A Marketer’s Essential Guide to Social Media Reporting
Social media reporting is an activity that every social media manager or community manager should being doing at periodic intervals, as part of checking their marketing strategy for effectiveness. A social media report provides an overview of your performance on various social platforms you have a presence in. This is essential to evaluate the progress your brand has made so far and what needs revision. If you are unsure why your social media manager should bother creating a report, read on. I also discuss some of the best practices you should follow when creating a report that’s useful and insightful for those that are going to be reading it.
Social media marketing can be effective only when you monitor what you are doing every step of the way. It is important to take stock of what you have accomplished and measure it against the goals for that period. If you are looking to receive substantial and sustained returns from your social media performance, you have to constantly review your achievements. This will help you decide what is working for you, what you are missing out on and where you can improve.
Social media reporting is crucial here. It presents a summary of how you have done on social media. Testing is the only way you can fool-proof your social media strategy. Reporting is an essential part of testing, which allows you to display and discuss how things are so that you can deliberate on what to do next.
With that said, one can’t simply create a report and consider it job done. The purpose of the report is to understand whether the social media strategy is working and also to figure out where to go from there.
Planning the content of your social media report
The content and the focus of your social media report depends on who you are going to present it to and why. If you are creating an internal report as part of a weekly catch-up call on your social media performance, the content you would put on the report would vary widely from an annual report you submit before the top level management. Similarly, if the report is meant to help take a call on promoting more social media content, the report should focus more on the engagement and other benefits you (or your peers) get out of promotion compared to organic content.
Here are some of the key metrics that your report may carry:
- Audience growth
- Top Performing Content
- Conversations or Mentions of your brand
Based on the nature of the report, this list may be modified as follows:Annual Reports: These reports should focus on the big picture and capture the topline metrics. Show the progress you have made from the time you created the last report. The metrics you should include here are: Audience Growth, Customer Service and Engagement. Include the number of leads generated by your social media activity.
Catch up Reports: The insights presented in a catch up report is crucial in making adjustments to your social media strategy. Give concrete information about what is getting you engagement. It is best to benchmark your performance vis-a-vis your competition to identify social media opportunities you might be missing out on. Cross-channel reports will be a great way to present a quick snapshot of what has happened since you last caught up, across all major networks. Metrics to include are volume of content, engagement (along with best performing content), promotion and campaign intel.
RoI Reports: These have a keen focus on a particular aspect of your social media performance. For these types of report, give exhaustive information on that aspect and how it affects your other metrics. For instance, a report on promoted content needs metrics such as reach, engagement and leads from promoted content versus the same for organic content. The objective here is to justify the investment in that particular aspect. So, be sure to capture the spend vis-a-vis the benefits. Here, show how many leads you’ve generated through promotions.
Brevity is key while creating a report. It is a snapshot of whatever aspect you are going to take up for discussion. Make sure that the content of the report is concise and comprehensive. Avoid including all the social media metrics that you have access to just because you can. It will either deflect attention from the meeting’s focus or bore those who are listening to death.
One of the main objectives of social media reporting is to chart the progress your brand has made. It goes hand in hand with taking crucial decisions about the way forward. Keeping that in mind, show how your brand has been doing over a period of time, as opposed to a set of metrics taken at the moment of reporting. That is, include not just the number of Fans or Followers but the Fan/Follower growth. This leads me to the second objective, which is to figure out why things are the way they are. So, for instance, in the Fan/Follower growth rate chart that you put in your report, if there are any marked dips or surges, be sure to cross-check what the reasons for that might be.
Before you start out creating a report, spell out why you are creating the report and for whom. Select three or four most relevant social media metrics. Relevance depends completely on your social media goals. The contents may change depending on which stage of the sales funnel you are concentrating more on. If your strategy is to improve audience numbers and reach, Fan/Follower growth has to be included. Keyword frequency or hashtag usage may be omitted. If the report aimed at charting the course of your next social media campaign, Fan numbers may not be as important as top content, engagement and campaign analysis.
How to Create a Social Media Report
Social media reporting can be a tedious process or it can be effortless. It depends on the tools you use to analyze your performance. Most social media analytics tools come with visual representations of key data points that you can include in your report. These charts and tables are usually downloadable. These can then be put together into a presentation software like Microsoft PowerPoint or Open Office Impress or Prezi. It sounds straightforward enough that you’d think that it would take no time. Yet, deciding what to include, formatting, getting all the information in one place is time-consuming. And you don’t want to be spending time working on this rather than working on revising or defending your strategy.
There is an easy way to social media reporting. If you go to Unmetric Analyze, you will see the ‘Reports’ option. Once you click on it, all you have to do is specify what kind of report you want, and for what period. You can download a comprehensive report in minutes. Even better, you can edit out information that is not relevant to you, add in additional information or whatever you please. You will certainly need no more than a few minutes to be done with a report.
These are the kind of reports that you can create using Analyze’s report generator:
This gives you a summary of how you are doing compared to your competitors. You can choose which of your peers you want included in the report. It will give you a clear picture of where you stand in terms of engagement, fan sentiments, responsiveness and more. You can get compare reports for the past week, month or any custom period. These can be generated for Facebook and Twitter.
Here’s a sample report on Coffee Brands:
These are like compare reports, but contain information on your brand and your competitors performance on all major networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. You can access all the key metrics pertaining to these networks for the chosen period in a single report. For quick catch-ups, these are the best. Read on here if you need more help creating one.
Take a look at this Cross-channel report on the top Credit Card brands:
Here you can get a detailed analysis of your social media performance on Twitter and Facebook. Find information about your content, audience size, top influencers, engagement, sentiment and campaign analysis. These too can be created for whatever time period you choose. Here’s what an Analyze report looks like:
Social media reporting is an important part of social media marketing. One of the fundamental principles that brands have to follow is constant audit. Reporting as a key component of this activity cannot be disregarded. Remember, social media reporting is not an end in itself. It helps to evaluate your current performance and reach decisions on the way forward. Keeping this in mind, aim to streamline your social media reporting process so that creating a report does not take away the time you need to arrive at and work on actionable insights from it.