The stakes are high when it comes to enterprise reporting. Because as your company scales, so does the scope of metrics your business monitors. Wrangling reporting at the enterprise level isn’t just about how much data you’re dealing with. In fact, there’s a much bigger challenge in how you communicate that data across departments. And all of this highlights the importance of in-depth, share-ready social media reporting. Chances are you already have stakeholders and outside departments that want to see your numbers. The ability to communicate return on investment (ROI) and business impact clearly is crucial for social marketers today. Streamlining your enterprise reporting process can help you provide consistent and confident answers. Below we explain how you can make it happen and why it should be a priority.
Table of Contents
What is enterprise reporting?
Enterprise reporting refers to analyzing and communicating company-wide data across an organization. These reports track KPIs across your entire organization, including department-specific data. Through enterprise reporting, you get a holistic view of how your business works (together). These are reports that cover business KPIs, operations, productivity metrics and beyond. The goal of enterprise reporting? Communicate results and takeaways to key stakeholders organization-wide. Reports are most valuable to teams by ticking three boxes:
- The data reported is accurate and up-to-date
- Reports get to the right stakeholders consistently and securely
- Data is clear, actionable and interpreted accurately
The points above may seem straightforward enough. The reality? Achieving all of the above with hundreds or thousands of employees is no small feat.
Why is social media important for enterprise reporting?
Simply put, social media is a goldmine when it comes to business intelligence. That’s because your social presence impacts so many sects of your business. This includes your sales and marketing funnels. The wealth of data to gather via social is nothing to scoff at. Below is a quick snapshot of why social media matters so much for enterprise reporting:
- Brand and product research on social media is at an all-time high. As brand discovery on social media grows, so do opportunities to gather data beyond lead gen. This includes customer insights and shopping preferences based on engagement.
- Uncover marketing wins (and future opportunities to assist other departments). From customer service to sales and beyond, social interactions are almost guaranteed across the buyer’s journey. Reporting on those key touchpoints can highlight value for your department and beyond.
- Social media is integral to audience research. Beyond engagement metrics, the qualitative data you can gather from social media is critical. From market research to competitive analysis, there’s no better place to track real-time trends.
What are the benefits of enterprise reporting?
You probably already feel like you’re dealing with more than enough data as-is. You’re already tracking your share of numbers so why add more to your plate? That’s why more businesses are investing in enterprise reporting tools, though. Time spent tracking KPIs shouldn’t go to waste. Through more accurate and streamlined company reporting, you can take those numbers beyond your dashboard and translate them into real results. Here’s a sample of the benefits of better enterprise reporting for any given business:
Point to ROI for stakeholders without second-guessing
Proving social media ROI is consistently one of the top challenges of marketers year after year. That’s because some stakeholders are still skeptical of its value. That’s all the more reason to present hard numbers in the context of results and KPIs. In-depth social media analytics go hand in hand with enterprise reporting as you present more than surface-level business impact.
Make company-wide decisions (and predictions) with more confidence
Brands are spoiled for choice when it comes to potential social media campaigns. Content marketing. Social ads. ABM. The list goes on. Understanding which platforms, processes and tactics produce real results means digging into the data. Doing so can help you prioritize and make predictions with better accuracy.
Break down silos and build toward unified company goals
Enterprise reporting encourages you to keep a pulse on the numbers that matter not to you but to other teams. Likewise, you can focus on the tactics that align directly with timely objectives. Data silos are a universal challenge for enterprise companies. The bigger your company, the bigger your silos. These silos result in misinterpreted reports, lost productivity and wasted time. On the flip side, breaking down silos via company-wide reporting encourages cross-team collaboration. This can also reduce the burden of decision-making on your marketing team.
How to create an effective enterprise report in 7 easy steps
Now that we know how enterprise reporting helps businesses in theory, let’s look at it in practice. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what goes into a report that resonates with stakeholders.
