Client reporting is critical for any social media manager. It helps you track your performance and learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of your social media tactics. Above all, it helps your clients track each campaign’s progress and understand how you improved their social media presence so far. Sending social media reports is all about building stronger relationships between social media managers and their clients.

Now, at first glance, creating a social media report may seem like a walk in the park. You export a bunch of campaign performance statistics, metrics, and data from your social media analytics tools, put them into a detailed spreadsheet, and send them to your clients, right? 

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Overly complex, confusing, and lengthy reports that are difficult to read won’t resonate with your audiences. If you want to learn how to create reports your clients will really read, here are a few simple steps to take.

Set Smart Goals

You first need to schedule a meeting with a client and ask them what they want to achieve by hiring you. Social media managers and clients need to work together on setting clear and realistic goals. They’re the foundation of your reporting process. Setting the right goals dictates what tactics and strategies you will use and what metrics you will track. 

Precisely because of that your goals should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. Social media objectives should always revolve around your client’s needs. For example, if they’re focused on increasing brand awareness, you will want to help them increase social media shares, likes, and mentions. That’s where engagement and follower metrics will be critical. On the other hand, for ecommerce sites, the focus will be on sales. This means your social strategy should prioritize increasing organic and paid traffic or sales from social.

Collaborate with a Client when Choosing Metrics

Now that you’ve set realistic goals, it’s time to choose which metrics you will track. Some clients may provide you with a list of metrics they want you to track. The problem is that, in social media marketing, not all metrics are equally relevant. Many of these metrics, such as social media likes, will boost your clients’ morale, but won’t inform them about their audiences, reach, or ROI. 

If you notice that a client focuses on such vanity metrics, talk to them. This is an educational part of your client reporting process and it’s immensely important to your further relationships. Your goal is to explain why those metrics won’t work for a client and why it is vital to tie the right metrics to the right social media goals. 

Sure, choosing the right data points depends on your clients’ specific needs. However, some of the most common metrics you may want to track in your reports are:

  • The volume of content – tracks your sharing efforts. These stats are pulled from social media platforms you use (e.g. Instagram’s Insights, Facebook’s Page Insights > Reach, Twitter’s Analytics > Tweets, etc.)
  • Reach – the size of your audience on different social platforms. Again, this data can be pulled directly from the analytics tools social networks provide. For example, to track your reach on Facebook, you should go to Insights > Reach, while on Twitter it’s Analytics > Tweets > Impressions.
  • Engagement metrics inform you about the quantity and quality of users’ interactions with your posts. On Twitter, you can track engagements and reach on the same page, while Instagram’s Activity Tab will show you the number of interactions. On Facebook, this information can be found on Page Data.
  • Audience – social networks let you create more targeted campaigns for each user by informing you about the people that interact with your social content. They will tell you who they are, how old they are, where they live, what languages they speak, etc. For example, Twitter has created a separate Audience section, telling you more about your audience’s gender, age, and location.
  • Traffic and clicks – organic traffic is one of the most important metrics to track in digital marketing reports. In terms of social media marketing, you want to know how much traffic your social content drives. Organic website traffic from social can be tracked either from social networks or from Google Analytics. 

You can track this data manually, but this would eat up lots of your time. Investing in marketing reporting software can help you here. Digital marketing reporting tools integrate with many social media marketing tools and let you create combine widgets from multiple tools. This way, you can outline all the metrics you’ve set, filter out irrelevant data, arrange campaign information according to your clients’ specific expectations.

Let Clients Track Data in Real-Time

Social media marketing is changing at an astonishing pace. Your goal is to track your campaigns in real-time, keep pace with any changes, and react in a timely fashion. That’s where automating your reporting processes can help. With the right digital marketing software, you will choose your most vital data sources, create a customized marketing dashboard for each client, and share access with your team and clients. 

Instead of sending out complicated reports in spreadsheets, you will be able to create interactive and user-friendly social media dashboards that can be viewed on a single screen. Therefore, instead of overwhelming your clients with a bunch of irrelevant data, you will focus on the most important information and support it with strong visual content, such as easily memorable charts and graphs. 

Determine how Frequently You will Send Reports

Talk to your clients about how frequently they want to receive social media reports. The idea is to send reports consistently to build trust with your clients and inform them about their progress continuously. Now, you could send social media reports weekly, monthly, or quarterly. While sending weekly reports may annoy your clients, quarterly reports don’t let clients track their performance regularly. That’s why many digital marketing specialists choose to send reports monthly. Sure, you should respect your clients’ requirements. Knowing when they’re going to receive reports from you, they will be more likely to open them and read them.

This is where, again, client reporting software can help. Many reporting tools give you the opportunity to send regular reports to your clients automatically. You just need to choose when and how you want to offer reports and the tool will send them for you.

Keep your Report Sweet and Short

Your clients are busy. They want your social media reports to be short and clear, otherwise, they won’t read them. 

For starters, pay attention to your writing style. Instead of using lots of technical jargon, ambiguous language, and complex sentences, keep your reports simple. Use short sentences and everyday language to make your social media reports easier to understand. Always explain new metrics, charts, and terms.

Finally, design your reports properly. Any design asset, from fonts to colors, impacts user experience. Report design should support your content, making the most important facts prominent on your page. To make your content easier to digest, break the text up into smaller paragraphs and use headings and bulleted lists. Choose colors, typography, and visual content that will make your key data prominent and won’t confuse a reader. 

Over to You

Creating social media reports is crucial for building strong client relationships. That’s why it needs to be done strategically. For starters, talk to your client, provide guidance, and consult with them when setting goals and choosing metrics. Next, focus on delivering your social media reports consistently, as agreed with a client. Finally, focus on user-friendly and responsive design that will make your reports easier to read and understand. 

Of course, you can compile your social media marketing data and create reports manually. However, you would need to spend a few hours per client on creating monthly reports. That’s where you should consider investing in automated reporting software. Digital marketing reporting tools let you streamline many aspects of the reporting process, from creating customized dashboards for each client to offering a gorgeous dashboard design and sending reports automatically.