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COM 310 - Social Media

This guide is a companion to Professor Boroshok's COM 310 course to guide students through the social media marketing plan project for their selected nonprofit organization.

Social Media Audit Templates

Hootsuite and Sprout offer free templates to help you conduct a social media audit for your client or on their competitors. 

SWOT Analysis/Social Media Audit

FAQ: What is a SWOT analysis?

SWOT Definition

SWOT stands for:

  • Strengths - factors that make an organization more effective than its competitors, and the capabilities and resources that the company can use effectively to achieve its objectives.
  • Weaknesses - limitations in resources, culture or capacity within the organization that can prevent it from achieving its objectives.
  • Opportunities - favorable current or future external trends, changes, etc that permit the organization to enhance its efficacy and position
  • Threats - unfavorable situation, trend or impending change in the external environment that currently or potentially threatens the organization’s ability to function effectively

A SWOT analysis is used to evaluate the relationship between an organization’s internal resources (strengths and weaknesses) and external possibilities (opportunities and threats) to aid in making informed choices about which actions to take to increase an organization's ability to achieve its goals and objectives.

  • See if you can find an Annual Report for your organization as they often will include a SWOT analysis or at least reference to the organizations analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities, and environmental threats.
    • Example: New Hampshire Veterans Home - Annual Report Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2020. Read the celebratory articles in the annual report to notice potential challenges the NHVH faces. For example, they celebrate the October 2019 opening of a new, expanding kitchen area. Further along it says, "The upgrade was required due to the addition of 100 beds in 2004 when the Home’s Life Enhancement Dementia Unit was completed." It explains the constrained quarters the food service staff worked under to service a population that had grown by 100. That was FIFTEEN years they waited for funding from the federal Veterans Administration to have adequate space to prepare food and feed their residents! 

Social Media Audit

  • Try using the Social Media Audit templates in the left margin to analyze your client's and their competitors' social media efforts
  • Be sure to find out the same information about your client that you do about their competitors so that you can compare what each does well as well as what your client could improve upon

Identify competitors

A key element to your SWOT and Social Media Audit will be to identify your client's competitors and compare their social media strategy and performance with your client's existing plan. Searching the web using Google or another search engine involves finding the right search terms, much like searching in library databases. Try one term, read the results you find and take note of other search terms you see. 

Search Terms:

For example: You might look up "green cemetery" and find out they are also called "green burial grounds" or "natural burial grounds." You will see other potential search terms like "death care" or "funeral planning" or "exit parties." Be sure to try a variety of search terms when looking for competitors or others in similar businesses to your client's business.


Look at other non-profit and for-profit organizations (perhaps volunteer-based) who provide programming, social interaction & events for the elderly in the Boston area. Keep track of various terms used: seniors, elderly, aging, etc.

Possible examples:

  • Central Boston Elder Services - also have volunteer opportunities
  • Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) - "By connecting residents of affordable & public housing with local college students, LBFE facilitates lasting intergenerational friendships through weekly social, educational, creative, and technology programs."
  • Ethos - Large $37million private, not-for-profit organization that promotes the independence, dignity, and well-being of the elderly and disabled through the coordination and delivery of a wide variety of affordable home and community-based care.

Life Forest

Look at other "green burial" or "green cemetery" options in New England. Some are called "hybrid" in that they have traditional tombstone areas and green burial options. Try the US Funerals Online Green Burial Directory for "natural" or green burial grounds. There are many different terms used to refer these cemeteries, so be sure to note them when you see them to use for searching for information later.

Possible examples:

New Hampshire Veterans Home

This is a state-run nursing home which puts it in a different category than private nursing homes. You might look at the county nursing homes that exist in New Hampshire as well as other states' veterans nursing homes for some comparisons. The private nursing homes might have more funding and incentive to use social media more extensively and in creative ways, so looking at a private competitor might be helpful as well.

Possible examples:

League of Women Voters - Framingham, MA

This organization is a local group (Framingham) that is part of a state group (Massachusetts) which is part of a national group, so it will be a bit more complicated to find "competitors" in the strict sense of the word. You will want to look at other LWV groups in surrounding towns (and their LWV websites and level of activity) as well as voter advocacy groups in the Boston area to familiarize yourself with how they work, specifically how they use social media to accomplish their goals.

Possible examples: