“Stop sending reports like this.”
Chad Parizman, the Director of Convergent Media at Scripps Networks, says social media reports with tiny print, too much information, and irrelevant data don't make a difference, and they don't get read.
“A lot of us do this because it makes our boss happy or because it makes someone else happy. It's not adding a lot of value for what we do or what they do,” he explains.
And that huge distribution list you're sending these reports to, Chad says you've got to cut that down too. It's about sharing the analysis — not just data — that's valuable to each team.
Instead of creating automated reports to send to everyone, social marketers need to customize them for each team. Take the time to call out what's important to them — even simple stuff like arrows and callout boxes can make reports more useful.
Collaborate with your analysts.
This is ultimately where social media reports need to get to: actual words explaining what's going on.
Chad recommends making your analyst your best friend. Get the ability to log in to your web analytics or analysis applications if you don't already have it, and make sure you're talking to the people analyzing your data every day.
He also recommends using words in your reports instead of just Excel sheets and pie charts. Do the work to write out analysis. For example, Chad shares bullet points of his analysis on the first page of his reports with the graphs and charts to support it coming afterwards.
“This is ultimately where social media reports need to get to: actual words explaining what's going on,” Chad says.
Listen for the analysis that's needed — not just the analysis that's requested.
“Most likely, people don't know the answers they want to know,” says Chad. “Don't just send these reports out into the void. Ask people if they took a look at it and if you can answer any more questions.”
A real-life tweet is worth more than any pie chart, graph, or big headline I can put in a report.
For example, when Chad's boss asks him if they still need the tools and investment they're putting into social media, he doesn't just send her charts. Chad says he shows specific examples and analysis for how social's working at Scripps Networks — stuff like, “Social media drives more traffic to our food sites than email.”
In fact, Chad recommends getting even more specific with social listening reports: Share screenshots of your customers' tweets.
“To an executive at HGTV, a real-life tweet is worth more than any pie chart, graph, or big headline I can put in a report.”
And while it may seem tricky, Chad has some encouragement.
“The more we get away from automated reports, the more we collaborate, and the more you actually get in there and analyze data sources, it will become second nature.”