How much time every week can you depend on spending to manage your business’ social media campaign? The answer to that depends on a lot of different factors.
The Social Media Time Sink
Firstly, let me say that social media can be a time sink if you let it. Yes, I can easily (and happily) spend hours every day chatting with friends and acquaintances on Facebook and Twitter, browsing all the beautiful photos on Pinterest (many of which are totally unrelated to any of my businesses!), watching videos on YouTube, hanging out on Google+ (literally; they have hangouts there!) and a myriad of other functions.
However, most of that, from a marketing standpoint is unneeded. It would be like going to work and spending all day chatting with your co-workers instead of actually working. You wouldn’t do that, would you? Yes, you have to be social and communicate with people on social media sites. But you also have to set some realistic goals for yourself in regards to the amount of time spent there and stick to them. In other words, you need to manage your social media marketing. It shouldn’t manage you!
Social Media: An Expert Opinion on How Much Time to Spend
I wasn’t able to attend the North American Veterinary Conference this year. I was aware that they had some sessions there pertaining to managing social media but I was surprised to read on Brenda Tassava’s Vet Manager Advisor blog that one of the speakers told the audience that “managing social media is a 40 hours per week job.”
For those of you who don’t know Brenda Tassava, she is an experienced practice manager and has successfully implemented social media into the marketing strategies for several businesses. She is also a well-known and sought-after public speaker on the subject of practice management and social media.
I first met Brenda at BlogPaws West in 2010. I was honored to part of a panel at BlogPaws 2011 that included Brenda as well. For me, she has been a mentor (through her blog, speaking engagements and other publications) for quite a while, though she may not be aware of the fact. I recommend her book Social Media for Veterinary Professionals to anyone interested in pursuing social media in their business. (It’s relevant to any pet-related business, not just veterinarians.)
You can read what Brenda has to say about the amount of time spent managing social media by following the link above. Suffice it to say that she does not spend 40 hours a week managing her social media networks. Neither do I.
How Long Should It Take to Manage Your Social Media Marketing?
How long should it, realistically, take you to manage your social media networks? That depends to some extent on which social media networks you decide to pursue. There seems to be a common goal to try to be active on all of them. For most of us, that’s not really practical. And most of us are likely to find that some social media networks work better for our purposes than others. So choose wisely. Monitor your results. Be prepared to change your strategy if it’s not working.
For instance, I’ve found Facebook and Twitter to be the most effective means of promotion for myself. So I focus my efforts there. I have a presence on Google Plus but don’t pursue it actively as Twitter and Facebook. In addition, I have a presence on YouTube and probably should pursue that further. But for now, I’ve elected to concentrate on Facebook and Twitter primarily. In addition, I’m on Pinterest and I do enjoy it but I haven’t been using it to actively market myself per se. I’m also on LinkedIn and have found it useful for connecting with my peers. However, I’ve not found LinkedIn to be useful in promoting my businesses. I’ve never dabbled in My Space or Digg and don’t intend to do so. I periodically use StumbleUpon but realize the limitations that go along with using StumbleUpon as well. Those are my results; yours may vary. You have to make your own analysis.
My advice is to decide how much time you can afford to devote to social media on a weekly basis before venturing into the project, if possible. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with social media, reevaluate your decisions.
- Set a schedule, commit to it, and stick to it.
- Choose the networks that you pursue wisely. Don’t try to actively participate in every social network in existence.
- The best social media network or networks for you to pursue are those where your prospective and/or current clientele is already present.
- For most of you, probably Facebook will be the most important.
- Some folks seem to like Twitter; others dislike the 140 character format. If you don’t like the format, choose another social media option to pursue.
- Even if you don’t actively pursue marketing opportunities on Google Plus, I would at least set up a profile and take advantage of the Google authorship markup.
There’s no reason why your social media campaigns should be a full-time job in themselves, at least not for most of us. If you’re Microsoft, PepsiCo or similar, then maybe. But that doesn’t describe the majority of social media users.