It’s a hard truth: Without utilizing social media analytics, your social media strategy isn’t going anywhere. Luckily, in 2020, tracking and reporting on social media analytics is easier than ever. And it’s also never been more important. This is because “by measuring social media activity, in the same way as other marketing activity, priorities on investment, content creation and resource allocation can be made through informed comparisons and judgements,” (Atherton, 2019). This post will dive into how to track and report analytics for three key audiences: yourself, your boss, and top-level management.
First, let’s start with tracking and making sense of social media analytics for your own social media strategy.
Reporting Analytics for Your Daily Social Media Strategy
Social media tactics are meant to be measured daily to analyze performance, trends, and to tell you how your daily efforts payout. While these daily reports do not necessarily need to be shared out, it’s important for your own individual insight. The actual metrics that you track daily will depend on your strategy and campaign goals, but the following metrics are common benchmarks to help social media professionals measure daily success:
- Actions on page: The number of clicks on your business’s contact information and call-to-action button.
- Engagement: Total number of times someone has interacted or engaged with a post.
- Engagement rate: The number of engagements divided by the number of impressions.
- Followers: The number of people who see your posts on their timelines.
- Impressions: The number of users who saw the post.
- Page likes: The number of people who like your page.
- Page previews: The number of times people hovered over your page’s name or profile picture to preview your content on Facebook.
- Page views: The number of times your profile page has been viewed.
- Post clicks: Any clicks on the entire post.
- Post reach: The number of people who had any posts from your page on their screens.
- Click-through rate: The number of people who have clicked on a link to your website or other content compared with the number it was shown to.
- Conversions: The number of people who have completed your desired action.
- Response Rate and Time: How quickly you or your team responded to customers.
When choosing metrics to track, it’s important to note that not all metrics are created equal or easily understood. For example, “engagement is a big umbrella category to track. It essentially boils down to how much audience accounts are interacting with your account and how often. Every network will have some sort of engagement metric that is a total sum of smaller engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares and many of them have more than one type of metric, or different naming conventions, such as Retweets vs. Shares,” (Chen, 2020). And almost as often misunderstood as engagement, reach and impressions are often confused for one another. Where reach represents the unique number of accounts your posts have reached, impressions are the number of times your posts have appeared on someone’s feed.
A good understanding of all these social metrics is essential to proper analysis and social media measurement. And that’s something that social media analytic tools can help you with. “Social media analytics tools are usually used to complement social media management tools. The latter lets you plan and schedule your social media content while the former enables you to measure the performance and informs your strategy,” (Lee, 2020). Both of these types of tools are essential for your daily social media operations.
Weekly Social Media Analytic Reporting Metrics
In any business or organization that uses social media, weekly social media reports should be generated and shared with the social media team and immediate team manager. These reports help the team understand how their overall social media strategy performs every week and lets the team know if any shifts or changes in strategy are needed. Key metrics for these reports often include the following:
- Share of Voice: Volume and sentiment of what is being said about your brand.
- ROI: Referrals and conversions from social media campaigns.
- Engagement Rate: Described above.
- Cost per click (CPC): The cost of a social media post divided by the number of people who clicked on the link within that post.
- Cost per lead (CPL): The cost of your social media activity divided by the number of leads that activity generated.
- Cost per thousand impressions (cost per mille, CPM): The cost of your social media activity divided by one-thousandth of the number of impressions that activity generated.
- Cost per view (CPV): The cost of your social media activity divided by the number of views that activity generated.
- Total number of Conversions
These reports shouldn’t be too long, and may not include every one of the above metrics, depending on your social media strategy goals. “When you’re looking at different metrics, it can be tough to understand which measurement is most important. To determine what analytic is most important to your business, you need to define your social media objectives… For example, if you’re trying to raise brand awareness, impression is the most important. If you want to build a community, engagement is the measurement to look at. If your goal is to drive users to your website, you should pay attention to traffic and conversions,” (Driver, 2018).
Of all the goals that are important to track, most social media managers agree on the weekly tracking of two: “A recent study of 344 social media marketers revealed that the most important metrics for tracking the success of social media are engagement (36%) and conversion rates (35%),” (Bradley, 2018). It’s also important that you choose goals with metrics that are “S.M.A.R.T.” This means your goals should be:
If your goals meet the above criteria and your metrics accurately report these goals, your weekly reports will help accurately guide the team on future social media strategy.
Monthly Social Media Reporting for Upper Management
Your “business-level” social media reports need to accurately showcase the wins, challenges, and business impact of your social media strategy. These reports need to validate the ROI and need for social media for key stakeholders within your organization. Some key metrics that help with these reports include:
- ROI: Return on Investment = (revenue — costs) / costs
- SEAV: This enables you to demonstrate the savings in advertising spend generated by having organic social media activity.
- Total Number of Conversions
You’ll know that your social media reporting is accomplishing everything it should when it proves your ROI, creates winning social media campaigns, finds the best influencers for your brand, benchmarks correctly against your competitors, and identifies trending topics, (Talkwalker, 2019).
Finally, once you’ve detailed your social media analytics for each platform, it’s important you make sense of what these metrics actually mean for the upper management of your organization. “Think of this section as a ‘wrap-up,’ condensing what you did, how it performed, and how it will guide your strategy in the upcoming months,” (Carbone, 2020).
Final Thoughts on Social Media Reporting
If you follow these guides on social media reports for different levels of your organization, you’re sure to generate a complete plan for a successful social media strategy. Just make sure you take that time to establish your goals, metrics, and social media tools before generating your reports.