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Episode 7: Reporting on Social Media Success

So you’ve set your strategy, created compelling content, and optimized paid. Excellent. But here’s the thing: Now that you have all these new data points rolling in, what about the reporting?

Henry Franco joins to talk about which metrics are worth reporting on, the difference between social reporting and social insights, and how to best spend your growing social ad budget.


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Episode Transcription

Hi. I’m Matt Brown from HubSpot, and this is Skill Up, the show where you’ll learn how to take your sales, marketing, and service skills to the next level.

We’ve talked about creating compelling content for social, driving conversation on Twitter, and even scrolled through some Instagram brand awareness ideas. But here’s the thing: Now that we have all these new data points rolling in, what about the reporting?

Great question! To answer that, I hopped on a call... with our resident social reporting guru, Henry Franco.

[FRANCO] Hi, I’m Henry Franco. I run the social reporting here at HubSpot.

For most social media marketers, the easiest way to get credibility from management is to prove some kind of connection to the company’s bottom line. Your boss, and maybe even your boss’ boss, will understand your impact most when there’s a dollar value associated with it.

So let’s hear from Henry on how the right reporting strategy can do just that.

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First, we need to clear up the difference between social reporting and social insights. It’s a real Dylan McDermott and Dermot Mulroney situation on our hands.

Social reporting is compiling all the necessary data across many different points -- like organic performance or advertising performance or more brand and qualitative metrics -- and putting it all into one place.

Typically, with social reporting, you’re not trying to interpret anything from that data. Hunting’s over, you’re in gathering mode. You could share month over month data, or how social’s performing, what might’ve changed. But it’s basic analysis stuff.

Centralizing all your social data metrics into one place is the best way to begin social reporting.

Social insights, on the other hand, look at the learnings from social reporting and starts to take action on ways to impact social’s performance. That could be by creating content that’ll increase engagement rates, for example.

I like to think of it this way: Social reporting is about showing the number, and social insights is about moving the number.
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Now, I know what you’re thinking: I love data. Numbers get me moving. But pulling data from every different social channel sounds like a waking NIGHTMARE.

You know what? You’re right.

Luckily, there are tools like Supermetrics, which help pull data from everywhere for you. That way, you can automate a lot of those tasks right out the gate, and spend more time focusing on things that really matter. Like falconry. Or, yeah, you know, job-related things. Hey, up to you!

[cue synth flourish]

Great. You’ve got the difference between reporting and insights, and a little bit of automation in the works. So you’re likely about to ask the age ol’ question:

[HOST] What should I be measuring?

Ha, Nailed it. And I wouldn’t be good at business if I didn’t answer that question with another:

[HOST] What are my goals?

What are you, Shia LaBoeuf’s 2019 theatrical run, because you are 2 for 2!

Look, I know, it can be frustrating to hear about goal checks all the time. But hear me out. Social’s got metrics. A confounding and seemingly endless amount of metrics, in fact. But depending on what your goal is, deciding which metrics will be most impactful to look at becomes much easier.

So, let’s say your manager tells you to use social to grow a really engaged community, or to get in touch with your core audience.

In that case, you’ll want to look at metrics like audience growth and engagement rate because you want to make sure you're building that audience and as you build, you're not diluting the value. You want people staying engaged with you, clicking through links, and watching your content.

Maybe your manager’s looking for something a bit more straightforward. Say, grow the business through social.

Sounds heady, right? But if that’s the case, it’s pretty simple. You should be looking at what’s driving traffic to the site. So report on which content is most engaging and driving the most clicks.

And paid can be really helpful here, right?

Oh for sure. Essentially, if you’re looking to drive traffic, let’s say, with paid you can drive as much traffic as you have dollars.

But that can be a slippery little slope. So make sure to look for metrics that tell you how far your individual dollar is going -- things like cost per click, cost per view, or cost per acquisition.

That’s where social insights start to come into play. There's a lot to experiment with here, but when it comes to traffic, especially if you're running paid, you can start by testing different executions. And Facebook has built-in tools for it.

You can directly compare pieces of content and see exactly which ones people are engaging with, and which ones are driving the highest clickthrough rate to your site.

Sound familiar? Maybe, like a previous Skill Up episode? We call this A/B testing. Also known as split testing.

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Henry, I want to talk about you and your time at HubSpot for a second.

Open book. We’re all friends here. Right?

Sure. When you were starting out, what was the first real breakthrough for you?

For me, it was all about audiences. Figuring out how important audiences are, and building audiences based on who's engaging with your brand. This could be through lookalikes or retargeting past viewers of our videos.

Understanding the use of audiences was like watching my first Nic Cage film. City of Angels, duh. Life-changing stuff.

Same. So hard. Same.

By understanding and building audiences based on who’s engaging with HubSpot’s content, we’ve brought down our costs from 3 cents a view to half a cent a view. Which, trust me, adds up faster than you can imagine.

So if you’re running paid ads, you absolutely have to be doing that type of audience work. And Google and Facebook have all the tools you need to do that on the paid side of things, right there on the platform.

I think it’s a great example of how reporting, when done right, can actually help impact your larger social strategy and content decisions.

[cue synth flourish]

The future of social reporting is sort of an evolution from what we’ll call static to dynamic reporting.

And to explain it…

[FRANCO] Sammi, hit ‘em with the soda machine analogy.

Maybe they’re from the Midwest, Henry. Maybe it’s called a pop machine.

[FRANCO] Nah, soda machine. Trust me on this one.

Haha okay. So, let's say you're at a McDonald's and you want a Coke. Lotta name dropping for no official sponsor, but you both have my number.

The way you used to get that cup of soda would be.. going up to the cashier, ordering a Coke, then the cashier would reach behind the counter, grab a cup, go over the soda machine, fill it up, and hand you a full cuppa cola.

Now, most of the time, it's not like that. They give you the cup, you walk over to the machine, and fill it up yourself with whatever kind of soda you want.

Yeah, so traditional reporting is more like that first example. It’s more of a managed service, where the cashier is doing all the work for you. Nowadays, I like to think of reporting more of like that self-service model. And that's what we've set up here at HubSpot.

I’ve built a dashboard that's available to anyone at the company, and it reports in real time. Think of it as the cup. Now, anyone can go and get whatever the heck kinda soda they want, whenever they want it, and it's all in one place.

So Mellow Yellow, Iron Brew, and Big Red soda fans rejoice. No matter how niche the reporting needs, everything you could ask for is right there at your disposal.

More and more, companies are going to strive towards the self-service model as their social efforts, and organizations, grow.


[cue synth flourish]

So to recap: Social reporting is all about gathering data across your different social channels. Social insights are about creating content and strategies to help move those numbers -- maybe, up and to the right?

Understand your goals so you’re not measuring vanity metrics -- things like number of impressions or total number of views. Those are about as good as rhinestones on a pair of boots.

And lastly, think of paid like an amplifier. Because if you want to look at a vanity metric like impressions, it’s a simple X dollars will get you X impressions. But what’s more important is making sure you’re getting the most out of every individual dollar spent. Budgets are tight, girl, don’t set fire to it just yet.

Next week, we’re breaking out the self-lacing Nike’s and taking a look at the future of social. This feels like a good spot to say... Hey, I’ll see you there.

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