One reason why most startups fail is the absence of progress tracking. The difference between successful and unsuccessful companies is that successful ones track every part of running a business, including their social media marketing.
If you track your progress, you will better understand your company’s marketing performance and make the right changes to improve results. This is why it’s critical to compose social media reports periodically.
In this post, you will learn what a social media report is, the benefits of creating one, and a repeatable step-by-step process you can follow to create yours.
A social media report is a document with data about your social media marketing performance. You can create this report periodically—weekly, monthly, or every few months.
The report can be a simple spreadsheet where you list the metrics, or a PDF with graphs, explanations, comparisons, and branding.
To save you hours creating a social media report every month, here’s a template you can use and get started right away.
You can only judge the effectiveness of your social media marketing strategy if you measure it. So you need to conduct an audit before you start, set a baseline, and make more reports periodically to see if your strategy has a positive or negative impact.
Here are all the benefits of creating a social media report.
Helps you set realistic goals
When you start with an audit, you will know how well your current social media marketing strategy is working. After that, if you look at social media reports from companies like We Are Social, you will know what types of results you can achieve.
You can use the data from these sources to see how much progress you can potentially make over a specific period.
With all this information, you can then set realistic goals. After all, it is better to set conservative goals and over-deliver, instead of setting unrealistic ones. This will prevent you from overworking your team and destroying morale when they don’t reach targets.
Allows you to accurately analyze your strategy
You must have heard of the famous quote, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
This holds true for social media marketing too. Many people just post on social media because they’ve heard about it from others. They post at the same time every week without any clue of whether what they’re doing is working.
But if you make reports every month and compare them with the previous ones, you’ll know if your current strategy is working or not. If it isn’t working, you can modify it immediately and check the results in the following report. This will ensure you generate a positive ROI.
If things don’t work, you can abandon the strategy as Copyblogger did when their Facebook marketing strategy didn’t work.
If you run an agency, you can also use the data you generated from helping one client to create a better one for another. It’ll get you outstanding results faster. Plus, having it in a report form ensures that anyone can use the data, not just the person who ran the campaign for that company.
Ensures you set the proper budget for paid methods
Social media marketing is very different now. Not only is there more competition, but social networks are also constantly modifying their algorithms to restrict reach and engagement. This encourages brands to spend more on ads.
So, if you want to scale results nowadays, you might need to invest in either ads or influencer marketing. You must run these campaigns simultaneously with your organic methods to ensure they complement each other.
If you track your organic progress through reports, you’ll be able to determine how much you need to spend on ads to reach your monthly goals as ads tend to generate quicker results. You won’t overspend on ads or overwork your marketing team to try and reach an impossible target.
Here’s a step-by-step process for creating a social media report.
Step 1. Determine your goals
The most important metrics to track should depend on your current goals. For example, if your goal is to generate more sales from social media, you will need to focus on metrics such as clicks on links, leads, and sales.
On the other hand, if your goal is to boost your brand presence, you can focus on metrics such as impressions and engagement.
In some cases, metrics—such as engagement—which might seem irrelevant to generating sales can have an impact as they help nurture the audience. Also, social networks are introducing social commerce features where sales happen directly on social media. These sales will highly depend on your engagement rates.
Remember to track as many metrics as you can, even if you don’t currently need them. This is because you might change your goals in the future, and other metrics you didn’t track before will suddenly become relevant. The data will help you quickly modify your strategy.
One solution is to track your most important metrics and detail what you observe, while you can have a subsection where you superficially list the less important ones.
Step 2. Figure out who will be reading it
Another way to decide what metrics to include and which ones to highlight is by considering the reader.
For example, if you create a report for the marketing department, they might prefer that it includes more marketing metrics such as follower growth and engagement. In contrast, the sales team might favor conversion-related metrics such as the number of leads, calls, email subscribers, and sales.
Also, how well you explain the metrics will depend on who is viewing it. If the marketing or sales team is viewing it, you won’t need to go into too much detail as they can easily decipher the data themselves.
However, if the Chairman or CEO will read it, they might have no clue why certain metrics matter, especially if they aren’t experts on the subject. You will need to explain things in layman terms so that they can consume them quickly.
Step 3. Make a list of all the crucial metrics
Here are some essential metrics you should consider tracking. You can decide which ones to focus on depending on your goals and audience.
Leads: Different companies consider different things as leads. For some, an email subscriber will be sufficient. At the same time, others will consider a consultation call or a demo as a lead. Check with the company before you track leads.
Sales: Sales can happen directly from your social media marketing campaign or after someone converts into a lead. Tracking leads-to-sales conversion rates will help you measure the quality of the leads you generate. If fewer leads are converting to sales, it’s because you are attracting the wrong people. You’ll need to modify the strategy to attract better leads.
