Communicating Success: 3 Lessons on Social Reporting

This article was originally posted on the OpenView Blog and can be found here. 


openview-labs-logoAs a marketer at OpenView Labs, the operational consulting arm of OpenView Venture Partners, I have the pleasure of working with some of our incredible portfolio companies – including the amazing team at Spredfast. I recently launched a Google Hangout series with several marketers within our portfolio, which has become an interactive series of presentations on topics and pain points that all social marketers can relate to.

As a social marketer, communicating and reporting on your ROI is a daunting task. Depending on your goals, the right metrics can tell a great story but without context, it can also leave you feeling ineffective and it can leave your higher ups wondering what they’re paying you for. Courtney Doman and Ellen Westcott of the Spredfast team did an amazing job of sharing how their clients – some of the biggest brands out there including Whole Foods, Gannett and National Instruments – have found success in presenting their own social program visibility.


3 Tiers of Social Reporting

The biggest lesson I learned from their presentation is that you need to report differently depending on the audience. Such a simple concept that my team talks about quite a bit, but in the end, we usually revert back to “report on everything for everyone.” My hope is that with the following lessons, I’ll be able to transform my own reporting to convey the right story to the right tier of people at OpenView.


Executive Level

Where are we going? Are we getting there fast enough? Do we have the right people in the car?


For the executives at your company, you should be delivering metrics at a high level. They ultimately care about four things and it’s your job to communicate this clearly without making them do too much digging. The execs want to know:

  • What campaigns are driving the most success?
  • What campaigns are performing best in social?
  • How do campaign results stack up and is this good?
  • Are these campaigns targeting the right customer?


Director Level

What kind of car are we driving? Are we headed in the right cardinal direction? Are we saving on gas?

The director level, likely your boss or boss’s boss, is going to be a little more detailed and for good reason. In addition to all of the above reporting, directors want to know the following:

  • When and where are campaigns succeeding or not?
  • What type of engagement /business result is this campaign getting and was that the goal?
  • How do results compare to other marketing efforts? i.e. Are we saving or losing money with social?


Community Level

What are the turn-by-turn directions? Where are the roadblocks and shortcuts? What kind of snacks do we have in the car?

The community level is the team of people responsible for the daily activities that get the content created and out the door. This report is your most granular and drills down to a level that will help influence change.

  • What sort of reach/activity/engagement and results do we get by channel, by campaign?
  • What is top performing content in each campaign?
  • What is bottom performing content by campaign?
  • Publishing insights


Key Takeaways

At the end of the day, your social program visibility relies heavily on the numbers you are reporting on. The Spredfast team reminded all of us that, when it comes to social metrics:

  • One size does not fit all
  • Reporting needs to vary across the organization
  • Tailor reporting based on the intended audience

The key to successful reporting comes from making sure that everyone’s on the same page, areas of success are highlighted, and areas of concern are explained. Most of all, make sure your reporting is useful to everyone – otherwise, it’s just wasted time.

I’d love to hear from you: do you alter your social reports for the different levels of your organization? What’s working for you? 

Morgan_ProfileMorgan Burke is the Content Marketing Specialist for OpenView Labs. She is responsible for managing social communications and supporting the content marketing strategy. Read her blog and connect with her on Twitter @morgankburke.'s picture

Courtney Doman

Courtney is the Content Marketing Manager at Spredfast. She focuses on sharing smart social ideas and insights to transform the way companies connect with consumers. Courtney is a passionate football fan (supporting Arsenal and the USMNT), curious traveller, and ambitious home cook.