Sometimes people ask us, “how much time should I spend on social media”. Unfortunately, the answer is very subjective, but a good rule of thumb is that you should spend as much time as you need to get the result that you want.
It Depends On Your Goals
For example, let’s say that your primary social media goal is just to monitor conversations to find out if anyone is talking about your company. If you’re not planning to actively seek out people and engage them in conversation, then you’re not going to spend nearly as much time as someone who’s looking to actually participate in conversations. What you should do in this case is set up automated monitoring tools that will notify you when someone has mentioned your company. This significantly reduces the amount of time you need to spend searching on social media sites.
Active Social Media
If you’re looking to participate actively in social media, then those same tools can be used to help speed up your search for conversations by keyword or keyword phrases. Whenever you get a notification that a match has been found, you can decide whether you want to engage those people in conversation, or not. That’s another example of how you can control the amount of time you spend on social media. Again, it depends a lot on your goals.
If you’re trying to get people to respond by creating a very rich conversation, then expect to spend more time. It will take time to formulate what you want to say to people. You’ll want to think about the strategy you’ll use to engage people. For instance, are you going to just randomly have conversations with no agenda, or are you going to provide a resource area on your site that you refer people to. If so, you can expect to spend more time planning, developing, and executing your strategy. On the whole, you can spend as much time on social media as you like.
Outsourcing Social Media
Also take into consideration that you can outsource some or all of your social media interaction. You can pay someone to monitor things for you and then forward you a summary of responses. Based on what feedback you get, you can develop a series of standard responses for a virtual assistant to use to vet people and respond to most conversations, leaving you to respond to 10% of the responses because they need a more focused response than the other 90%. When implementing this type of system, be sure not to become to disconnected or you might be missing out on the benefits of social media.
Team Based Social Media Management
If you’re wanting to handle social media as a collaborative effort, there are tools that allow you to work in a team environment. You can distribute the social media responsibility to other people within your organization so you wont have to spend all your time personally managing social media. You can delegate parts of the conversation to others based on departments, or topics of interest, areas of responsibilities, or other logical areas related to your business or industry. That way no one person is spending all their time on social media.
If you equate social media conceptually to responding to emails, you can apply the same communications habits to social media that you use for email. Dedicating a half hour a day to social media will help manage your time and still ensure that you’re keeping track of what conversations are taking place. Social media is just another form of intelligence. You’re not trying to dominate the conversations that are taking place. Social media is a good way for you to communicate with your customers so that they have a better understanding of what’s going on with your business and your industry.
Hiring Social Media Managers
Finally, don’t feel that you have to handle all the social media yourself. If you find that you don’t have enough time to devote to the task, consider hiring a social media manager. That person will oversee conversations and then provide you with reports on what’s going on in the social media space for your company. They can also bring important issues to your attention that need to be resolved. This information can be shared during company meetings to help everyone understand what your customers are looking for, what they like, what they don’t like, and how your business can benefit from this information. Your social media manager can be a contractor, a virtual assistant, or an employee within your office. This person can also do other things like organizing social media marketing campaigns, local meetups, and online community events. However, their primary role should be to create a better relationship between your business and your customers.