Social Media and the Dreaded Monthly Report

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  • 8/28/2018

    It’s the end of the month, and your boss comes to you and asks you for the dreaded “R” word… a report. He or she wants a report on last month’s social media numbers and wants to know what could be changed for next month. You, the social media guru, start to panic even though you know what metrics you look at consistently, and you start asking the following questions:

    • What metrics and key performance indicators will the C-suite want?
    • How am I going to display this?
    • Will the C-suite understand the definitions of each metric for each channel?
    • How in depth do I need to go?

    All questions are valid, but no need to panic. We can help you create a simple and effective social media report.

    First, you need to decide what KPIs and metrics you are going to pull to measure against your goals. Each social channel has metrics that are more important than others, but overall the channels provide the same primary data points

    Likes and Follows

    Likes and follows are sometimes considered “vanity metrics,” but these are still important. This information can reflect brand awareness, potential reach and show whether or not people like your company and content enough to follow you. Evaluating these numbers can help give you an idea of whether or not your social media strategy is working.

    You will know it is working when you see an upward drive in likes and follows. This means people are liking the brand and the content you are putting out. These metrics will go hand in hand with post engagement. If you are seeing more shares on a post, there is a chance more likes and follows will come your way too.

    Conversely, there are also unlikes or unfollows. A downward spike in these metrics can mean you are doing something your audience does not like or the content or branding you are pushing out is not resonating. You could be putting out the wrong type of content, or your product or service is not living up to the quality expectations you set before.

    Reach and Impressions

    Reach and impressions pertain to the number of people who have seen your post. Reach is the number of unique users that saw your post on any given day. Impressions are the number of times a post from your page is displayed, whether the post is clicked or not. This is important to have in your report because it helps you understand your posts’ visibility beyond the number of followers you have. This also helps put the number of people who have engaged with your post into perspective. Note, these numbers will fluctuate. This will begin to paint the picture of what content works best with your audience and if your strategy or content needs to change.

    Post Engagement

    One of the most important and useful metrics is the number of engagements your accounts have gathered. Engagement can be broken down in many different ways, including engagement per post, engagement per follower and total engagement. Engagement is about the relevancy of your content to your current audience

    Analyze the quantity and type of engagement your social media content receives. Include clicks, comments and shares in your analysis, but don’t forget to review negative post engagement metrics where possible as this impacts future content reach depending on the channel’s algorithm. Recognize which channels are performing well for your brand. Highlight posts doing better than average.

    Posts that are considered to be doing better than average are the ones with large amounts of engagement. This would include in the neighborhood of more than double the average amount of likes, comments or shares you would normally receive on a post. Highlighting the posts that do extremely well will give insight as to what kind of content your audience wants to see.

    Identify pain points, such as few likes or negative comments, so you can act to make incremental improvements. Looking at posts that did not perform well will give you an idea of what kind of posts don’t work with your audience. This will help you plan for future content your audience will like and interact with.

    Another metric that can help you visualize if your post engagement is good or bad is the engagement rate. Engagement rate can be calculated but adding the number of likes, comments and shares and then dividing by the total number of followers you have on that channel.

    Video Views

    Videos have been on a huge upward spike the last two years and will continue to grow in the next few also. With that being said, video views are a very important metric, especially if you are a company that puts out a lot of video content. Video views are counted after a user has watched a video for a certain number of seconds. For Facebook and Instagram, viewing only three seconds of a video of any length is considered a view. For YouTube, it’s “around” 30 seconds.

    Link Clicks

    Along with post engagement, links are important if you are trying to drive traffic to your website or a specific landing page. Link clicks will tell you if your consumers are actually going to the website you want, whether that be a blog, a landing page for an event or a product page.

    A good way to help track link clicks is through Google Analytics. In Google Analytics (GA), you can see where the traffic on your website comes from and which social platform helped drive people there. You will notice the number of link clicks on your social platform may not completely match the number on GA, and that is okay. These may be off slightly; so, just mentally average the number.

    As you can see, we get most of our traffic from LinkedIn. Adding GA is a good way to help you determine where links work best with your audience.


    Another metric that will help you determine what is best for your audience is demographics. Demographics can include age, gender, location, career level and industry. Knowing the most recent demographics for your social media channels is important for investing and being strategic about its social media efforts. This knowledge should inform planning, messaging and implementation.

    Now What?

    Now that you’ve picked your metrics and KPIs based on your business goals, you just have to put all that info into the program or service you are using to report. The second thing you need to do is decide where you are going to store this report and track long-term data. You have a couple options.

    You can do a simple Excel spreadsheet with each social media channel as a tab. You can create a Google Data Studio report, make it all fancy and manually add in all of your numbers. If you don’t mind spending a little money, you can purchase plugins for Google Data Studio that will pull some metrics automatically, or you could use a social media reporting website where you get automated reports.

    We have used all of the options outlined and each has its pros and cons, but we have noticed that some work better for certain clients and others not so much. It will all depend on how in-depth your boss wants you to get. If they want graphs and charts, a Data Studio report will probably be the best. If they just want to see the numbers, a simple Excel document will do.

    Reporting each month should not be the dreaded assignment everyone thinks it is. Put together a simple reporting plan using these tips and you will be able to run through reports faster than Usain Bolt.

    About the author::Danyelle Kupfer is the Social Media Specialist at thunder::tech. She helps plan, execute and manage various clients’ social media accounts and thunder::tech marketing productions. She enjoys her dog, ice cream and loves dad jokes more than dads.
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