A complete guide to creating a social media dashboard your clients will care aboutBy Lawrence Dy
Once upon a time, it was sufficient for businesses to create a Facebook account, pen the occasional post, and call it a day. Today, even small businesses generally have to manage multiple social media accounts to stay top-of-mind for their target audiences.
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That’s where the social media dashboard comes into play: a powerful, all-in-one interface that can help your clients finally gain control of their social media destiny. In this article, we’ll guide you in the process of creating a social media dashboard that you and your clients can easily digest to prove the value and ROI of your services.
Table of Contents
- What is a social media dashboard?
- Why is creating a social media dashboard important for agencies and SMBs?
- How to create a social media management dashboard: Step by step
- Choose your metrics and KPIs
- Choose the right social media dashboard software
- Getting it all set up: preparing your social media dashboard
- Customize the dashboard
- The big reveal: Sharing the dashboard with your client
- Social media dashboard best practices
- Frequently asked questions
What is a social media dashboard?
A social media management dashboard is a management tool that consolidates data from multiple social media platforms into a single unified interface. It streamlines the process of monitoring, posting, and analyzing social media activity, enabling users to efficiently manage and evaluate their online presence across different platforms.
Why is creating a social media dashboard important for agencies and SMBs?
Creating a social media monitoring dashboard can transform the approach of agencies and small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to managing their social accounts by centralizing the management of multiple platforms, saving time, and improving efficiency.
There’s no denying that social media has transformed the ability of SMBs to connect with audiences on an unprecedented scale. But all of this potential comes with added complexity. Social media monitoring dashboards solve this problem, by giving marketers a way to reduce complexity without compromising the performance of their social media campaigns.
They enable real-time monitoring of engagement, help track campaign performance, and provide actionable insights into audience and customer behavior. The best social media analytics dashboards also simplify reporting and data visualization, facilitating better decision-making and strategy development for time-strapped SMBs.
How to create a social media management dashboard: Step by step
1. Choose your metrics and KPIs
As management consultant Peter Drucker said, and many have repeated, “What gets measured gets managed”. Without hard data, it’s impossible to know for sure how your client’s social media efforts are paying off.
The first step of creating any social media management dashboard is ensuring it generates the data you and your clients need. Metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are essential in quantifying the performance of your social media campaigns. They provide tangible evidence of your successes and areas for improvement, enabling the refinement of your strategy for better results.
So, how do you know which metrics and KPIs should be included in your social media analytics dashboard? Start by getting familiar with your client's goals.
Alternatively, maybe their top goal is to generate leads or sales. In this case, tracking the click-through rate (CTR) or conversion rate will be most important.
Examples of metrics to include in your social media analytics dashboard.
The analytics portion of your social media dashboard might include any of the following metrics:
- Engagement metrics: This includes any audience engagement, such as likes, comments, saves, and shares. Engagement metrics provide insight into how interesting and relevant the audience finds the content.
- Reach and impressions: The reach and impressions of a post can be far smaller or greater than the follower count depending on the post. Higher reach suggests the content is more engaging.
- Follower growth rate: This indicates the speed at which an account’s audience is growing. A higher growth rate can mean a business is doing a good job getting in front of more prospective customers.
- CTR: A higher CTR indicates that more viewers were compelled enough to click on a link and, hopefully, move further along the sales funnel.
- Conversion rate: This indicates the percentage of users who took a desired action. The conversion being tracked might be sales, but doesn’t necessarily have to be. It might also be contest entries or newsletter entries, for example.
- Audience demographics: SMBs may be focused on selling to a specific demographic, so tracking the characteristics of their audience can help them make sure they’re on track and appealing to their target ideal customer.
- Average response time: Response times on social media influence a brand’s online reputation. Tracking these can help SMBs improve their customer service and, in turn, reputation.
2. Choose the right social media dashboard software
Not all social media metrics dashboards are created equal, and selecting the best software for your agency can help you deliver better solutions to your clients from the start, without having to switch to a better tool down the line.
