How to Create a Data-Driven Social Media Report [Free Template]

Social media is a critical component of most marketing strategies, with 91% of brands leveraging at least one social platform. But without proper tracking and reporting, it‘s impossible to know if your efforts are paying off.

That‘s where a robust social media report comes in. A periodic report helps you:

  • Understand how social media is contributing to larger business goals
  • Track key performance indicators (KPIs) and return on investment (ROI)
  • Make data-driven decisions to optimize your social strategy
  • Demonstrate the value of your work to leaders and stakeholders

In this guide, we‘ll walk through how to build an impactful, comprehensive social media report, including a customizable template. But first, let‘s look at why reporting is so crucial.

Why Social Media Reporting Matters

Tracking vanity metrics like follower counts and likes is not enough. To prove real business impact, you need to go deeper and align your social media reporting to company objectives. Some common goals for social media include:

  • Increase brand awareness and reach
  • Drive website traffic
  • Generate leads and sales
  • Boost community engagement
  • Provide social customer service
  • Increase share of voice relative to competitors

A Sprout Social study found that 56% of marketers use social media to understand their target audience. Reporting helps you gain audience insights to inform everything from content creation to product development.

Social media reporting also allows you to spot trends, capitalize on what‘s working, and quickly pivot when something falls flat. Regular reporting keeps your team proactive rather than reactive.

Perhaps most importantly, concrete data helps you demonstrate the ROI of social media to get buy-in and budget from company leaders. 71% of executives believe social media has a quantifiable impact on brand building, lead generation and sales.

Metrics to Include in Your Social Media Report

The exact KPIs you track will depend on your unique business goals, but here are the key metrics to consider for your report:

1. Audience Growth

Track your following or fan count over time on each platform. Calculate month-over-month or year-over-year growth rate to measure progress.

2. Reach

Reach is the number of unique people who saw your content. Track average reach per post and total reach by platform.

3. Impressions

Impressions are the total number of times your content was displayed, even if to the same user multiple times. More impressions mean more brand awareness.

4. Engagement Rate

Engagement rate measures audience interaction with your posts, including reactions, comments, shares, and clicks. Calculate engagement rate as total engagements divided by reach or impressions.

Average engagement rates vary by platform and industry. For example, the median engagement rate on Instagram for brands is 0.98%. Use tools like RivalIQ for competitive and industry benchmarks.

5. Top Performing Posts

Highlight the individual posts that earned the most impressions, engagements, clicks, or video views. Make note of any patterns in format, topic or creative elements.

6. Video Views

If video is a key part of your social strategy, track views in total and broken down by platform and video length. Note average view duration to measure how long you retain audience attention.

7. Referral Traffic & Conversions

Use Google Analytics or similar web analytics to track how much traffic social media drives to your website. Set up goals to see resulting leads, email sign-ups, or purchases.

Assign a monetary value to web conversions to calculate social media ROI. The average value of a website visit from social media is $1.17.

8. Share of Voice

Measure your social visibility compared to competitors. What percent of industry mentions or hashtags include your brand vs peers? Tools like Sprout Social and Brandwatch are helpful for this.

9. Customer Service Metrics

If you provide customer support on social, track metrics like response rate and time, resolution rate, and sentiment. Fast responses boost satisfaction and loyalty.

10. Paid Performance

For social media ads, report on impressions, reach, cost per click (CPC), click-through rate (CTR), cost per conversion, and return on ad spend (ROAS).

Here is a summary table of key social media metrics:

Metric Platform Definition Industry Average
Engagement Rate All Engagements / Reach or Impressions 0.98% Instagram, 0.13% Facebook, 0.06% Twitter
Reach All Unique people who saw content Varies
Impressions All Total content views Varies
Video Views All Total video plays Varies
Referral Traffic All Website visits from social media Varies
Response Rate All Percent of user posts replied to 11%
Average Response Time All Time to reply to user posts 5 hours
Cost Per Click (CPC) Paid Average cost per ad click $0.55 Facebook, $2.50 LinkedIn, $0.35 TikTok
Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) Paid Revenue / ad cost 4:1 average

What to Include in Your Social Media Report

A comprehensive social media report should include the following sections:

  1. Executive Summary: Begin with a concise overview (1-2 paragraphs) of the key insights and takeaways from the report. Highlight major wins, challenges, and priorities.

  2. Results by Platform: Provide a performance snapshot for each social network. Include audience growth, average reach and engagement rate, referral traffic and conversions, and customer service metrics if applicable. Use visuals like graphs and tables to display data over time.

  3. Competitor Comparison: Benchmark your results against similar brands or industry averages for metrics like fan count, engagement rate, posting frequency, and customer response time.

  4. Top Content: Showcase the posts that earned the highest reach and engagement. Include screenshots and insights into why they performed well. Also highlight any content themes or types that consistently get strong results.

  5. Paid Social: If you run social media ads, report on key metrics like reach, impressions, CPC, CTR, and ROAS. Show how you optimized ad creative and targeting over the period to improve performance.

  6. Progress to Goals: Connect your social media metrics to overall business KPIs wherever possible. Are you on track to hit your targets for website traffic, leads, revenue, customer loyalty, etc? Use visuals to show progress.

  7. Lessons Learned & Next Steps: Highlight key insights from the reporting period, both wins and challenges. Most importantly, define action items for the next period based on the data. What new tactics will you test? How will you double down on high performers?

Throughout the report, include brief written explanations to add context to the data. Explain what caused major changes or anomalies. Compare results to the previous period and year-over-year to spot trends.

Social Media Reporting Best Practices & Tools

  • Streamline data collection: Use a tool that integrates data from all your social networks, website analytics, and paid ads in one dashboard. Popular options include Sprout Social, Hootsuite, and HubSpot.

  • Be consistent: Establish a regular reporting cadence, such as monthly or quarterly, and stick to a standard format. This makes it easier to track progress and spot trends.

  • Emphasize visuals: Use charts, heat maps, and screenshots to make data easy to comprehend at a glance. Include brief captions but let visuals be the focus.

  • Customize to your goals: Don‘t get distracted chasing metrics that don‘t relate to your objectives. Prioritize the data that connects to business outcomes. Quality over quantity.

  • Tell a story: Your report should have a logical flow that highlights your wins, learnings, and future plans – not just a jumble of numbers. Organize it like a narrative.

  • Keep it concise: Highlight important insights in the body of the report and shift supporting data to an appendix. Limit the main slides to 10-20. Remember, you can always provide extra context verbally when presenting.

Free Social Media Reporting Template

To make reporting easier, we‘ve created a ready-to-use reporting template complete with pre-made slides for the most common social media metrics.

It‘s easy to customize by adding your logo and plugging in your own data and visuals. The template includes sections for:

  • Monthly and quarterly results by platform
  • Audience growth and demographics
  • Top performing posts
  • Traffic and conversions
  • Paid ads performance
  • Competitor benchmarks
  • Key learnings and next steps

Download the free template here.

Conclusion

A robust social media report is essential for proving the tangible impact of your efforts. By tracking the right metrics and presenting them in a compelling way, you can gain deeper insights, make smarter optimizations, and earn more buy-in from leaders.

Use this guide as a starting point, but be sure to customize your reports to your brand‘s unique goals and audience. Experiment with different KPIs, visuals, and cadence until you find the right fit.

Remember, a report is only as valuable as the insights you glean and actions you take. Don‘t just generate a report to check a box. Really dig into the data to uncover opportunities to improve your social strategy.

With consistent, data-driven reporting, you can take your social media marketing to the next level and drive meaningful business results. Download our free reporting template to get started.