Social media has become central to any digital marketing strategy. No matter what type of business you’re in, you can be sure that most of your customers are using sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Having a Facebook page today has become as important as having a website. With so many social media platforms and features, it becomes even more challenging to accurately track your results. Social media reporting is an essential, though sometimes underappreciated aspect of the equation.
Of course, social listening, analytics and management platforms like Meltwater Social can do a lot of the heavy lifting of social media reporting for you, leaving you free to focus on more creative tasks. But if you’re not yet ready to invest in a social marketing platform, this guide explains everything you need to know about social media reporting using the native tools available in the leading channels.
Why Social Media Reports are Essential
Tracking and reporting on your social media activities is crucial for several reasons.
- For agencies, reports are necessary to show your clients what you’ve accomplished on their behalf.
- If you’re on a social media team, reports are needed to show your boss or manager exactly what you’re doing.
- Reports are useful for yourself and other team members to indicate where you’re succeeding and where you need to make changes.
What You Need to Consider for Social Media Reports
Before you put together social media reports, you need to decide what you want to measure. The goal isn’t to simply have an official-looking report to pass around but to come up with relevant and actionable information. There is no one template for a social media report as you’ll likely need to create many kinds of reports for different perspectives or purposes. Here are some questions to ask yourself when creating any social media report.
- What is the purpose of the report? It could be to measure the results of a specific campaign, overall engagement on Instagram or how many new followers were acquired on Facebook. Defining your goals ensures that you stay focused on the right metrics and don’t stray from what is needed.
- What period are you covering? Any report needs to cover a specific period. You may be creating weekly, monthly, or quarterly reports. There are also reports that measure progress over longer periods, such as starting from the time the social media account was opened.
- Who is the report for? It may be for your manager, a client or for your team to reference. Keeping this in mind helps you remember the needs of whoever will be reading the report. For example, if it’s for a boss who isn’t familiar with social media metrics, be sure to spell out terms that you use. You may also specify certain conclusions geared to the recipient’s needs.
- What are you measuring? You need to know which metrics to include, such as followers, shares, retweets, click-throughs, or signups. This is closely connected to the report’s goal. If you want to determine how successful a campaign is for getting new subscribers to a newsletter, counting new followers isn’t directly relevant.
Once you’ve answered these questions, you’re ready to start compiling your report. There are various services and apps, both free and paid, that let you identify social media metrics. You can find many numbers from the platforms’ own analytics such as Facebook Insights. The following are some guidelines on where to find the most common metrics on the biggest social media platforms.
Facebook Page Insights and Facebook Audience
Facebook has two tools for gathering data. Each is valuable for certain tasks. Facebook Page Insights is the simplest way to look up key metrics for your Facebook Page, such as:
- The number of people reached
- Post clicks
- Engagement such as likes, comments and shares
- Video views
The Overview gives you a quick view of everything that’s happening on your Facebook page. You can set it for different periods such as the previous day, the last 7 days or the last 28 days. If your report is focused on Page performance, you can usually get everything you need right here.
Facebook Audience Insights lets you look at the demographics of Facebook in general as well as for your own page. You can identify the age, gender, location, income, interests, education and other important data about your followers. This information is extremely valuable for planning ad campaigns as well as organic content. Advanced Insight Filters let you drill down even further and let you look at relationship status, job title, ethnicity, political affiliation and more. You can use Audience Insights to create reports for market research or to plan ad campaigns. It allows you to identify new audiences to target for all Facebook activity, including organic posts and ads.
Since Instagram is owned by Facebook, paid ads on Instagram can be tracked through Facebook Ad Manager. Other metrics, however, can be found on Instagram Analytics. Here are some of the metrics you can look at here and compile into reports.
- Profile visits.
- Click-throughs to a website or landing page.
- Impressions -The total number of times your posts have been seen.
- Reach – How many unique users have seen your posts.
- Interactions – Includes profile visits, link clicks in your bio and users who have requested directions for physical businesses.
- Clicks on Call or Email links.
You can also gather metrics for individual posts such as the reach, impressions, comments and new follows generated by individual posts. In addition to the above basic metrics, Instagram also lets you track some other valuable data.
Instagram Audience Analytics, like Facebook Audience Insights, provides information about the demographics of your followers and others who interact with your posts. It reveals the location, age, gender and other facts about your audience. It also shows the times of day and days of the week when your followers are most active.
If you use Instagram Stories, which are a powerful way to increase your engagement, you can use Instagram Stories Analytics to track reach, impressions and other metrics connected to this feature. You can also track exits, which let you know how many users leave your Stories before the end.
Finally, there are IGTV Analytics, for anyone who uses Instagram’s video platform. This feature isn’t quite as popular as others such as Stories but it’s a growing video marketing tool that can be used to showcase longer videos.
The first place to look to track your results on Twitter is Twitter Analytics, which shows you metrics such as:
- Top Tweets – Learn which tweets provide the most engagement.
- Impressions – You can see the performance of individual tweets as well as overall impressions over the last 28 days or going months back.
- Profile Visits
- Follower Growth
- Campaign Dashboard – Track your ad performance. There are also tools for conversion tracking so you can measure the actions people took after clicking on your ad.
LinkedIn Page Analytics
LinkedIn is another social media platform that provides its own analytics tool. If you’re involved in B2B marketing, you should certainly be using LinkedIn.
- Page Visits – Find out how many users have visited your page. You can also identify the devices visitors are using.
- Followers – Demographics about followers on LinkedIn is mainly about professional status such as job title, companies and location of the business.
- Engagement – As with other social sites, you can measure metrics such as impressions, clicks and comments.
- Content Suggestions – LinkedIn has a feature that recommends the kind of content to publish to get more engagement. This can be useful material to include in a report.
Types of Useful Social Media Reports
The above are examples of common types of data you can gather from social media platforms. If you use more sophisticated tools or outsource the task to an agency, you can get an even wider range of data. As noted, it is important to have a goal for your reports. Oftentimes, your client or boss isn’t a social media expert and needs guidance on what to look for and measure. It’s up to you to create reports that are relevant, actionable and easy to understand. The following are some examples of reports you may want to create.
- Follower Growth – Included in this category are Facebook Page likes or “fans” (Facebook no longer uses that term but it’s still commonly used) and LinkedIn contacts. Followers are the simplest metric to track and certainly don’t tell the whole story about the health of your social media strategy. Nevertheless, the number of followers does matter and it’s something that everyone can understand. List the number of followers increased as well as the percentage growth, as in “Last quarter, our Facebook page acquired 225 likes, an increase of 35% over the previous quarter.”
- Reach – This is an important metric as it indicates how many people actually see your content.
- Engagement – One of the most crucial metrics of all as it indicates that people are interested in content and interacting with it. Engagement includes likes, shares, clicks, retweets or any type of action taken on a post. The simplest type of report would be total engagement on a particular platform, such as “We had a total of 550 engagements on Instagram in July.”
- Lead Generation – A “lead gen” report can reveal how many new leads you’ve acquired from a social media campaign. You can also measure the number of leads you’ve acquired from a certain site over a given period. You can also calculate the number of followers who turn into leads. With paid ad campaigns, you can calculate the number of people who took action, such as signing up for a list or claiming a free trial. Google Analytics is useful to measure traffic to your website from social media.
Format for a Social Media Report
Part of social media reporting is the format, organization and appearance of the report. You have to put it together in a way that’s clear and accessible to whoever is going to read it. You have to decide what kind of file type to use. A PDF is convenient for sharing with team members, managers or clients as you can simply attach it to an email. Another option is to save your report as an Excel spreadsheet. This, however, is only good for data and you’ll have to include any text in a separate document. If you’re going to give a presentation, a slideshow in PowerPoint or Google Slides format is useful. You can, of course, create multiple formats for different purposes.
You can describe data but it’s easier for people to see it in a visual format. You can make charts and graphs with bright colors to illustrate key points. For example, if you want to show how Instagram engagement has grown over the last month, you can show this in a graph using a bright color to illustrate the growth. As some people are more visual and others more verbal, there is nothing wrong with providing information in both text and visual form in the same report.
Sections to Include
A social media report is largely about data but you can also have other sections, such as:
- Summary – Here is where you discuss your overall strategy and what you’ve accomplished over the last week, month or quarter. You might also call this section “Growth,” “Wins,” or “Accomplishments.”
- Insights and Takeaways – After supplying the information, you can clarify it by pointing out the key conclusions. You might say something like, “Views for Instagram Stories were up 25%, indicating a strong interest in the topics. However, the 43% exit rate suggests that we need to work on presentation so viewers stay until the end. We’ll be testing some different approaches in the coming weeks.”
- Opportunities – This is a section to point out new possible strategies for the future. For example, you might suggest using a new platform where the target audience is active.
Use Social Media Reporting to Enhance Your Marketing Strategy
Reporting is an important element of any social media strategy. You need clear and accurate reports that show you both the successes and shortcomings of your efforts. In addition to reporting metrics, be sure to interpret your numbers and look for clues on how you can keep improving your results. Additionally, make sure your reports are designed so they are understandable to whoever reads them.
Meltwater Social makes social media reporting easy. Pull together data from all of your social channels in a single, simple interface, create reports automatically, on daily, weekly, or monthly basis, and share them with stakeholders at the click of a button. Book a demo so we can show you just how easy it is!