The articles here at Sprout Insights are designed to keep you informed about ways to improve your social media presence. But beyond the blog, our parent company, Sprout Social, has social media management tools that help you track and control that presence.

Sprout Social has specialized reports that can give you in-depth data about your online performance. Conveniently, it also presents plenty of information right on your home page. This is the dashboard, and it has the most important statistics about your brand’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Here’s a look at how to tailor your dashboard, as well as an explanation of the information that you’ll find on that page.

Customizing the Dashboard

You can customize the accounts that appear on your dashboard by creating Groups. First, log in to your Sprout Social account; if you don’t have one yet, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial. To make a new Group, go to the Settings button at the far top right of the home page and click on “Users & Groups.” The top section of this page lists all of your existing groups. Click the “Add a Group” button to create a new collection of profiles. You’ll need to verify your access to either a Facebook or Twitter profile in order to start a new Group.

After you’ve confirmed permissions for an account and named your new Group, you can look at your available profiles in the second section of the page. All the Twitter and Facebook brand Pages you include in a Group will appear in the statistics when you look at that Group’s dashboard. To toggle between different Groups on the dashboard, click on the drop-down menu at the top right of your home screen (it’s the menu with a colored asterisk next to a Group name). You can also see the data for all the sections for the past week or the past month.

Group Trends

The first feature you’ll see on the dashboard is the “Group Trends” section. This box includes several line graphs to give you a visual representation of how your brand has been performing online. It lists your numbers of incoming messages, sent messages, new Twitter followers, and new Facebook fans. You can see your total impressions, the number of interactions your accounts have had, along with how many unique users you’ve interacted with.

Group Trends gives you a great overall impression of your presence on Twitter and Facebook. It can drive the rest of your investigations into Sprout Social’s reports. Especially when you compare the graphs for different Groups, this information offers a quick look at how your company is doing in the two most popular social media networks.

Audience Demographics

Knowing your audience is a huge part of running a successful marketing campaign. To show off your brand in its best light for the people who read your social media accounts, Sprout Social provides the “Audience Demographics” feature on the dashboard with details about your followers. This section breaks out all the Twitter accounts and all the Facebook accounts in any given Group separately. It has the percentages of male and female followers, as well as the percentage of fans by age. The Facebook data even breaks out age brackets by gender.

This data can be especially helpful for businesses with multiple accounts on a single social media network, because it will help you to understand the different populations that each profile reaches. In turn, you can better tailor the information that you post and share on each account in order to get the best follower response. It could also cut down on your need to cross-post a single update across all of your accounts.

My Social Profiles

The final section of the dashboard, “My Social Profiles,” gives snapshots of the individual accounts connected to the Group being shown. For Twitter feeds, that includes an assessment of your influence and engagement, your total number of followers, and you average number of posts per day. For Facebook Pages, you can see your number of fans, changes to your number of likes and unlikes, and your impressions.

Sprout Social’s Social Profiles metric gives you a clearer idea of the various parts that make up your social media footprint. Use this metric to alert you early on if one of your accounts starts to underperform, or to monitor the results of any change in strategy for a particular social media profile.