A Complete Guide to Social Media Reporting

Catherine Lovering
Published: Jun 12, 2024
Table of Contents
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While social media can be one of the most robust channels for you to increase brand reach, it’s no easy climb for any business trying to get to the top. But that doesn't mean you have to make the journey in the dark.

A strong social media strategy is constantly adapting to new trends and changes in audience interests. One key tool for staying on top of these changes and measuring their effects on your social media strategy is the social media report.

These reports are essential for building a data-driven social media marketing strategy that meets your brand's goals. Let’s take some time to review what it is and how to do it right. 

What Is a Social Media Report?

Social media reporting is a breakdown of what you need to know about your social media performance. 

A social media report pulls vital data on your key metrics like follower growth, engagement rate, click-throughs, and conversions. It then combines that data to answer a few specific questions, like where your strategy is working and where it might be falling short.

The best social media performance reports go beyond the data to recommend action plans based on comparative metrics and marketing goals.

Types of Social Media Reports and Their Purpose

Marketers typically use a few different types of social media reporting tools as part of monitoring their content marketing and social media marketing strategies. 

Each one has a specific purpose that is often aligned with a specific goal — there’s no point in pulling a general social media trends report if what you really want to know about is video views on a particular channel. 

Let’s review the three most common types of social media analysis reports and when you might want to use them.

Monthly and Quarterly Reports

For when you do want to have a look at trends across channels and KPIs, the monthly and quarterly reports are typically your best option. These social media analytics reports provide an overview on brand performance in all aspects of social media. 

Here, you’ll get an idea of which channels offer the greatest return for your investment according to your marketing goals. You can identify where you get the most engagement, and the audience demographics for each platform. 

Your monthly and quarterly reports are kind of like the finance team’s budget reporting: regular monitoring that gives your team a sense of where you stand, especially compared to previous time periods. 

Social Campaign Reports

Although social media monthly reports give your team a general overview, few marketing teams develop a social media marketing strategy based only on a few general goals. More typically, they’ve established specific goals for their social media efforts with campaigns designed to meet those goals.

A social campaign report looks at the campaign performance specifically and not the brand’s social presence as a whole.

Let’s say your brand wants to use social channels to increase the number of downloads of your free app. A social media campaign designed to meet that goal might include teaser text that leads users through hashtags related to the app’s promotional materials; as the hashtags spread through the channels, interest and awareness is piqued.

That’s the goal — but does it work? That’s what a social campaign report can tell you. It includes data like the number of impressions (times people saw the hashtag), click-throughs (times people clicked the hashtag), and conversions (number of times people followed the chain through social media to download the app).

A social campaign report can also tell you whether you’ve succeeded in your goals. If the goal was 10,000 downloads, for example, and the campaign results in 11,572, a social media report might call that a success.

Platform-Specific Social Media Reports

A social media platform report is similar to a quarterly or monthly report in that it might not be specific to a particular campaign. However, it’s distinct from a more general social media metrics report because there is no cross-channel analysis. It typically won’t compare brand performance on Instagram to performance on LinkedIn, for example.

What it will do is provide an in-channel assessment of performance vis-à-vis that platform. You can use this data to offer the results of your social media optimization strategy — if you’ve put in new effort to capture a certain audience demographic on an individual platform, this report can tell you whether these efforts have been successful. You can compare key metrics period-over-period within the platform to see whether this channel is likely to drive positive results.

How To Make a Social Media Report: 8 Steps

Regardless of the type of social media report you plan to make, the nuts-and-bolts of how to make them remains essentially the same.

You can use this basic step-by-step guide to create any kind of social media report, whether you want to know the return on investment (ROI) of a particular campaign or the overall effectiveness of your social media content optimization.

1. Provide an Overview of Goals and Objectives

Start with the “why” of the report. Remember, the person receiving it likely gets a few different reports regularly — they won’t know at a glance whether this report is to provide a data analysis of the social media hashtag campaign, or just a regular monitoring report. 

Make it easy on your readers: establish your goals and objectives upfront and make them clear in the report, including the executive summary or even the report title.

2. Present Key Social Media Metrics and KPIs

Choose your data points carefully. By including only the most relevant metrics and KPIs, the overall results of the campaign will be easier to determine.

As an example, for a campaign with the objective to increase app downloads, KPIs like impressions, click-throughs, and downloads all matter in a report on that campaign. Your social media data might also tell you if you had a spike in new followers because of the campaign. But because follower growth wasn’t an objective, that data isn't directly relevant to the report and you can probably leave it out.

