Community Management Reports: 6 Key Takeaways

By: Jozefien Verhaeghe

September 20, 2013

community management

Community management: a series of blog posts – part 9

The start of a new month usually brings along some sort of happiness. New things to look forward to, a fresh paycheck, new Facebook events we have to attend because we said so in a moment of weakness… But to some Community Managers, the lower the number on their calendar, the more anxious they feel. The reason behind this? The beginning of a new month usually goes along with creating a report on last month’s performance. And for some, this can be pure horror.

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ROI versus Relationships

Superiors often demand reports to see if their investments actually brought along an added value. Fancy words like ROI are thrown around by financial directors while taking another sip from their whisky (remember the dinosaurs I once told you about?)

On the one hand, this is very understandable. Social media management isn’t free. It often involves high budgets. So it’s only normal that they wish to see if it was worth the funds.

On the other hand however, measuring your social media efforts isn’t the same as measuring traditional media channels. What we often tend to forget, is that communities are based on relationships. But how do you measure the value of a relationship? In reality, we would be horrified if people measured the success of their relationship by the amount of kisses they got per day. So why would we suddenly start relying on these cut-and-dry quantitative measurements to understand social media?

To me, there’s a higher purpose to reports than just boasting a 30% increase in likes over the last week. The power of reporting lies in discovering new insights about your audience and thus an opportunity to optimize your content – and channel strategy.

Shaping your report

The hardest part about writing a report on your social media presence is getting started. “What should we measure? Were can we find that data? How do we present this data?” These and other dark questions arise in the head of a Community Manager every once in a while. Allow us to free you from this vertigo, before you go all V for Vendetta on your computer screen.

Define how you will measure your goals
engagor_chart_Ideally, you have already thought about what you wish to achieve with your social media presence and defined this in your strategy. However, at this stage, it becomes even more important that those goals are specific. Let’s say you wanted to increase the brand awareness via your online presence. That’s a very noble goal, but how do you measure this? You could for example look at the amount of times you were mentioned and make these findings even more meaningful by comparing it with the stats of your competitors? Will you be taking sentiment into account as well when it comes to brand awareness? Think this through carefully, and you’re already halfway there.

Data Galore
Once you have determined your KPI’s, you have to collect the appropriate data and put it in the report. Collecting data can be challenging of course. We all know how horribly unclear those Facebook Exports can look. Having a good tool that collects all the data from across your different channels will save you a huge amount of time.

Context is essential
Just a bunch of numbers on a piece of paper means nothing. You should always try to add some context. For instance, if your engagement has decreased, try to think of what factors could have caused this. Perhaps you just invested less in paid posts? Or perhaps the platform changed something, which led to a lower visibility of your posts? Context like this will add more credibility to your report.

Conclusion is crucial
The most crucial part of your reporting are no doubt the learnings. Figuring out what exactly led to more engagement / awareness / … is far more important than the actual number. After all, how can you do better next time if you haven’t got a clue about want went wrong this time?

Bring a unique perspective
Make sure you cover all the preset KPI’s in your report, but don’t be afraid to include other remarkable insights as well.

“See annex I. More information on page 7. Go to appendix X…” Sometimes reports can get quite extensive. Therefore it’s good to add a summary. Not all information is valuable to everyone who reads the report, but adding a summary with the most meaningful results and findings will allow them to immediately take away the highlights.

Also, try to put the summaries at the beginning of your reports. As we all know, seeing all these figures can really make someone’s head spin. Starting off with the key takeaways allows your audience to read the report with a clear mind, and it will help them understand what they need to pay attention to. Even more, they will look at the data differently if they already have some conclusions in mind.

Last but not least, make your report look attractive. If you put so much time and effort in a report, you don’t want people to drop out just because it looks terrible, do you?

Follow these steps the beginning of a new month will be nothing but happiness. You might even start looking forward to that monthly report 😉 We’ve come a long way since our very first blog post on Community Management. A channel strategy, content strategy and creation, crisis management and many more topics have been tackled. We hope these blog posts will help you structure and optimize your Community Management. Building communities has become at least as important as traditional Marketing campaigns. After having read all posts, we are sure you will do a terrific job, so good luck!

Community management: a series of blog posts: