If brands have learned anything in 2023, it’s that social media is critical to survive, thrive, and grow — and a social media report is crucial to the process.
Sometimes, especially when a business is new to using social media for marketing, 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 social media data, you can explore everything from channel value and ROI, to strategy and project planning with key stakeholders who make everything happen.
Broadly, social media reporting is the act of monitoring and sharing data and other relevant results from your social media accounts and campaigns. However, social media reporting gets granular — brands can (and should) look at content specific to campaigns, larger marketing or sales objectives, and specific account metrics.
With this in mind, brands might choose to do many forms of social reporting based on their goals, and who they share data with. For example — is your brand trying to reach a new demographic on social? You might want to use social listening to monitor brand or product mentions from this group to learn more about how your brand is perceived.
At the start of any social reporting initiative, 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 social media report with — you guessed it — the infamous five Ws. Before creating a social report, ask yourself:
Like any good marketing campaign, your social media report needs to target a specific audience — a finely tuned social strategy can’t reach everyone, every time.
First, consider who will read the report or who you’ll present it to. This should inform the data you include, the style and structure of your document, and the cadence of your social reporting schedule. For example, if you share 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 report to senior management, you should focus on high-level data points and how they relate to the company’s bottom line.
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 social 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 align with and support your brand goals overall.
How often you create a social 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 yearly should suffice. It can also be beneficial to report on the progress of individual campaigns, particularly if an aspect of a campaign is different from your usual content or schedule.
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 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.
Once you gather your data, you’ll have a better picture of what direction to take your strategy in and should outline this in your social media report accordingly. Be as thorough as possible so your audience has proper expectations 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 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).
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 lead.
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.
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.
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:
When you’re finished with 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.
Social media is a visual platform, which means your final social media report should have polished tables and graphs, as well as examples from your feed. You’ve put work into reporting your success, so be sure the data is as compelling as possible — nobody wants to spend 30 minutes looking at numerals.
Remember those weekly and monthly reports we mentioned earlier? Dash Hudson lets you create custom Dashboards that pull in all the data you need — and none of the data you don’t need. Sleek visuals? Check. Accurate data? Check. Expertly organized? Check again.
Benchmarks are another huge asset to social media reports — Competitive Insights and Benchmarking let you compare your success and data to your competitors, so you can refine your goal and see how your brand stacks up in your industry.
Creating a social media report can take many forms — you might decide to look at analytics in your native app, or create an Excel sheet to track engagement, clicks, and more. However, as your social account, strategy, and tactics grow, so should your reports.
Brands can create custom social media reports with Dash Hudson or other social media software that lets you publish, talk to your community, and pull in data and insights.
The KPIs you decide to monitor will depend on your goals and strategy. For example, are you trying to increase brand awareness? Your goals might center on follower growth and positive sentiment analysis from social listening reports. However, there are some basic KPIs most social marketers will track and report during their career — these include:
Social media reporting is essential to know what parts of your strategy work, where you need to pivot, and of course, which content resonates best with your audience. For example, if a brand continuously produces one style of visual content and doesn’t see follower or engagement growth, a social report can help you see where users navigate away from your page and become disinterested. Plus, social reports are often essential to make a case for pivoting in your strategy — data is helpful for the wider team to know why developing a new visual style is crucial for your social efforts.