If you’re ever uncertain about which metrics are relevant, just put yourself in the shoes of the reader —what would they want to know, and what would count as unnecessary information?

3. Analyze Performance and Provide Insights

Comparing metrics period-over-period, between channels, or against benchmarks are all possible ways to analyze performance. As part of regular monitoring, you might want to watch how your engagement on certain channels shifts and changes over time.

As an example, say you’ve had a high engagement rate on a certain channel for the past three years, but in the past six months have seen a pattern of declining engagement. You have the same number of followers and your posting schedule is constant. You can use these trends to come to conclusions about performance.

That’s where insights come in. Maybe your engagement is going down, but it’s not because your audience is no longer interested; perhaps they’re just spending less time on social media. 

Comprehensive social media data analytics can be helpful here, as you can identify how industry-wide trends are also impacting your business.

4. Provide a Comparison With Your Competitors

Another essential part of your reporting is looking to those who are also working hard to convert your target audience: your competitors. In-depth social media analytics can often include competitor intelligence, which offers insight into how other brands are faring in the same space.

If everyone’s seen a drop-off in engagement, it doesn’t mean you should throw your social media strategy to the curb. Instead, you can use it as an opportunity to find new ways to get back that audience demographic you may have lost to others.

Bear in mind, as you’re keeping an eye on your competitors, so too are they keeping an eye on you. Staying abreast of industry trends as well as your direct competition for keyword traffic and placement in social media feeds by the platform algorithm is a necessary step to maintaining your profitable niche.

5. Update Audience Information Based on Your Findings

Let’s talk a bit more about your audience. Your social media reports should speak to who’s engaging with your brand or who’s seeing your content and scrolling past. 

The people who are most interested in what you do might surprise you — while you might have captured your target buyer persona, you might also have found your content makes an impact with another demographic entirely.

Social media reports can identify with in-depth data who’s out there consuming your content and who is choosing to convert. This is invaluable information for optimizing the social media content you continue to produce, and might even give you some new ideas of how to shift your marketing strategy as a whole.

6. Identify Top-Performing Content and Trends

Remember when Instagram first hit the scene, and marketers hailed it as the end of text-based content? The truth is that top-performing content is constantly shifting, both within your brand portfolio and throughout social media as a whole.

As trends shift, your content formats that no longer fit with that trend might drop off. Your new uploads might have to catch the current wave of what people want to consume: is it a video? An infographic? A photo gallery? Your social media reports can tell you what’s working.

In addition to format, the social media data can identify content topics and subjects that gain the most traction with your target demographic.

While some topics simply aren’t a fit for your brand, others might be a mere variation of what you typically post, and often. Let’s say you’re a makeup brand who once got a lot of conversions from influencer reviews and online makeup tutorials. Now, those tutorials aren’t having as much of an impact — but there’s new interest in your general blog posts and articles about fashion, head to toe.

Identify what’s working, so you know where to best invest your marketing budget.

7. Compare Social Platform Performance

Intuitively, you probably already know where your target audience is online — but that intuition can be backed up with data in a social media report. You should find that the target demographic of a particular channel aligns with your target demographic as a brand. 

If you’re after customers of the sort who prefer Facebook to Instagram, or LinkedIn to X, you might expect you’ll have better performance on Facebook and LinkedIn compared to Instagram and X.

But that’s not always the case. The data can surprise you, which is why social media analytics reporting is so critical. Maybe your audience is changing channels on you, or your brand is beginning to attract a new audience you didn’t predict.

8. Conclude With Key Recommendations

The last thing you want to do when a person reads your social media report is to respond, “okay, so now what?” Ideally, you have already told them the “now what.” Your report should end with key recommendations of how to stay the course on social media strategy or to refine it given the insights from your data analysis.

Best Social Media Reporting Tools for Marketers

A marketer can always develop a social media reporting tool from scratch — but there’s no need to put a strain on your spreadsheet skills.

There are many reporting tools for social media available to help you to assemble key information, but here are five of the best:

Don’t forget, the platform your company is using to produce social media content might also have its own reporting tools. They might satisfy the need for quick, simple data points without in-depth analysis.

Key Takeaways

Social media reports are data-driven and based on an objective. A business can use these reports to assess the success of social media strategy and to make changes based on insights.

By creating comprehensive social media reports that highlight the right metrics, your brand can more effectively adapt to shifts in the digital marketing space and keep your audiences engaged.


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