipped to comment on any feedback. Here is a short checklist to vet your social efforts in advance:  

  • Scrape posts across channels to ensure there is no social media material that could impact another organization, person, or community in a negative way.
  • Review past content and remove grammatically incorrect, irrelevant posts.
  • Acknowledge follower engagement and count, and how it affects your positioning.
  • Remove any content that poorly reflects your brand or undermines your credibility.
  • Be familiar with any negative reviews or commentary that your brand has, or had.
  • Highlight content that is (or isn’t) aligned with your target audiences and vision.
  • Identify any posts where you’ve ignored compliance regulations or violated rules.
  • Monitor what your staff are saying about your brand or management online. Identify influential employees and how their content resonates with your values.

During the deal stages, you can guarantee the marketing due diligence team will ask you a handful of questions before going in and investigating. Prepare for similar questions: 

  • Who manages social media, and how do you manage this day-to-day task?
  • Who manages GDPR or data privacy, and who instills regulations for posting?
  • Which employees have access to these accounts, and where are the login details?
  • How many channels do you have? And are these channels used for paid ads?
  • Do you work with an external agency to create content and monitor performance? 
  • What social media tools do you use, and when do those contracts end?
  • In your social team, what are the roles and responsibilities of each member?
  • How do you govern your social presence? Provide processes, guidelines, etc. 
  • What areas of social media are lacking, and what are your current challenges? 

As you can see, social media research and analysis is a beast of its own. All of these steps contribute to a smooth transaction and post-acquisition or merger experience. 

Post M&A Conclusions 

Integration is a big undertaking. It’s a lengthy process, too! From content marketing due diligence to technical SEO and more, a strict series of events needs to follow in tandem. 

After the sale, the transition kicks in. The onboarding period tends to take longer than expected, but you’ll be off to a speedy start when everything is organized and well-documented. 

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing due diligence. Some companies have a foundation in place, while others need to start various activities from scratch. Regardless of your stage, workflows will need to be married, tech stacks defined, and strategies developed. When you have a designated team of specialists like at your side, you can rest assured that every area will get the attention it needs. We work to ensure a seamless integration where teams are aligned and working towards the same goals.  

Read about other due diligence planning, M&A best practices, case studies, and more on our blog. 

Content Marketing Lead,