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3 Types of Social Media Reports & How To Create

Guest Author

January 23, 2021  •  4 min read

As a marketing manager, you spend tons of time and energy coming up with awesome, engaging campaigns. With any luck, everything goes according to plan.

There’s just one catch: how do you share the results of your efforts with the rest of your company? Without the right social media reports, you’re unable to convey to your company whether your campaign was truly successful, and as a result, arm your colleagues with the insights necessary to improve your strategy.

Key to any effective marketing measurement strategy is reporting a wide range of data that’s relevant to different levels of the business. These three types of social media reports can form a solid foundation:

  • Operational Reports: Information from the front lines—think open rates for email campaigns, for example. These are typically used by on-the-ground experts, such as social media managers.

  • Insight Reports: A means for content strategists, brand managers and the like to interpret operational data that uncovers macro trends, answers specific questions, and drives improvements to a campaign.

  • Informative Reports: Facts and figures geared towards higher ranking executives, such as the CEO, VP, or managing director.

Here’s how you should think about each report:

Operational Reports: Know What’s Happening in the Trenches

Audience growth rates, impressions, click-throughs; operational reports are for the doers. They are a key resource because they provide relevant data to the people who actually execute social media and marketing campaigns.

Think about the marketers managing campaigns on a day-to-day basis. They need real-time information to make adjustments and decisions at the speed of their customers. If a certain topic is driving more engagement than another, they need to know—and know quickly.

In addition to driving tactics and strategy, operational data can be packaged to keep executives apprised of a campaign’s progress. The reports can tell the story behind why (or why not) a social media initiative hit its goals.

Insight Reports: Making Sense of the Data

Raw operational data is great, but there’s often so much that it’s difficult for managers to sift through it and emerge with any ideas for driving positive change. That’s why it’s important for a team to study the data more holistically and use it to tell a story based on metrics such as conversion rate, customer satisfaction rate, and net promoter score.

Insight reports should allow you to analyze more specific questions, such as why your email open rates are high but the click-throughs remain low; or which social platforms generate the most high-quality leads.

The primary purpose of insight reports is to dig deeper into the data that’s being generated at the operational level. Workers on the front line take the information and use it to bolster their day-to-day approach or their annual goals, depending on the depth of the analysis. The reports should be relatively simple—a means for employees to convey information to higher levels within the company.

Social media strategists and marketing managers typically create insight reports. They want data and studies to either confirm or debunk their theories about why people are behaving the way they are, and what should be done at the operational level to be most effective.

Informative Reports: Arming the Top of Your Organization

Informative reports equip a company’s leaders to chart the best possible strategic course. Whereas insight reports address individual, granular topics in a detailed way, informative reports focus more on broad key performance indicators (KPIs) that executives value, such as ROI data and the rate at which social is generating sales opportunities.

If social engagement numbers are growing, C-Suite members will want to know how that correlates with the company’s overall strategy. They want a top-down view of how their decisions are affecting results in the field, and it’s usually up to Chief Marketing Officers or VPs of Marketing to provide this information.

Given the limited bandwidth of most executives, the best informative reports are those that are clear and easy to digest. Leaders across all industries are coming to realize the importance of social media reporting, but there are still holdouts—and to generate buy-in from this group, it’s crucial to make the reports concise and to-the-point.

Equally important is having a set of more detailed data in your back pocket, in case an executive is curious about about a certain aspect of your social efforts.

The Value of Multilevel Insight

Social media report is nothing new, but given the growing role that social plays across every facet of business operations today, it’s essential for brands take a holistic, multi-tiered approach to social reporting.

Following the model outlined above, you can help all levels of your company understand how their social efforts are really performing.

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