Some examples of social media management dashboards available today include:
- Vendasta’s Social Marketing tool
- Sprout Social
- And more
When choosing a platform, consider both your client’s needs and the features of the platform. On the client side, it helps to be aware of their budget, business size, and industry, as well as the social media platforms they’re most active on. Your social media monitoring dashboard should be within their budget and have robust features for the platforms that are most important to them.
Social media dashboard features
The best social media dashboard software will be ultra-flexible, enabling you to cater to just about any client budget and requirement. Look for these important features:
- A unified interface from which multiple social media accounts can be accessed, saving users from having to individually log into each account to create a post, engage, or track metrics.
- A messaging inbox enabling social media managers to have conversations from different platforms in one place.
- Simplified multichannel posting such as Vendasta’s post once, publish to many features.
- Post scheduling capability, enabling users to batch-create and plan content.
- Ecommerce integrations where possible, such as on Instagram, turning social media channels into extensions of your client’s online store.
- Link tracking for a better understanding of which platforms and posts drive the most traffic.
- Content creation tools, from AI-powered social media idea generation to built-in stock photography
- Integrations with other digital marketing solutions.
- Robust, customizable analytics that provide insights into key metrics and performance indicators.
3. Getting it all set up: preparing your social media dashboard
Whichever social media metrics dashboard you choose, the platform should provide clear guidance for how to set up the dashboard interface and get started. In general, these are the steps to getting the dashboard ready for use by your client:
- Create an account and add any additional users
- Set user permissions if available
- Link social media accounts, such as Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
- Choose appropriate metrics to track and configure these to be easily visible in the social media analytics dashboard
- Set up any additional data source apart from social media accounts, such as Google Analytics or other website data sources
- Configure data visualizations and reports to best represent the desired data, and set up social media reporting dashboard to regularly generate reports
4. Customize the dashboard
If you sell social media management services, there will be some variation in how to best set up your social media monitoring dashboard for different clients.
A flexible dashboard software will make it easier for you to make customizations so that every client has a just-for-them solution that meets their needs. By customizing your social media dashboard for every user, you can make it easier for them to interact with it and see the data they’re most interested in.
So, what kind of customizations can you make? Try these for a one-of-a-kind dashboard every time:
- Put the data they’re most interested in at the top of the dashboard
- Link only the accounts they actively use, and remove unused accounts to reduce clutter and ensure accurate data
- Customize data representations according to client preferences—for example, do they prefer bar charts, pie charts, or some other visualization?
- Add branding elements such as logos and colors to create an attractive, on-brand interface that clients will love interacting with
5. The big reveal: Sharing the dashboard with your client
When the time comes to share your customized and configured social media management dashboard with your client, you aren’t just providing access to a tool. You’re also deepening your client’s engagement with their social media strategy and fostering a sense of ownership and collaboration.
Even if you use your in-house team or white-label social media experts to deliver social media services, and your client is relatively hands-off, there are still benefits to sharing their configured dashboard.
- Fosters transparency. Honesty is the cornerstone of trust in any agency-client relationship. By granting them real-time access to the data and insights generated by their campaign, you allow them to see firsthand the results of their investment. The result? More confidence in your services.
- Better understanding of your metrics. Sharing your social media dashboard also empowers your client to understand their metrics better. This can lead to more productive conversations about strategy and performance, strengthening the collaborative aspect of your partnership.
Quick tips for sharing your dashboard with your clients
Giving your client access is generally as simple as setting up a separate login for them. Make sure they have all the necessary permissions required to interact with the dashboard, take actions, and access the analytics of their social media metrics dashboard. Then, take some time to explain how everything works. Here are a few tips to make this conversation effective:
- Provide a walkthrough: Begin by giving your client a general overview of the dashboard layout. Familiarize them with the navigation, modules, and how to switch between different views or sections.
- Explain the significance of key metrics: Go through each metric being tracked on the dashboard. Explain what each metric measures, why it’s important, and how it aligns with their goals. You may also want to provide social media management guidelines to help them meet these goals.
- Show them how to interpret the data: Help your client understand how to read the different charts and graphs in the social media analytics dashboard. Explain any color coding or icons used in the visualizations.
