Reporting On Your Social Media Analytics

February 6, 2013

If you manage social media accounts for your department or school, you should be regularly and consistently looking at your analytics. Pull and file reports so you can evaluate changes over time.

How often should I pull reports?

  • How often you pull reports should depend upon how often you meet with your supervisor/team as well as upon decision-making timetables. For example, you don't want to look at analytics in mid-January if you discuss your content strategy at the beginning of January. Try to align decision-making with the time you digest the analytics so the two work together. Look at the analytics, learn from your observations, and make action plans that you will carry out. Otherwise, what good are the analytics?
  • The frequency should also depend on what you can actually handle in your job description. Some departments wouldn't be able to look at numbers as frequently as others because staff members are not given time to work on it. Do you supervise a staff member who manages your department's social media accounts? Give him or her a bit more time for analytics.
  • Given the above, I would say that at a minimum someone should be looking at the department analytics/insights at least once per month as well as a yearly review at a time that is not high stress. Mid-January 2013 for the 2012 review, for example, works fine. Because some platforms like Twitter are usually much higher-volume, a weekly report is nice. You might want to set up automatic reporting from a software tool.  For example, HootSuite and SproutSocial can send you a weekly report via email.

Automate monitoring and analytics and put more time into manual content management. Many organizations do the exact opposite.

What should I be looking for?

  • Determine your definition of success. What are your non-social media goals, and is social media helping you reach those goals. What numbers would help you determine if that is so?
  • Successes. What gave you the most return on your investment of time/money/resources?
  • Failures. What gave you the least return on your investment, even in the long run?

How should I display the information?

Try an integrated analytical approach. Analytics should not be pulled in network-specific vacuums. Don't report on and discuss Facebook Insights separately from YouTube views, for example, if you are embedding YouTube videos on your Facebook page. Your social network and website analytics should be shown together, oftentimes within the same charts. A flow chart with numbers is a way to report on how most people arrived at a certain page on your website via social. Another method is to show a line graph with two lines, one for Twitter clicks and another for website views.

Posted By
Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Stephanie Hatch Leishman

Former MIT Social Media Strategist

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