Social Media Report: The What and Why

social media report

Ashley Demshki gives a step-by-step guide to building a social media report.

In the age of social media, we are all marketers now, right? I hate to break it to you, but that’s totally false. There is a reason positions like “social media manager” and “content creator” exist. It’s because in the world of social media, a place where things are always changing, it takes time and effort to understand new trends, implement them and then analyze the effort. Yep, I am talking about the ever-elusive social media report.

The Basics of a Social Media Report

A social media report is a document that analyzes the efforts of the social media account over a period of time. For every recreation center, that might be different — options include monthly, quarterly, by semester, etc. This document is crucial to measuring results against established goals, understanding student behaviors and signaling when there is a need to change strategy.

Social media reports are not a one size fits all. It is really what you make it and what your needs are. It’s OK to report data you find valuable and leave out data you don’t. Need just a one-page snapshot? Totally cool. Need a full blown out report with a comparison summary? Go for it. Since we all use different platforms and cater to different audiences just based on our geographical locations and who memberships are extended to, it is important to remember you don’t need to compare your report to your counterparts across the country.

What to Include in a Social Media Report

Making the report work for you is the most important. If you are not sure where to get started, here is a breakdown of what I use.

For each platform I am analyzing, I report on the following metrics:

  • Followers: I like to know if we increased or decreased over the time frame. Since reporting on this, I have found patterns that are really interesting and helped me identify yearly trends.
  • Top Posts: I love looking at what our top three posts are. This is subjective to what metrics you feel deem a “top” post but mine include a mix of reactions/likes, reach and engagement. I typically weigh engagement over reach because I feel a smaller engaged audience is more beneficial than a bigger audience who doesn’t engage.
  • Audience Trend: This metric is helpful in figuring out who is looking at your posts. Are you really targeting the college age students or is your content hitting home with people closer to alumni age or parent age? This helps you steer your content to better connect with the audience who is actually interacting and looking at your profile.
  • Changes in Average Engagement and Reach: Similar to the followers section, I like to analyze any changes in engagement and reach to help identify trends. If we had a huge increase, it can help to pinpoint a post that did really well. Conversely, if we noticed a decrease, there are many other things to look at. For example: What did we post last period that made a difference? Were we posting more photos before? Or less photos? This is just a short list of examples, but you get the idea. Identifying what is different over the reporting periods can help you understand an increase or decrease in engagement and reach.
  • Analysis: I personally love including an analysis page at the end of each platform’s sections to better communicate to my colleagues — who might not understand the raw data and are definitely not keeping track of changes — all the great things we did this last period and what we can work on. I value honesty in my analysis and call out things that didn’t work as well as we hoped and include what we might do next period to change.

Putting the Report Together

There are multiple templates and ways you can put a report together. Since my goal of the report is to share it with my coworkers, I opt for a design that includes photos, graphs and is easy to follow. If your report is strictly internal for marketing purposes, you might want a template that is less showy and focuses more on the raw data rather than pictures. For example, an excel spreadsheet might work perfectly for your internal team, but a templated, designed presentation would work better for other colleagues outside of your team. At the end of the day, it is all about meeting your specific needs.

A social media report is a really helpful tool in understanding your social media strategy and meeting your goals. You can better identify if your marketing is helping you fill events, sell memberships, and track behaviors and interests. While it may seem like a daunting task at first, especially if you have more than one platform to report on, take your time putting the report together. Once the first is done, it is really easy to stay up-to-date and keep tabs on your platform’s trends.

Ashley Demshki
Ashley Demshki serves as the outreach coordinator at the University of California, Riverside Recreation Department. Ashley received her B.A. in public relations and advertising from Chapman University in Orange, California. She began her career in the fashion industry, working on editorial and ecommerce shoots. Moving to focus on public relations, Ashley worked with numerous nonprofit and government agencies to help empower community organizations and the members they serve. She is passionate about student development and how recreation contributes to academic, physical and social success.

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