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7 Tips for Using Social Media Reporting Data To Tell a Story to Your Client

by Magnus Eriksen on August 02, 2023

A crucial skill to have when it comes to reporting to your clients is the ability to take raw data and tell a story that provides value. Just presenting facts and figures to an organization will not have the same effect as a carefully tailored narrative about the stories the data has to tell. Social media experts are responsible for developing meaningful reports that tell a story to their clients. 

Collecting social media campaign data and turning it into a story that clients can understand allows them to make data-driven decisions and helps you build trust with them moving forward. But creating a story from data can be challenging since data is often very dry and hard to understand. It’s not exactly enjoyable content. 

There are many ways to build a narrative out of social media data so that it makes sense to your clients, and there is no right way to present it. But today, we’ll share 7 tips for using social media reporting data to tell a story to your client.

What is social media reporting data, and what can it tell your clients?

Social media reporting data is relevant information regarding an organization’s social media marketing activities that are condensed into key metrics and actionable insights. Since 72% of adults use at least one social media app, social media reporting data can say a lot about a brand. 

The data gathered from social media reporting is critical for businesses, including small and local businesses, to understand how well they are engaging with customers or members of their community. There are many businesses that rely on social media to personalize their interactions with customers. Local medical clinics, for example, often utilize social media to respond to or reach out to patients directly. Social media reporting data can help businesses, regardless of industry, understand what they are doing right and what they are doing wrong when it comes to interacting with customers on various social media platforms. 

Many different kinds of data belong in a social media report, such as:

  • Engagement data like clicks, shares, comments, reposts, and favorites can tell you how well your social media campaigns are attracting the attention of your target audiences.
  • A running count of your accounts’ followers helps understand the brand’s growth. 
  • Demographics like age, location, language preferences, and behaviors all help direct social media campaign development and messaging. 
  • Your social media reach, or how many people have seen your content, regardless of whether they interacted with it. Reach is usually calculated by tracking impressions across content campaigns. 
  • Profile visits per a specific time period provide insights into brand awareness and the level of interest in your content. 
  • How do people feel about your brand on social media? Brand sentiment measures how well your campaigns are received. 
  • Social share of voice measures how much people are talking about your brand online by tracking mentions

Collecting social data involves using specific metrics and tools built for social media marketing creators and advertisers. It can tell you a lot about your brand, the effectiveness of your ads, and whether or not your content is reaching your target audiences. 

A social media report is a unique document that compiles numerous data points to provide actionable insights into your brand’s social media presence and the effectiveness of your content. But it’s not as easy for stakeholders, managers, and clients to understand what all this niche marketing information means for the brand. 

Social media reporting data helps answer key questions like:

  • What does the data tell us about our audience’s values?
  • How does this data support our goals?
  • Are we on track to reach our goals?
  • What can we do to improve our social media content

But to communicate this data to higher-ups, your social media report needs to tell a story that engages and communicates effectively. 


7 tips to tell a story with social media reporting data

About 80% of captured data is considered unstructured or information that is difficult to quantify and understand. How can you use social media reporting data to tell a story? Use these 7 tips to create an effective social media report that effectively communicates your brand’s social media data and what it means. 

1. Develop a narrative about the data

Developing a narrative or storyline about the data can help you hone in on the key points and also help your clients and managers understand what all the metrics mean for their company. 

First, discover what the data says about your client’s account, then do a deep dive to find out what is working, what’s not, and your recommendations. When building your narrative, consider how to make improvements from the perspective of your audiences and the organization. Don’t just give clients the numbers; tell them what the data means, why it’s important, and what the next steps should be. 

2. Frame the story according to the client’s goals

Creating a narrative around data is easier than it sounds, but it can be helpful to frame your story according to your brand’s goals. Framing a story is about putting the data in a context that is relevant to the organization. Don’t just tell clients what they want to hear, but tell them how they can get where they want to go based on the social media data report. By framing the narrative, you can help give your clients a clear perspective and use it as a guide when you create a social media report. 

For example, if your organization’s goals include increasing engagement on social media and drive more traffic to certain landing pages, start with the facts. Compare the data to their goal numbers. Put it in perspective by using a verbal cue to explain the gap. 