1. Roll out reporting templates for faster collaboration
Enterprise social teams are constantly juggling reporting requests. For example, one department might want click attribution data. Maybe another department was context on an ad campaign’s engagement rate or reach. The ongoing and growing need for cross-departmental reports puts marketers in a tricky situation. At a glance, your options are:
- A. Create multiple, tailored reports for each team on demand
- B. Send a generic, one-size-fits-all report across departments
Of course, both options aren’t exactly ideal. Option A can quickly become a time-sink. Not to mention it takes away from your marketing efforts and strategy elsewhere. Option B might be more time-efficient but leaves room for error. Data can get misread by stakeholders or (even worse) ignored altogether. That’s where templates can save the day. Creating a social media report template for each department should be your first priority. Doing so upfront saves countless hours in the long run. You’ll also encourage cross-team collaboration and find opportunities to delegate work. You can create and save templates DIY with tools like Google Docs, Sheets (or Excel) and Slides. Which one you use depends on your preference and presentation style. Better yet, consider a social media management solution like Sprout Social. Custom reports in Sprout meet the demands and depth of enterprise reporting. The Report Builder tool instantly aligns your social data and is a nice added bonus. Also, Sprout’s platform makes it a cinch to share reports across teams ASAP. This encourages a streamlined reporting process that delights your entire company.
2. Include an executive summary
Once your report leaves your outbox, there’s no telling where your data will end up. Going unread happens. Things get worse when reports get shared beyond who they were intended for. Your recipients may have meant well when sharing. However, this often creates follow-up questions and confusion. You might be asked to explain data you already explained in your original report. This is yet another waste of time and energy. That’s why sharing reports with context is so important. Data on its own doesn’t mean much. For example, an uptick in brand mentions could mean people are loving your service. But it also could mean people are making complaints. To make sure your data is always framed with the big picture in mind, include an executive summary. Executive summaries provide a brief overview of report findings. This allows you to control your data narrative.
Features in Sprout like text elements available in our custom reports are huge here. You can use them to add in context that showcases the full ROI of social. This includes benchmarks, data from Google Analytics and more. These details make reports more valuable by being accessible and actionable. Anyone seeing it can understand it without having to interpret the metrics themselves.
3. Create a data glossary
Let’s assume your team is fully aligned on your KPIs and business impact. You know what your progress means and how it all ladders up into business goals. However, anyone beyond the marketing department doesn’t live and breathe social metrics. They may understand how an engagement differs from a click. However, they don’t know how that connects back to department and company goals. With a data glossary, you can attach a quick recap of the “why” behind your goals with every report that you send. A formal data glossary is a collection of all the terms that define your data across systems. These are often large undertakings led by an IT department but they don’t have to be. A simpler, marketing-specific version can be created quickly and with minimal effort. Making it happen starts by compiling information. This starts when you first set your quarterly or yearly objectives and KPIs. Sort that in a table format with a quick recap of each KPI and how it supports a business or marketing objective. This provides external stakeholders with all everything they need to contextualize your reports. Here’s an example of what an entry could look like:
Impressions: A reach metric that tracks how many times a post or profile has been seen. Our quarterly and annual impressions goals ladder up to the marketing department’s brand awareness goal.
You can also use your data glossary as a document hub that links out to:
- Benchmark data
- More in-depth social media KPI explainers
- Strategy documents to encourage interested parties to learn more about team initiatives.
4. Align your reporting with your business goals and needs
This might seem like a no-brainer but it’s easier said than done. Especially since social media given how many areas of your business it touches. To assess what should go into your reports, start by considering big-picture business goals. For example, increasing MRR or increasing lead quality. Then, look at more granular data points that tie into them. You can likewise break your reporting down by different types of KPIs such as:
- Strategic KPIs related to ROI, profits and revenue
- Operational KPIs related to time (or time spent) on certain tasks and initiatives
- Functional KPIs related to your department and its performance
Not every metric you track is going to tie directly to a business goal. That’s okay! However, your reports should ideally prioritize metrics that matter most to your stakeholders. Extra information can lead to lost interest and likewise distract from your wins.
5. Create data visualizations that provide actionable insights
Anything you can do to make your reports understandable ASAP is a plus. That’s where data visualization comes in. For example, you can translate numbers in reports into formats including:
- Area charts
- Line charts
- Bar charts
- Pie charts
- Scatter plots
- Heat maps
Food for thought: nearly two-thirds of people consider themselves to be visual learners. On that note, nobody wants to sift through a laundry list of numbers even with context. With data visualization, your reports instantly become:
- Easy to understand at a glance
- More shareable
Sprout Social automatically generates visual reports for your social media performance. You can generate visuals for internal reports including task performance and team reports. You also can easily track follower growth rate, measure post performance and compare yourself against the competition through these visual reports.
