Let’s face it – as many benefits we can draw from social media, social media can also be very distracting. Never mind the plenitude of Facebook games – just spending time on researching, content creation and engaging (i.e. replying) across social media networks can cost one the entire day!
“How much time should I spend on social media? Am I spending too much time on social media?”
Do you ask those questions?
Many do. Small and big companies, groups and individuals alike – you’re not alone. Truth be told, there is never enough time on social media as there are always time for something on it. The trick is to know how much or how little is enough for your business – yes, time management even for social media.
Understanding the Components of Social Media
Social media in general consists of 3 important aspects that both businesses and individuals cannot overlook:
Perhaps one of the most powerful attribute of social media networks as it enabled businesses to find out what the consumer is talking about, their complains and suggestions – something unachievable back then.
I personally prefer to do this at the start of the day. It can comprise of looking at what your competitors are doing, looking up what your fans and followers are talking about, catching up with the latest news in the industry on various sites and etc.
2. Communicating / Engaging
Ah, the essence of social media networks – being social. What good it is if you’re part of a huge community (e.g. Facebook fan page) that does not communicate? This is where you take genuine interest in your followers and fans by talking NOT pitching to them.
This should take the bulk of your time on social media networks. This includes commenting on blogs, replying to messages and also content sharing. Remember, its not just about sharing your content but to share other quality content that you may find – tweet and retweet them, stumble them, like and share them on Facebook! Not only it grants you exposure, it opens up opportunities for you to expand your network within your industry.
I usually do this on the move with my phone – while waiting for the escalator, waiting for food to be served, at a long queue, waiting for a parking bay (some times this alone takes up to 30 mins!) and etc.
3. Content Creation
Creating content has never been easier with the help of blogging tools such as WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr and more. What’s great about creating your own content is that you’re able to position yourself as an industry expert, granting your brand more credibility compared to your competitors.
If writing isn’t exactly up your sleeves, try creating video clips, screen casts, infographics, podcasts or even post pictures of your work (especially for photographers) on networks such as YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Deviant Art and etc. Every content you create can be powerful when positioned using the right medium, even greater when combined with the first 2 aspects above!
What Determines the Amount of Time Spent?
Now, now.. I wished there was some kind of a success formula to social media: X hours x Y medium = AwesomeResults but there really isn’t. Having that said, I believe what determines the time spent for your social media network truly depends on your GOALS.
Yes, your GOALS – what do you want to achieve out of social media.
From there, you should be able to identify how much time should you spend on Listening, Communicating and Creating Content. For me, I spend about 2-3 hours daily on my networks on a busy day and here’s how I do it on a daily basis:
50% for Communicating and Engaging
25% for Listening
25% for Creating new Content
What do I achieve out of it? I know that as long I stick to my plan, I’ve covered the important aspects of social media, allowing me to achieve my goals AND YET have plenty of time for me to work on my projects with my clients. You can do that too!
Where Can We Go From Here?
1. Find out how much time are you spending on social media
2. Ask yourself: are what you’re doing in line with your goals?
3. Which of the 3 aspects are most important to you?
4. Establish a plan that you can follow on a daily basis encompassing all 3 aspects
5. Evaluate whether the plan works for you from time to time