How to Create Proper Social Media Reports

By: Raul Harman

With the rise of social media users, companies are enhancing their social media spend. They are ready to invest more in a solid social media strategy that will put them in front of the right audiences and boost their sales. Unsurprisingly, when hiring social media professionals, they want to understand how profitable their strategies are and what their return on investment will be.

In other words, building an amazing social media marketing campaign for a client is only half the job done. The other half is demonstrating how much value you brought to them. And, this is where creating a detailed social media report shines.

Why do social media reports matter and how to get the most out of them? Let’s find out!

Why are Social Media Reports Important?

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As a social media manager, you should never assume that a client understands how social media marketing works or what your responsibilities include. All they care about is results. No matter how hard you try, if they don’t see the figures they expected, they may assume that you are not cut out for your job. It is up to you to educate your clients and prove your value. This is exactly where social media reports shine. They have numerous benefits and here are some of them:

Communicating with a Client Consistently

Social media reporting lets you interact with a client regularly. By setting the right reporting frequency and sending consistent reports, you will build your clients’ trust and keep them informed about their campaign progress. Client reporting is one of the simplest ways to build transparent relationships with a client and strengthen your collaboration in the future.

Educating a Client

Like I have mentioned above, most of your clients have little or no social media marketing knowledge. That is why they may set unrealistic goals and expectations. Sending simple and understandable social media reports has a great educational value. Use reports to simplify the social media marketing concept to your clients. Provide simple explanations and write comments and insights. Once you teach them what each KPI means and why it matters to them, it will be easier for you to justify your tactics in the future and align your strategy with your clients’ expectations.

Maximizing Reporting Transparency

In the fierce social media landscape, your goal is to show that a client’s poor performance is not caused by your lack of knowledge. This is exactly why you need to track the right metrics and present your data in an easily understandable manner. For example, if your clients’ social media sales are dropping due to slow sales months, make sure this is visible in your reports.

Alternatively, social media reporting gives you credit. For example, if your social media marketing tactics are helping clients have a fantastic sales month, let them know that.

Align Social Media Reports with Clients’ Expectations

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When it comes to creating a social media report, context is everything. To get the most out of your reporting process, you first need to know who your clients are and what their specific needs and problems are.

Understand your Target Audience

For starters, it is important to understand who you are creating reports for. Are you sending them to senior management, sales and marketing team leaders, customer support, etc.? Logically, different teams will have different requirements.

For example, senior managers will not want to waste time reading a detailed, 10-page performance report. They don’t necessarily care about the number of likes per post or social media mentions. A CEO of the company doesn’t know a lot about individual social media marketing metrics and KPIs, so keep your reports concise and straightforward. Focus on what they care the most – where their campaigns stand, as opposed to their goals and, of course, the campaign ROI.

On the other hand, sales and marketing teams will expect a more granular approach to reporting. They will want you to include all relevant KPIs and provide detailed explanations and insights so they can act on them in the future.

Set the Right Reporting Goals

Before creating a social media report, you need to talk to a client about their goals. What do they want to achieve by investing in social media marketing? For example, do they want to boost organic website traffic, increase sales, enhance user engagement, or generate more qualified leads? You don’t even have to be a digital marketing expert to understand that each of these goals requires a set of different tactics. Above all, the goals you set directly impact your client reporting processes. Namely, campaign goals dictate what metrics you will measure. Precisely because of that, you should keep your social media marketing goals SMART:

  • Specific: Do a goal applies to a specific problem a client wants to solve?
  • Measurable: Can you track and measure your goals’ progress?
  • Actionable: Do the goals you set improve a client’s social media performance?
  • Realistic: How achievable and reasonable the goals are.
  • Timely: You should always set clear time frames. Too broad reporting periods will confuse both you and your clients, preventing you to track the performance of your campaigns proactively.

Now, chances are a client will have unrealistic goals and expectations. Talk to them. Explain the philosophy behind setting SMART goals and pinpoint the problems that may occur if they set unattainable or immeasurable goals with no specific time frame.

Choose the Right Metrics to Track

Metrics are the core building blocks of your social media report. Each of them serves a specific purpose, so you need to cherry-pick them carefully. Just like with setting goals, you and your clients need to be on the same wavelength. Talk to them and try to determine what kind of data matters to them.

