If brands have learned anything in 2020, it’s that social media is critical to survive, thrive, and grow. But sometimes, especially when social is new to a business, it can be tricky to get traction on creative campaigns and financial support from top decision-makers. That’s when creating a social media report can become your greatest asset. With the right content, structure, and data, you can explore everything from channel value and ROI, to strategy and project planning with key stakeholders who make everything happen.
Ready. Set. Report.
The Five Ws of Social Media Reporting
At the start of any social media endeavor, whether you’re a social marketing professional or managing a larger department that’s recently added social into the fold, it’s important to guide your report with—you guessed it—the infamous five Ws. Ask yourself:
- Who is the audience for this report?
- What are my social media goals?
- When (and how often) do I want to report?
- Where should I source my data from?
- Why is this information important to my business?
Step One: Determine Your Audience
Like any good marketing campaign, your report needs to be targeted at a specific audience. First consider who will be reading the report or who you’re presenting it to. This should inform the data you include, the style and structure of your document, and the cadence of your reporting schedule. For example, if you’re sharing the report with your creative team, you’ll likely want to include stats about campaigns, get granular on individual post performance, and share actionable insights on a frequent basis. If you’re reporting to senior management, you should focus on high-level data points and how they relate to the company’s bottom line.
Step Two: Consider Your Goals
Not every marketer uses social media in the same way. Product-based businesses are almost exclusively tapping into selling potential while those focused on services tend to prioritize awareness. This could mean honing in on stats for engagement, web traffic, and click-through rate to emphasize value for sales, or organic reach, effectiveness, and growth rate to prove the power of your following. Depending on your reporting cadence, you might want to zone in on the goals for individual campaigns and channels, or speak to how the results of every social channel aligns with and supports your brand goals overall.
Step Three: Set Your Cadence
How often you create a social media report depends on your position and the outcome of steps one and two. As a general best practice, social media professionals should share reports within the team on a weekly or monthly basis to understand how their efforts are paying off and adjust the strategy accordingly. At the senior level, once per quarter or even once per year should suffice. It can also be beneficial to report on the progress of individual campaigns, particularly if an aspect of a campaign is different to your usual content or schedule.
Step Four: Source Your Data
Every social channel has its own version of native analytics, including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, and TikTok, and you can find all the data you need within each of these apps. Alternatively, there are several social media analytics tools that can save you time and aggregate the important information for you. Dash Hudson’s Instagram and Pinterest Insights give you a complete snapshot of your stats with an easy-to-download CSV (a social marketer’s best friend) or PDF. You can filter, sort, and dig deep into the numbers for a perfectly organized, accurate report.
Step Five: Action Items
Once you’ve gathered the data, you’ll have a better picture of what direction to take your strategy in and should outline this in your report accordingly. Be as thorough as possible so your audience has proper expectations set for what will occur between now and your next report. What successes are you going to build on and what are you going to change to better meet your goals? Include recommendations, dates, and timelines whenever possible. This is really what your reporting efforts are all about: providing evidence to those who need it that the work you’re doing is important, effective, and valuable (and that you’re willing to scrap or build on the areas that aren’t quite working yet).
How to Nail the Overview
Every social media report should start with an overview. It might be tempting to save the best bits of information for last—in some cases, it works to your advantage to create a narrative arc and build up to a big “ta-da” moment that wows the room. In this case, don’t bury your lede. Provide all the high-level data upfront and follow with a breakdown of the details for those who need it. Here’s where you can show how much your KPIs have increased or declined since your last report, whether that’s month over month, quarter over quarter, or year over year. For channels like Instagram and Facebook this should include:
- Total number of posts
- Total number of likes
- Total number of comments
- Average engagement rate
- Average post and story impressions
- Organic reach
- Net new followers
- Profile views
- Email, phone call, and website clicks
On channels with slightly different metrics like Twitter, Pinterest, and TikTok, you’ll also want to include Pins, retweets, duets, etc—whatever the channel equivalent is of a “like” or important interaction with your content.
Analysis and Insights
The analysis section is your time to shine. Highlight your top-performing posts, single out trends in captions or images, showcase campaigns that resonated, and detail how your fans responded to content. It’s also a great time to benchmark your current numbers against not only your historic performance, but industry averages set by the world’s most important brands. Show your audience how you stack up to the competition and how you plan to set yourself apart. You’ll want to capture as much relevant data as you can here, including:
- Follower growth trends
- Breakdown of followers by demographic (age, region, gender)
- Post performance including engagement, effectiveness, impressions, reach, and saves
- Top posts by KPI
- Performance of user-generated content including organic reach, number of posts, photo tags, and @mentions
- Story performance and cadence including number of cards, replies, impressions, and exit rate
- LikeShop performance including page views, number of clicks, and click-through rate
- Influencer relationships including number of posts, followers gained, and earned media value
An Artful Conclusion
When you’re finished your analysis, summarize the most important takeaways—especially those that pertain to your action items. You have all this data, but what does it actually mean? Demonstrate your understanding of the results, including what you learned, why you feel the final outcome occurred (whether or not it was positive or negative), and what you need from your audience from budget increases to project deliverables. Oh, and make it look good. Nobody wants to spend 30 minutes looking at numerals. Social media is a visual platform, which means your final report should have polished tables and graphs, as well as examples from your feed.
Reporting Made Simple
Remember those weekly and monthly reports we mentioned earlier? Dash Hudson can automatically generate these for you in a beautiful PDF presentation. Sleek visuals? Check. Accurate data? Check. Expertly organized? You’ve got yourself a hat trick. We do all the number crunching, you get all the credit. Happy reporting!
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