Social Media Reporting: Where To Start

By now, being active in social media is pretty much table stakes for most modern companies and brands. But just being in social media isn’t enough. You have to learn from what you’re doing in social media so that you can continuously grow and get better. And the best way to learn is from reporting on what you’ve been doing and learning from what those reports tell you. Jason wrote a great post on why reporting on your social efforts is so important just last week.

While reporting is going to be crucial for your company so that you can get better, you first need to know what you’re going to report on so that you can learn from your efforts.

 

Start with knowing why you brand is active on social media

Getting involved in social media just to say that your company has a social media presence is not really a reason to be there. You should have clearly defined reasons for why you’re using social media.

For some companies, these reasons are going to be as simple as “create more awareness for our brand” or “to provide assistance for our customers on a channel that is easy for them.” Other reasons companies may get into social might include things like “to increase sales of our product/service” which can sometimes be a bit harder to measure, but not impossible.

By knowing your actual reason for getting involved in social will help you determine your goals and those will set you on the proper track to know what report on towards those goals.

Think about why your company is in social media in the first place

Create social media goals to compliment your reasons for being involved in social media

Once you know why you’re getting involved in social media it’s time to set some goals. Goals are going to help you set clear expectations for those reasons you’ve gotten into social media. More importantly, setting goals is going to help you to know if you’re achieving on your overall reasons for being in social media.

Goals for social media should be S.M.A.R.T. This is a simple acronym that means your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. So, for example, you want to get into social media so you can increase the public awareness of your brand, you should have a corresponding goal that would be something like “gain 1000 new fans/followers over our first 3 months.”

In this case, you have a specific reason for why you’re entering social media in the first place, and you have a target goal that you can work towards to justify your reason.

S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Here’s a few other examples of some S.M.A.R.T. goals you might want to consider:

  • If your reason for being in social media is to provide customer service via social media, your goal can be “to respond to all customer service requests within 30 minutes of when they come in” or “to help our customers by closing a minimum of 10 customer support tickets every week day” or even “to make sure that every customer walks away from a service request with a positive experience.”
  • If your reason for being on Twitter is to drive people to your company’s blog, your goal could be something like “to increase the number of blog visitors (click-throughs) we get daily by 30% over two months” or “increase the average number of page views per visit to a minimum of 3 pages in the next 6 months.”
  • If you decided that your reason for being in social is prove yourself or your company as a thought leader in your respective space, your goal might be “to have our CEO make one post to LinkedIn Publishing per month and have 1000 people read that piece.”

In all of these examples above, the goal always relates back to the reason for being in social media and has clearly defined and attainable measurements that have specific timelines. This is how you should think about all the goals that you start setting.

It’s also important to remember when setting goals that no two social networks are identical. Every network will have it’s own uses, so you may want to set up different goals for each channel, but making sure that they are still relevant to your overall reasons for being there in the first place.

 

Measure and report on your efforts towards those goals

Now that we know why you want to be in social media in the first place and we’ve set up some goals that will help us to justify those reasons, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to measure and report on those goals.

In the world of digital marketing, pretty much everything is trackable. The real difficult part comes down to deciding on how much of those things you’re actually going to report on. While it’s easy to get caught up in all of the numbers you might be able to see, if you took the first two steps above you should have a clearer idea of where to head when it’s time to report on your social efforts.

While your reports might include what some people refer to as “vanity metrics,” things like how your fans/followers increased, how many likes/favorites or shares/RT’s your content got, you should focus more on measurements that relate to your defined goals.

These will be known as your KPIs, which stands for Key Performance Indicators.

Report on things that show you're working towards your KPI's

If you follow these steps, you should now have a great idea of what you’re going to report on when your boss or client asks “How are things going with our social media efforts?”

Build social intelligence in your content production process and reporting frameworks. Reach out to us and we’d be happy to show you how Sysomos can help you measure towards your social media KPI’s and make sure you’re measuring the right things.

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