The idea is to talk to your clients honestly. If they won’t stop fixating on vanity metrics, you need to explain where they are wrong. Educate the client to understand what metrics align with their specific goals and teach them how to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Optimize your Reporting Frequency

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One of the most important aspects of creating solid client reports is consistency. Your clients’ inboxes are packed with emails from the agencies they collaborate with. Therefore, when seeing an email from you, they will want to know what they can expect when opening it.

For starters, you will need to ask a client how frequently they would like to receive social media reports. In terms of reporting frequency, there are a few types of reports to create – daily dashboards, weekly reports, and monthly reports.

Daily Dashboards

Building intuitive daily dashboards is immensely important for any social media manager. It gives you the opportunity to track client data in real-time and identify any problems or trends right away. For example, you could use daily dashboards to track the increase or decrease in clients’ Facebook followers. If a client’s content has had a major increase or decrease in engagement levels or a popular social media influencer has started following them, you will learn that almost immediately. Daily dashboards let you make faster and more informed decisions, as they let you track target audience sentiment and your client’s major competitors, too.

Weekly Reports

Even though monthly reports remain the most popular form of reports, sending client reports in shorter intervals can boost client satisfaction on multiple levels. Sending reports weekly is particularly important to those clients that are in the hectic niches that change continuously. Weekly reports increase communication transparency, keep clients informed, and build trust with them.

For example, your weekly report could include the latest acquisition data, engagement data, conversion data, as well as customer retention data.

Monthly Reports

Monthly reports support the above mentioned weekly reports. For instance, they can show whether the data presented in weekly reports are isolated phenomena that have had a short-term impact on your social media strategy or important trends you should pay more attention to.

A monthly report should include a client’s performance right now vs. their social media performance during the last month; their performance compared to the same month from the last year, etc. The main mistake with monthly reports lies in the amount of data you want to present. To avoid overwhelming a client, include only the most important metrics and provide simple explanations to back your data up.

Choose a Reliable Social Media Reporting Tool

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To track the right metrics and develop data-oriented reports, you first need to invest in the right analytics tools. For starters, you could rely on the analytics dashboards social media providers offer, such as Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Instagram Insights, Pinterest Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics. Most of these tools also let you export your analytics data into .xls or .csv formats.

Next, there are many third-party social media analytics tools to invest in, both free and paid. Some of them are Buffer Analyze, Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Talkwalker, Keyhole, and Google Analytics.

The list of popular social media analytics tools goes on and on. Sure, you should experiment with different tools and features until you find the one that meets your needs the best. However, keep in mind that you will need to create diverse strategies for each client and track separate metrics. Logically, you will need to combine different tools and create and monitor multiple digital marketing dashboards simultaneously. Next, you would need to export client data from multiple tools into spreadsheets and, then, create customized reports manually.

This is an extremely time-consuming practice. Fortunately, you can centralize your most important social media marketing tools under automated reporting software. Digital marketing reporting tools let you combine the features from multiple tools and create targeted dashboards for each client. This way, you can choose what metrics to include in your social media marketing reports and keep track of your most significant KPIs in real-time. Above all, you can design reporting templates for each client and send reports automatically to build more consistent relationships with clients.

Keep the Design of your Reports Simple

If you want clients to read your reports and look forward to opening them, you need to invest in their design. Nothing frustrates a busy client like a massive chunk of text, accompanied by lots of complicated statistics, numbers, and industry jargon.

The design of your reports plays a fundamental role here. Choose pleasant colors, add a lot of white space, and pick legible typography to make your content easier to follow. Most importantly, visualize your data. Create unique charts, diagrams, and graphs to make your data easier to understand and memorize.

Still, remember that your content should always be in focus. Don’t try to over-embellish it. Colors, animations, and layouts are here to support your text and make it easily digestible. Always try to find the right ratio when it comes to combining textual elements with visual ones.

Finally, pay attention to your writing language. Don’t use complicated industry terminology. Instead, always provide explanations for the metrics you include in your reports. Keep your sentences short and simple and your language easy to understand.

Over to You

Just because you are exporting a bunch of data into Excel spreadsheets and sending them to your clients doesn’t mean you are delivering value to them. To engage your clients and encourage them to open your reports, you need to set clear goals and set the most important metrics. Then, you need to choose the right client reporting frequency and align the writing style and design of your reports to your clients’ specific needs. Creating customized and client-centric reports will gain clients’ trust, strengthen your relationship, and prove your value.

How do you create social media reports?

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