6. Leverage an enterprise reporting tool
Given the wealth of social data to go through, tracking number by number DIY isn’t realistic. In the case of enterprise brands, measuring customer interactions and engagement metrics alone across multiple channels is a massive time-sink. This highlights the value of an enterprise social media tool like Sprout Social. Sprout leverages the rise of AI with social listening tools to gain business-critical learnings from millions of unfiltered thoughts, opinions and feedback. This empowers you to upgrade your strategy and guide future action. Automated engagement tools both gather and analyze the data so you can focus on action and gather your data accordingly.
7. Share reports proactively
Social media has transformed how businesses operate and deliver value to their customers. Firsthand insights into consumer needs, trends and competitive intelligence are massive. This is especially for the enterprise. The problem? Only 8% of marketers say social data is treated like an organization-wide business intelligence resource. As the old saying goes: “You don’t know what you don’t know.” Many businesses aren’t leveraging social data to the fullest because they don’t know what it can do. Leading with social data starts with you. Create teaching moments illustrating the value of social media and its business impact. Proactively sharing social data lay the groundwork for future strategic initiatives. Especially when shown to people that didn’t ask for it. All the ‘while maintaining control over where your data goes and how it is shared. On top of that, it’s as easy as a quick CC or a scheduled PDF send.
How to leverage social media data in your enterprise reporting
Again, you’re probably already sitting on a mountain of social media. That’s not a bad problem to have! Especially for the sake of building out comprehensive enterprise reports. To wrap things up, we’ll provide some examples of opportunities to translate your numbers into action.
Gain a competitive advantage through social insights
- Messaging: Understand which values (think: affordability vs. ease-of-use vs. ethics) matter most to your audience, how your messaging compares to your competitors, which types of messages and pieces of content result in the highest (or most valuable) interactions
- Sentiment: What thoughts or feelings are associated with your brand based on conversations about your brand (this includes specific phrases, reviews and comparisons between your brand and competitors)
- Content types: Which social assets actually move the needle, what do they have in common in terms of format (think: photos versus photos) or goal (think: customer education vs. offers vs. community-building)
Get a better understanding of your target audience
- Pain points: Detect common challenges and pain points based on conversations, comments and feedback on social media (both publicly and within DMs)
- Favorite products: Uncover which products your audience is talking about or inquiring about the most, understand which specific features or details they gravitate toward
- Sources of engagement: Which pieces of content drive the most interactions and meaningful social media leads across your platforms (think: IG vs. TikTok)
Gather quick insights for better data-driven decision making
- What to publish: Content formats based on engagement rate, reach and interactions
- Where to publish: Which platforms earn the most interactions or generate the most leads from social media
- When to publish: Understand your brand’s ideal publishing frequency on each platform to maximize your time and productivity
Is your brand equipped with enterprise reporting?
The role of social media in business intelligence can’t be overstated. Now’s the time to break down enterprise silos and start maximizing your data. If you’re already tracking it at scale, translating your data into action should be your next step. That’s where Sprout Social’s enterprise features can save the day. If you haven’t already, check out Sprout’s suite of tools to help you share reports quickly and effectively.
Enterprise Reporting FAQs
What is the difference between business intelligence and enterprise reporting?
Business intelligence is a bigger-picture concept related to the technology and methodology for companies analyzing KPIs and data. Enterprise reporting is a function of business intelligence.
Is enterprise reporting the same as an enterprise story?
Nope! “Enterprise story” is a journalistic term related to news reporting, not business reporting.
What is an enterprise reporting strategy?
An enterprise reporting strategy refers to how you implement your analytics and deliver reports across your organization. For example:
- How often do specific departments send their reports?
- What are your criteria for which stakeholders see reports (and which don’t)?
- Is there a universal format for reports in your organization?
How much does enterprise reporting cost?
It depends! Enterprise reporting tools vary in price based on their features and functionalities. For example, some businesses might emphasize features related to visualizations while others may be more concerned about comprehensive report-sharing.
What are some examples of enterprise reporting?
Examples of enterprise reports include (but are definitely not limited to):
- Sales reports that measure SQLs, deal size, individual employee performance and more.
- Human resources reports that measure employee engagement and performance.
- Marketing reports that measure the performance of advertising channels and lead generation efforts.