The association business is all about getting results. Executive directors and board of directors are constantly trying to figure out how many new members have been recruited, how many have been retained, how much non-dues revenue was generated, how often certain services are being used, and on and on.
It’s no different for an association’s use of social media. Those who run member organizations will always want to know if its social media efforts are yielding results and to what extent. We’ve gone in-depth into the myriad of statistics association professionals can use to determine the effectiveness of Twitter, Facebook and blogs, so we’ll leave that for now, but it’s also very important to present these statistics effectively. That’s why knowing how to create a regular progress report for your organization’s social media channels is crucial.
Below, we’ve put together a template for association professionals looking to create a monthly or quarterly report for their Twitter account. The template examines four main areas of a typical report. So, without further ado, here is how to create a Twitter progress report:
This part of the report is all about gathering and condensing the key statistics that your association’s Twitter account has generated. This can include anything from the amount of followers gained to the number of retweets received or even the number of profile clicks garnered during the time period you are analyzing. This section is all about the raw numbers and is great for seeing the big-picture results of your organization’s Twitter efforts.
If you are wondering which numbers to look at and include in this section of the report, here are a few we always find helpful: Followers gained, retweets, favourites, mentions/replies, URL clicks, total number of interactions, total number of impressions and average engagement rate. This section is also a chance to calculate and post preliminary ROI numbers, such as the average cost-per-impression.
You can access all these numbers through Twitter Analytics (general statistics for each tweet on an Excel spread sheet) or Bit.ly (used for tracking the performance of links posted to social media).
Significant Tweets and Interactions
This section of the Twitter report examines the tweets that generated the most attention or received high-quality interactions during the time period examined. This part of the report can be broken into two sub-sections: tweets with the highest quantity and tweets with the highest quality.
The first step is to review the tweets with the highest number of interactions and engagement. Using Twitter Analytics, review the tweets that generated the most retweets, the most favourites, the highest engagement rate, etc. It is always best to post the number of interactions these tweets receive as well as a screen shot of the tweet with a date and time. This is useful later for determining several factors related to the success of future posts that will be examined in the fourth section of the report.
The second step is to review the tweets with the highest quality of engagement. This part of the report highlights three to five tweets that did exceptionally well in all areas of engagement and provided value to the association through important interactions. The term ‘highest quality’ is very subjective; what may qualify as very valuable piece of engagement for one association may not be valuable at all for another association. There are, however, some guidelines that may be useful when creating this part of the report.
Look for tweets that had an above-average number of impressions or total interactions and also had a decent-to-above-average engagement rate. You can also examine the quality of engagement. For example, if an influential member who has a wide range of followers retweeted one of your posts, this is more valuable than if someone vaguely connected with your industry retweets it.
Again, screen shot the highlighted tweets to provide a visual representation of your association’s Twitter efforts and to use for fine-tuning your social media strategy. Explain in two to five sentences why each tweet was significant.
New Follower Demographics
This part of the report analyzes the new followers that your association’s Twitter account gained over the time period examined and places them into demographic categories. This section is important in determining if your organization’s Twitter account is reaching its target audience and how much the account’s audience is growing in general.
The first step to creating this section is to determine your association’s key influencers, or, in other words, your association’s target demographics. These different demographic segments can include industry professionals, member of the media in the industry, other industry-related organizations, business members, etc. You can get as specific or as broad as you’d like. The remaining followers can be separated into two other groups; Other Organizations and Other Individuals. These are often your spam accounts or followers that get very little value from your efforts and, in turn, your association received very little value from them.
The next step in creating this section is collecting the numbers. Go through the followers your account gained in the time period you are examining and place each of them into their corresponding audience segment. After you are finished, create a chart that makes a visual representation of each audience segment, how many new followers fall into each, the names/Twitter handles of each new follower and the percentage of new followers each demographic segment makes up.
At the end of this process, you will have a better idea of how effective your account is at connecting with your association’s target audience. For example, if you find that 50 per cent of your new followers in the last month were industry professionals and 20 per cent were industry-related media members, you are doing well. However, if 70 per cent are random individuals or organizations, you will have to develop strategies for reaching out to Twitter users who fit into your target audience.
Final Analysis and Goal Setting
This is the penultimate section of the report in which you must take all the raw numbers you have gathered and use them to analyze how well the Twitter has done while also charting the account’s course for months to come. Again, the information you include in this section varies greatly depending on the priorly-defined goals of the association and the account as well as the resources invested into your social media efforts, but there are some general topics you can hone in on to make this final analysis effective.
One approach to this final analysis is to examine the return on investment that you captured for your association through Twitter during the time period you are looking at. You can take a closer look at which tweets produced the best results and conclude the reason behind their success. You can also compare the return on investment metrics (such as cost-per-interaction or cost-per-follower) to past reports to determine the rate of growth of the Twitter account.
Another approach to this section is to look at the success of your association’s original content on Twitter and the platform’s ability to drive traffic to key parts of your association’s website. For example, if your association is pushing for more attendees at its annual conference, you can examine and analyze the performance of tweets related to the conference. Are they receiving a high quantity and quality of interactions? Are they generating enough clicks on links to the registration page of the association website? These are the areas you can look at to determine the effectiveness of the Twitter account and its usefulness to the association’s goals.
Lastly, you should present goals and recommendations for the association’s Twitter account in this section of the report. After analyzing the numbers, it is always a good idea to fine-tune the association’s Twitter strategy moving forward. This is when you look at the numbers and determine if tweeting on a certain day of the week or during a certain window of time generates more engagement. This is also when you can decide to reach out to more members of your target audience or develop strategies to generate more traffic to your association’s website. Whatever your analysis is, create clear, quantifiable goals and strategies for attaining them.