Social data can be used to answer a large variety of questions, so each report you put together will include different metrics, depending on the question asked and the methodology used. However, there are some processes and steps that you should follow every single time. Let’s take a look.
What is the purpose of the report? Before writing the report, think about why you undertook the research or what you are trying to show. Social media reporting will generally fall into one of the following three categories.
Simple engagement metrics can be surfaced with free social media analytics tools, including inbuilt platforms such as Facebook Insights.
For a deeper dive into a research topic or campaign, an enterprise level platform is needed. The categorization and detail that is possible can provide insights that free tools simply don’t have the functionality to provide. You can manipulate the data in numerous ways to uncover details and insights.
Decide on the questions you are asking
Whether you are writing a regular social media report, a campaign specific report, or a research report, you need to identify your questions at the start. Specific questions will deliver the most insightful answers.
So a report focused on a marketing campaign might ask “did the campaign drive spontaneous conversation among the target group of 15-34-year-old male sports fans?”. A piece of research could ask “What do women in their 50s want from a healthcare brand?”
The question(s) will lead you in developing a methodology. Think about which metrics to measure, as each one should be there for a reason. They should help to answer the question and measure progress against your goals. Not just appear because they look good.
And only now do we come to actually writing the report.
A social media report is a story. It might not feel like one with its metrics and graphs, but you are telling the story of the data. And the social data tells the story of your customers.
As with writing any content, the first consideration should be who are you writing for? Who is going to be reading your report? If it goes to a high level they probably won’t have time to read a 42-page PDF.
I would include a small section at the beginning giving context to the whole report. The background will explain what the report is trying to measure, and include details of the campaign if relevant.
The methodology should outline the timeframe, markets and languages, and any other relevant details.
The Inverted Pyramid is a technique used by journalists that can be useful in reports. The purpose of the technique is it allows readers to leave the story at any time and still know the most important facts. It’s worth keeping in mind when writing any report.
Put your key findings right after the methodology so even if a reader only gets to page two of the report they know the most important stuff. Hopefully, having these key findings up front will interest them enough to read on.
Unpack the story of the data with graphs and charts, always thinking of the best way to represent the findings and most importantly, show the value of your work.
For every single hour you spend on reporting, evaluate the impact it has in your department and across the organization. Are people reading your reports? Is action being taken upon the findings? Are your peers learning from it? The most straightforward way to track all that is using Vizia.io, our alternative to the old-fashioned, time-consuming reporting.
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