Reiterate the value: Remind them how regularly consulting the dashboard can provide valuable insights and inform their decision-making process, and how an effective social media strategy can support their overall business goals.
Social media dashboard best practices
Now that you have the basics of how to create, configure, customize, and share your social media monitoring dashboard, let’s take your skills to the next level by digging into some tips and best practices. Keep these in mind as you choose a social media dashboard software and set it up. These tips aren’t just helpful for clients: you’ll appreciate how they improve your dashboards, too.
Social media monitoring dashboards are meant to make life easier, not more complicated. They should be easy to comprehend, limiting the possibility of data overload.
Including too many metrics or excessive, irrelevant information can lead to confusion, detracting from the primary goal: clear, actionable insights.
Focus on highlighting metrics that align specifically with your client’s objectives, and remember that sometimes less is more. By maintaining a simple and clutter-free interface, clients can quickly grasp the performance of their social media campaigns without sifting through superfluous data.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Whether you’re a data junkie or not, there’s no denying the power of an effective visualization to get information across concisely and efficiently. Data visualization helps to communicate performance statistics at a glance, without the clutter and complexity of, say, a spreadsheet.
Graphs, charts, and tables translate abstract numerical data into instantly comprehensible visual elements, giving you and your clients a way to swiftly analyze trends and patterns.
In your social media metrics dashboard, ensure your visuals are neat and precise. They should also highlight the key information your client needs to know, and exclude irrelevant data. Techniques like color coding and using different chart styles depending on the information being conveyed can improve data readability and understanding.
If your social media reporting dashboard offers lots of different metrics, it can be tempting to include them all. However, resist the urge to display irrelevant metrics just to look impressive. Metrics are the heart of your dashboard.
It’s important to discern between vanity metrics that look good on the surface and actionable metrics that provide real value. Focus on figures that directly pertain to your client’s goals and KPIs, providing them with a genuine understanding of their social media performance.
Stay in the now with real-time data
In the constantly-changing world of social media, yesterday’s data is old news. Aim to create a social media analytics dashboard that gives insights into real-time metrics as they unfold.
Providing real-time data gives you and your clients the insights that matter when it comes to monitoring social media campaigns. You’ll be able to identify trends, developments, and even problems as they emerge, giving you the chance to make timely proactive adjustments rather than reactive ones.
Remember, the key benefit of any social media metrics dashboard is the ability to optimize outcomes. The fresher the data, the more it can aid in decision-making to produce the best possible results.
Organize for easy access
The organization of your social media reporting dashboard will impact its user-friendliness. Strategically grouping related metrics together can create a logical flow of information that makes sense to your client. Ideally, your client should be able to open up the dashboard, glance around, and quickly understand the most important metrics they’re tracking.
Visualization and organization tools like color coding or the use of distinct sections can help users quickly spot what they’re looking for.
Enhance meaning through context
While raw numbers provide data, context gives meaning to those numbers.
Every metric on your analytics social media dashboard should come with an explanation of what it represents and how it aligns with the client’s business objectives. Offering benchmarks or industry averages can also be useful, providing a relevant comparison point that helps clients understand their relative performance.
Keep it dynamic: Review and update your dashboard
As your client’s goals shift and evolve, the metrics you keep an eye on may also need to adapt. Create a schedule to regularly review your social media reporting dashboard and update it as needed. This can help you eliminate outdated metrics and incorporate new ones that better serve your client’s current needs. You don’t necessarily need to do this every month, but a quarterly check-in can keep things fresh.
Frequently asked questions
What are the key components of a social media dashboard?
A social media dashboard typically includes integration with a range of social media accounts, enabling effortless posting directly from the dashboard interface. It also provides a centralized and organized inbox, ensuring all conversations from various social media accounts can be managed in a single location. Another key component is the tracking of metrics and KPIs, usually presented in an appealing and easy-to-understand way, giving users actionable insights to optimize their social media strategies and campaigns.
How often should I update my social media dashboard?
You should update your social media dashboard whenever your social media or business goals change, to ensure the metrics tracked in the dashboard provide insights to support your most up-to-date goals. For many businesses, a quarterly update is sufficient, although some businesses may want to update their dashboard at different intervals.