Clicks: There are two types of clicks, link clicks and clicks on other areas of the post. A link click shows that people are clicking on the links you share and this is driving traffic. Other types of clicks include clicks on components of your post such as the photos. This shows that people are interacting with your posts in ways other than likes and comments. You should track both types of clicks.
Traffic: Check how many link clicks generate website traffic, as you might share links that lead to websites other than yours. It’s also essential to know how many website clicks result in conversions or abandonments.
Follower growth: On its own, follower growth can seem like a mere vanity metric. But if you track it with demographics, leads, and sales to see if you are attracting a relevant audience and if follower growth correlates with an increase in revenue, it is a very relevant metric.
Posting frequency: Comparing posting frequency against other metrics such as engagement, sales, and follower growth will help you determine the best frequency and times to post updates. Your aim should be to engage maximum followers while losing the fewest (mutes and unfollows).
Reach: Reach is the number of people that see your posts on social media. Factors such as the number of times you post, how engaging your content is, and how often you post will affect your reach.
Likes, shares, and comments: These crucial engagement metrics often matter more than reach. Reach shows you the number of people who see your posts. But engagement shows you how many of those people interacted with it. Engagements are labeled differently on different networks. For example, a share on Facebook is called Retweet on Twitter and Save on Pinterest.
Views: On a lot of social networks, videos drive the highest engagement. You can experiment with posting videos and measuring their effectiveness with the number of views. You might also want to track other engagement metrics such as likes, shares, and comments.
Best performing posts: Tracking your best performing posts will help you predict what types of posts will do better in the future. You need to see if text, video, or image posts work best. Then, you can create more of the same. You might also want to look at the available post types as on certain networks like Instagram and YouTube, you can publish a wide variety of posts such as Stories, Reels, and feed posts.
ROAS (Return on Ad Spend): Track this metric if you are running ad campaigns. It is the amount of revenue you generate from your ad. It helps you check if your ads are working. Make sure you subtract the cost of the product from your ROAS to calculate the ROI. You can run ads over the long term only if you’re profitable.
Step 4. Unearth data with the right tools
There are a lot of metrics to track, but if you use the right tools, it can save you a lot of time. Here are some you should try.
Website analytics: Ad pixels offered by social network platforms will help you track the performance of your ads. But to generate more data and track organic marketing methods, you should use a separate website analytics tool. There are free tools such as Google Analytics that allow you to analyze traffic from different social channels.
You can also set goals and turn on ecommerce tracking to quickly track the number of leads and sales you generate. To track leads, you can directly check the stats on your email service providers. Many such as Sendinblue make it easy to find the information.
Built-in analytics tools: To track your activities on social networks, you can use the free analytics they offer. Here you can see your best-performing posts, impressions, engagement rates, and audience demographics.
If it takes you a lot of time to log in to each network and note the data, you can use dashboard software that connects to different social media. A popular one is Databox. This will help you view metrics from all your social media in one place.
Third-party analytics: Another option is to use third-party analytics software to help find the data. These tools can help you find more information and even compare activities between different social networks to see which one’s getting the best results.
A couple of good third-party analytics tools are SocialBakers and Brandwatch. The main problem with most of these tools is that they can be expensive. But you might be able to get some basic analytics in affordable scheduling software.
Some software will even automatically generate all the necessary metrics and white label it with your branding.
Link tracking tools: Link tracking tools help you better measure the traffic from different sources. You’ll not only see which social network got you the best results, but also which individual posts did. For this, you can use a tool like ClickMagick. A free alternative is to use UTM parameters in your different URLs.
Step 5. Compile them into a document and submit
After gathering the data with the right software, you can place them in a document such as a spreadsheet or PDF.
A PDF is a better option as you can brand it with your logo or your clients’ logo and make it look more professional. You will also have space to explain the different data points. You might even want to add graphs that help visualize the data. Simply take screenshots from the analytics tools or use software like Photoshop to create unique charts.
If you run an agency, it is better to create custom graphs to look more professional.
Step 6. Decide when to repeat the process
Once you create your first social media report template, you need to plan your future ones. Decide beforehand how often you’ll do this. The ideal time is once a month. Anything less than that, and you won’t have sufficient data to measure. You might also want to do a full audit every 3 to 6 months to unearth many more metrics.
Now create your social media report
73% of businesses use social media. But most only post updates and hope it works. Very few companies meticulously track every tiny bit to see if they’re making progress.
If you want to be among the businesses that find success with their social media marketing, follow the above steps and create reports periodically. It’s a lot of work, I know. So, to make it easy, I made this social media report template you can adapt for your business. It will shave hours off every month.
Download it now!
If you are looking for tools to help you manage your social media and track your analytics, you should check out the AppSumo store. We have several affordable lifetime and annual deals on some of the top software.