The social media report is probably the biggest challenge for marketing and communications departments and for agencies. Why? Basically, because amid so much community growth, awareness and engagement it’s the type of report that has the greatest chance of being overlooked by bosses and clients.
The fundamental thing, and what you have to be clear about is, showcasing the value of your work and that of your team. Which is why in social media reports, or for any others for that matter, it’s not just about getting good results, it’s about presenting them well. If you go off on tangents, or don’t get your key points across, you’ll devalue your report and your work.
To help you with this I’ve put together five tips to bear in mind when preparing your social media report.
1. Be relevant: use your key metrics
It’s easy to understand, but not so easy to put in practice. We want to show huge amounts of metrics and numbers that support other metrics while at the same time explaining the evolution of what’s happening with the social media strategy. The truth? Nobody wants to understand it. They want to see less numbers and more results.
Look at it this way, if your job depended on just four metrics, what would they be? These are the ones we use, the ones we always use to compare with other periods (for monthly reports) and year-on-year comparisons (for quarterly or annual reports):
- Total number of interactions
- Fan base growth
- Web traffic from social channels
- Mentions on blogs/media on the one hand and social media on the other: there are many tracking tools online that can help you with this.
However, these metrics will depend on your strategy and objectives. The important things is to be clear on what we want to measure and why.
2. Be clear and visual
Tied to what I was saying before, don’t use excessively technical language or attach reports full of analysis and multiple interpretations. And be sure to present data in the most visual way possible. You could use an Excel graph, and image, a PowerPoint presentation… Whatever suits you best. But it’s important to make it very intuitive and to be for it to be understandable at a glance. In the PowerPoint reports generated automatically by Wiselytics we focus on showcasing data in a clear, clean and easily understandable way.
3. Set realistic objectives
Comparing with previous periods helps us analyze how well or badly our actions have gone (excluding seasonal or temporal variables, let’s be professional), but if we don’t set future objectives we won’t have a clear path to follow.Â To do this we need to turn to the much-talked-about KPIs. But, how do we set them? How optimistic should we be or how much should we bow to pressure from our boss?
The first step is precisely to compare with similar periods in the past. Sit down and look at the graphs and draw conclusions: How much did your social community grow over the first quarter of the year compared to this one? What growth percentage did you obtain in number of interactions by your community? Or, how much traffic did you get from social channels in 2015?
And then look at your competition, compare your results with theirs, study their successful actions, see what they’ve done that you haven’t.
These two variables will allow you to set specific KPIs and decide if, for example, a 20% annual growth rate for your community is really achievable.
Set your objectives for the year, but track them as you go. A tip: Always include the figure for your annual objective along with the percentage reached in your monthly, quarterly and half-yearly social media reports. Your client or boss will have approved these goals at the start of the year, and in the end, all they want to see is a percentage figure in green and not in red.
4. Explain concepts clearly
Concepts that for you are probably very obvious, are more difficult to understand for your communications or marketing director or even for your client. We’re so used to talking about “engagement”, “reach” or “virality” that it sounds natural to us. However, you should always try and see the report from another person’s point of view.Â Think about the report’s target audience and, if necessary, include a glossary of terms at the end with all the jargon used for your metrics.
5. Monthly, quarterly or half-yearly reports?
The quarterly, half-yearly and yearly reports all have an essential objective: showcasing your strategy, providing an at-a-glance view, and its effectiveness. However, these types of reports don’t provide a clear daily assessment of your work, or what content works best in your distribution strategy. Social media is constantly changing and what works one month may be old-hat the next.Â Ideally you should strike a balance between the two types of report. The weekly report is best for your Community Manager for assessing the effectiveness of their actions, however, for the Social Manager reporting to the head of communications or marketing, the monthly or quarterly report enables them to easily present long term strategy results.
And that’s it! These are the basics of what should be included in your social media report.
Do you want to add anything? Are other metrics more important for you? Share with us and we’ll gladly discuss it 😉