More and more social media agency teams are automating their reporting. It’s obviously very helpful. But why is there a need for it? And does it actually help agencies?
When it comes to social media marketing, there is a lot to do. Agencies are built on it. With clients that don’t have time to manage posting and content creation, agencies are well-placed to take on and manage a brand’s social. And a big part of that is the reporting of results. If an agency is on top of it’s reporting, it’s clients feel they are bringing value for money. Reporting, in other words, is the ‘best bit’ of agency work for clients.
However, that doesn’t mean that social media reporting is easy. Far from it. In the past few years, it has become increasingly clear that there are many, many challenges around it. And anyone who reports for clients will have to confront these challenges at some point.
The challenges with reporting
There are many challenges. In certain areas, problems and issues have become easier to deal with for various reasons, but if you report to clients, you will still face these issues today when you take on a new client:
The proliferation of channels. Some clients will still be signed up to what feels like a million social media channels. Sure, you may be able to get rid of a few channels because they are not relevant to the client. But it is still quite possible to have clients with numerous accounts. And that means a lot of reporting
Metrics and their meanings. It’s also important to remember that metrics mean different things across platforms. It’s difficult to communicate this to clients sometimes without a holistic view and a clear understanding of what each metric actually means. It’s arguable, for example, that sharing on Twitter is different (value-wise) than sharing on Facebook
Multiple campaign management. If a client is running multiple campaigns, this will make reporting a complex matter. Campaigns will need to be differentiated, and the results of the campaigns carefully measured and compared with each other. This is not an easy task. Obviously, with larger clients, reporting can become challenging because of this issue
Variables. Reporting has a lot to cover, but when an anomaly is thrown into the mix, everything gets tougher. A negative comment needs reporting to a client. It may be damaging, it may not. But one thing it will do is demand analysing. This problem with ‘outlier’ engagement is particularly tricky, and needs establishing and analysing within the wider context of an account. If all the data (both historical and predictive) isn’t there, it’s hard to report with confidence
Life of a post. Without full control and monitoring of metrics, it is almost impossible to understand the impact of a post. You can watch the various platform’s and their reporting offerings as much as you want, but at some point it will be overwhelming. Everything on social media is ephemeral. It doesn’t live for long. If you can’t contain that lightning, you can’t provide accurate and meaningful reporting for clients
Spreadsheets don’t impress. And neither do standard slides on a screen. Clients are sophisticated, busy people, and seeing just numbers or a mountain of text simply doesn’t help. With the vast complexity of social media reporting, you either package it up into an accessible whole, or you aren’t serving your clients
Time-sensitive. A key indicator of good reporting is the time-sensitive aspect of it. If you can report on pretty much up-to-the-minute metrics, you’re winning. However, this is again very difficult if you’re relying on a social media platform to give you data
Automation and how it helps agencies
If you take a good look at the points above, it’s clear that automating at least some of that hard work makes it a lot easier for agencies. In fact, many automation platforms do a bulk of that heavy lifting in reporting.
All the key metrics such as reach and engagement can be quickly pulled up by automation software. It can then be presented in that easy to access style we mentioned earlier, so clients get the point quicker. Good automaton platforms drill deeper into paid and organic, so you can, as an agency, show that you know how these two work differently, and prove value.
With so many clients involved in an agency workload, it makes perfect sense to the most crucial aspect of the work. Reporting proves value, so it benefits agencies. It also helps clients. But unless that heavy lifting is automated and therefore more efficient, it’s easy to drown in data, and lose business.
If you work for an agency or you’re responsible for social media marketing, try Locowise. It has all the metrics you will ever need to solve all the problems above. And we will give you a week for free.