How to Approach Social Media Reporting
You have set in motion a social media strategy, implemented it and published a month’s worth of social content. Now comes the hardest part: evaluating what you have done.
Social media reporting is not rocket science, as most of us would have learned to write summaries and reports in school. But it takes more than just recording facts and paraphrasing words to master the art of reporting.
In the following, I have ironed out some principles and guidelines for doing social media reporting. While the guidelines are geared towards social media, you can also apply these principles to other types of reports.
1. Think of it as a story
All reports should tell a story; You are piecing the data to form a coherent narrative. It could be a story of how people discovered your website through an ad, or why a piece of content you were betting on to succeed failed to meet expectations.
By aiming to form a narrative for your report, you will instinctively ask yourself the 5Ws and 1H (who, what, when, where, why and how), this guides you in seeking out the right questions for your report and addressing them.
2. Outline Your Objectives Clearly
As with any story, you will need to set the premise right – What exactly are you reporting? I am sometimes guilty of skipping the objectives when reading a report, but its importance is the reason why it usually appears at the start.
Without setting clear objectives, you will not be able to look into the right areas, ask yourself the right questions, and come up with a decent analysis.
3. Measure the right metrics
You may have been wondering why it takes half of an article to mention social media metrics since this is an article on social media reporting.
Without the right objectives (Going back to the point on outlining your objectives clearly), you won’t be able to determine the right metrics to measure.
While there are many useful sites that may tell you what metrics you should measure, make it a point to understand what a particular metric means for you – Is fan count a representation of your market share, or simply just a vanity number? Most importantly, how do the metrics tie back to your business objectives.
4. Know who is reading your report
Knowing your audience is an important skill every marketer should possess, and this trait of yours shouldn’t be taking a backseat while doing reporting. Knowing who is reading the report helps you to structure what needs to be highlighted, what needs addressing, and how you are looking to solve the issue.
Adopt an inverted pyramid style of writing by placing the crucial point first, followed by an explanation and other details.
5. Show, not tell.
Are you slapping on pie charts and bar graphs for aesthetic purposes? Is the graph illustrating a point you want to address?
Illustrate contrasts, trajectories, or predictions with the help of visual aids. After all, we are all visual creatures, and a well-thought-out visual can help us understand better than text.
The art of creating a meaningful report is such that every sentence, image, graph serves to build a story you are trying to tell. Feel free to share your approaches by commenting below.