Working in social media at an agency means managing multiple brands, distilling huge (and sometimes contradictory) data sets into actionable insights.

When a social media campaign goes wrong, most agencies have standard operating procedures for assuaging clients and pinpointing what went wrong.

Figuring out what went right on a winning campaign can be a more difficult process. In a confusing flood of data about likes and comments, social media managers at agencies are under pressure to replicate them. And not just for one brand, but for dozens.

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Real photo of a social media analyst after a successful Instagram campaign

Client meetings before and after a social media campaign runs are the most important for agencies: they’re where a client signs onto a campaign, or an additional one. An agency’s ability to replicate success depends on that first meeting, where benchmarks are staked out for engagement and follower growth.

How can agencies leverage analytics to set achievable goals before launching a campaign, and convincingly promise to replicate its success afterwards?

Benchmark Beforehand

In order to build concrete goals for a campaign, social media analysts first have to calculate total audience size. How many impressions can you hope for? What followings can you reach for higher engagement?

Just one brand might have an account on multiple social networks; brands with many locations, or franchises, might have hundreds. Going blind while scrolling through rows in endless spreadsheets is one way: creating a brand report is another.

In your analytics dashboard, click Add Brand Report to compile accounts for one brand. You’ll be able to add brands across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

Once you’ve created the report, the compiled data is available immediately. Total following and average engagement rate will help you create estimates for your next campaign. Adding and averaging by network, you’ll also know what channels you should focus on.

Exports make sharing data when planning a campaign with colleagues and clients easy. When confronted with total cross-platform audience numbers, it’s easier to make realistic and achievable campaign goals.

If you do feel the need to squint at a spreadsheet, or compare social data to other KPIs, Excel/CSV is available.

Pinpoint Afterwards

After you’ve benchmarked the campaign, and gone through the messy business of creating and executing it, quantifying your success is the final step. Like the initial benchmarking, without a good analytics solution in place, a successful campaign becomes a mystery that you can’t repeat.

After a campaign runs, you can compare its performance across social media channels with commensurable data points. Brand reports deliver the same metrics for every platform, making it easy to figure out which ones were the best fit for a recent campaign.

Average percentage of followers or fans engaged, for example, is an invaluable metric that assesses the quality of your audience on each platform. With the same metrics for different platforms, you can skip making your own calculations or misunderstanding a campaign’s performance.

Multiple Accounts, Minimal Panic

Madly flipping between tabs and reports before and after a campaign runs might be the most frustrating part of working at an agency. Brand reports provide clarity, demystifying data points for key client meetings: the pitch and the recap.

By measuring performance across social media, brand reports give agencies the best chance to succeed with their clients. And they save brand managers the headache of rounding up data from multiple platforms.