It’s that time of the month.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Each time a new month begins, we go into analytics mode. It’s not fun, it’s not glamourous. Sometimes, frankly, it’s the bain of my existence. Math is not my strong suit and analyzing data, well, let’s just say I’ve had to teach myself what to look for and what’s important.

We always pull our invoices around the end of the month to send to clients and those bills cover the work just completed (as clearly spelled out in my contract, though sometimes it has to be explained again). That’s the fun part – earning our keep. But the part that really gets to me is the reporting part. Meredith and I spend the first few days of every month pulling reports, comparing those reports to last month and analyzing the data – we look at where specific numbers were last month and compare them to this month and then provide the client with a percentage increase/decrease (I have an app for that). The question is about figuring out which numbers to report. Sure, we look at growth (how many new likes or followers we acquired during the month), but that’s just one small number. We’re engagement specialists – that’s what we do. Therefore, the numbers associated with engagement are key for us. Who cares if you have 10,000 followers if no one likes what your post? To us, that’s ridiculous. We go for quality over quantity.

Sometimes we’ll see a number dip and we’ve got to dig in and see if we can figure out why that happened. It could be that the previous month was inflated due to an event or a retweet by a person with a ton of followers. Perhaps we boosted several posts last month and this month we were out of budget, and that’s why we’re down.

The point is… the reports we provide to our clients are detailed and well-organized, in our opinion. But, if a client doesn’t know what they’re looking at or how to compare to last month, the reports mean nothing.

Providing this type of analysis takes time. In fact, I usually block off most of a day just to get through the reports and focus on the numbers. It’s a challenge for sure. I am in a Facebook group of other Social Media Managers and once asked what other people/companies do to be more efficient when reporting results. I was honestly astonished at what some of my colleagues shared with the group. Some said they simply forward a report generated by their system (Sprout Social, Hootsuite, etc.) while others reported to only give analytics to a client who’s paying for that level of reporting.

Seriously?

So a company is going to pay us to do this work for them and they aren’t going to want to know anything about what we’re doing? And… if they DO want to know, you make them pay? I don’t think so. All we talk about around here is ROI – proving that what we do is valuable to a client. If we don’t provide that value-add service of providing information about the results of the month, then how do they know where their money is going?

We take our relationships with our clients very seriously. It may drive me bananas to have to do this every month, but if I don’t do it I have very little chance of holding onto that client long-term. Meanwhile, I wrote this piece in an effort to procrastinate this month’s reports. Now that it’s finished, I guess I have to get to work.

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