7 Steps to Creating Effective Social Media Reports
Social media is now a crucial part of any digital marketing strategy, but in order to maximize your social media performance, you need to understand what’s driving clicks, what’s bringing engagement - what's working and what isn’t.
In this post, I'll explain seven steps to creating a social media report, including the key metrics to track and how to present your results.
I'll also provides tips on presentation options and data tools to consider.
Why you need social media reports
Presenting results that’ll be understood across the board can be frustrating, because each individual will have a different level of understanding of the process. You can't assume that everyone will get what you do on social all day, every day - it’s up to you to prove the value that you and your team provide.
A comprehensive social media report will identify your goals, strategies, and successes. It will also explain any failures and how you’re going to address them.
An effective report will…
- Prove the value and ROI of your campaigns, and that you’re meeting business goals
- Highlight your wins and your losses so you can improve, repeat, delete
- Monitor social channels and concentrate on those that your audience use
- Identify which content brings most engagement
- Benchmark your social media campaigns with those of your competitors
7 steps to creating a social media report
1. Identify your stakeholders
Establish who’ll receive your reports – sales, marketing, PR, demand gen, senior management, customer support - and tailor per team.
And worth noting - what matters to the sales team, won’t be what your boss wants to see.
2. Establish your goals
What do you want from your social media reports? To prove your successes, your value? To demonstrate that you’re meeting business goals?
There are three categories of reporting you can include:
- Regular reports - Use key metrics to show your progress on social – increase in followers, positive sentiment, SOV, etc. Keep it to your brand alone or include competitors for benchmarking.
- One-off reports - Run qualitative analysis during a one-off campaign, event, product launch – to find what worked and what didn’t.
- Research reports - Social listening will help you to find data and insights for a particular topic or trend.
3. Ask SMART questions
What questions do you want to answer?
If you’re doing a one-off report surrounding an event, a question could be – how many free demo sign-ups did you get? A weekly report could ask, how many newsletter subscriptions per post, per month?
As a reminder, SMART, in this context, stands for:
- Time Limited
Keep these elements in mind when presenting your points.
4. Choose which metrics to track
Just because you can report on something, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.
Be wise. Your choices will depend on which social networks you use, your marketing strategy, what your stakeholders want to see. Choose metrics that you can learn from, and which will inform your decision-making, both for current and future campaigns.
Here are some of the metrics you should consider:
- Leads – Visitors that may become customers
- Conversions – Leads that become paying customers
- Reach and impressions – People that saw your posts
- Volume – Conversion size and brand mentions
- Engagement – Clicks, comments, shares
- Audience – Location, gender, language, interests, occupation, age
- Content – How many, how often, how successful
- Click-through with bounce rate – Website visitors and how long they stay
- Share of voice – How much are consumers talking about you compared to your competitors
- Lessons learned – Product feedback, user-generated content, technical issues
- Executive summary – Summary of top achievements
5. Which social media reporting tool?
Your priorities and goals need to be established before you start investigating potential tools for your reporting. Then, you need to ask the relevant providers questions, including:
- What are the data sources used?
- What's the quality of the data?
- What relationship does the vendor have with each social network?
- What level of customer support do they offer?
- What are their future development plans?
6. Reporting time frames
Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, campaign related – some metrics need to be tracked more often than others.
You’ll also need reporting results for one-off campaigns, events, seasonal holidays, product launches.
7. Presenting your report
Boring reports won’t be read, while complicated reports won’t be understood or remembered.
Where possible, use graphs, charts, virality maps and word clouds to put life into your reports and add context to your numbers.
Include short descriptions, and examples of the social posts you’re measuring. Finish with takeaways and analysis highlights.
Use a mix of visuals to support and explain your results.
Don’t forget, not everyone gets social media like you. If you show a handful of negative tweets, your boss may panic. Remember context.
Social media reports
What should you be reporting on? Below are some ideas of key elements to consider (including visualization examples from Talkwalker).
- Crisis management
- Share of voice
Coca-Cola is the undisputed king of the fizzy drink jungle, but the roar of Pepsi drowned out Coke in April with 2.4M mentions. What happened to cause this increase in SOV?
- Brand health report
- Social network comparison
Which channels work best for your brand?
- Brand reputation
- Influencer metrics
Track and report changes in sentiment after you’ve implemented a social media campaign.
- Before you start reporting, define your business goals and KPIs
- Choose your social media channels according to which ones your audience favors
- Listen to your audience
- Analyze your top-performing posts
- Measure influencers reach and engagement
- Present your results with clarity
Overwhelmed by social media reporting? Don’t be. Monitor the metrics appropriate to your business, choose the social media reporting tool that gives you the data you need, from the channels you use, and present your insights in a clear, context-driven way.
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