Instead of saying, we are at 16% of our ideal metrics, say something like, we need to make significant changes to our social media marketing plan to reach our goal. We’ve taken a step forward, but we need to take  10 more to see positive results. Here are some suggestions…

3. Set the stage for the story

You know what the data says and how to frame it in a way that is relevant to your client’s brand, but now you need to build the foundation for your social media narrative. Although your execs are likely to know a little about various areas of the organization, they may not be up to speed on all the marketing data lingo. 

Start your narrative with a little backstory about the metrics used to build the report, and have examples ready of what successful campaigns look like in terms of the data. Then you can describe the events that must occur to generate successful metrics and let them know where their organization stands in comparison. 

4. Develop characters to make the story relatable

Every good story has relatable characters that help drive the narrative and keep audiences engaged. For your social media report, the characters might be your target personas, competitors, ad campaigns, or even specific content or pieces of data. 

Personifying the information can make it easier to digest and add a dose of pathos to your presentation. To get your point across, you should position your client or brand as the story’s main character. Discuss how the brand has evolved, what the metrics say about the brand as a character, and how it can improve. 

Here is a hypothetical example of how a fictional brand, “June Bug Brands,” is turned into a character as part of a story about what it needs to do to improve its marketing efforts: June Bug Brands is leaving behind an era of passive posting. June Bug needs to build relationships with channel partners and audiences to get the attention they need to get to the top of search results. She’s looking for friends that are light hearted, vibrant, and inspirational to others. If she wants to make lasting relationships, she’s going to have to show off more of her personality online to attract others like her. 

While this is a simple example, personifying your brand can yield positive results. It helps give teams a sense of a brand’s personality to narrow down your target audience, capture more qualified leads, and boost social media presence. 


5. Reiterate the client’s goals and the problems they want to solve

While creating a narrative and framing the story from different perspectives, it can be easy to get carried away. Be sure that your story aligns directly with the data, and don’t lose sight of your client’s goals when creating the story. While giving your presentation, address their goals and specify what the data says about meeting them. 

The data doesn’t lie, and any problems with social media marketing campaigns will quickly become apparent to marketing professionals. However, these problems may not be so clear to your client. Explain any issues that have emerged through the data, reiterate their goals, and explicitly address the problems they want to solve. 

6. Keep it entertaining

The most important part of telling any story is keeping your audience engaged. In this case, the audience is your client, and the story is about what their social media report data says about where their organization stands. Numbers and statistics can be boring and hard to understand for someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of social media data. That’s why making your data pop with an engaging story with a beginning, middle, and end is crucial. Rather than listing off numbers, put the data into simple terms without jargon so your client can easily process the social media report. 

For example, we started out this quarter riding on a peak from the previous cycle. Unfortunately, shares and reposts took a dip this cycle. Did we get too confident? Instead of posting relatable posts, the brand transitioned into lifestyle advertising. While this improved our overall online presence, the social media statistics changed by…and as a result…

Sprinkle specific facts and figures where necessary, but lead the conversation with a story line that has a beginning, a climax and a conclusion. 

7. Lay out the solutions available according to the data

The reason your client hired you was that they needed effective marketing solutions. So give them what they want! Be sure to offer specific solutions to each of the issues they have discussed with you and include a plan B in case the first option gets turned down. If there are more than a few ways to improve their social media data, offer them the most efficient solutions only. Leave out the noise of erroneous ideas, and be clear about what your recommendations are for the next social media reporting cycle. 

Final thoughts

When it comes to reporting social media data to your clients, it has to be engaging. Numbers, metrics, and figures all run together for those not involved in social media marketing and reporting. But developing a narrative with a storyline that paints the data in a way that is easy to understand helps clients make sense of your reporting. 

Although there is no right way to provide a social media report, it can be very helpful to use the data to tell a story to your client. Here’s a recap of the 7 tips to help create a compelling story from social media reporting data: 

  • Develop a narrative about the data
  • Frame the story according to the client’s goals
  • Set the stage for the story
  • Develop characters to make the story relatable
  • Reiterate the client’s goals and the problems they want to solve
  • Keep it entertaining
  • Lay out the solutions available according to the data

Learn more about social media data and how to make the most of it. 


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