I was at a client meeting today with two lovely local business-people. We were discussing social media time-management, and they sprouted some figures that came out of a recent seminar that had been hosted in our region (facilitated by a national / international (?) organisation); these figures indicated that users of social media (for business) should spend at least an hour (if not more) per day managing social media. They had broken down time-frames (ten to twenty minutes) for each type of task including ‘updating’, ‘content management’, ‘engaging’, ‘commenting or liking’, ‘sharing’ and so on. All of these tasks I completely agree with, but I totally disagree with insisting minimum one hour per day is spent on social media.
Who has the time?
Most business-owners / managers within small to medium-sized businesses are flat-out getting all the other ‘basics’ done, let alone dealing with unforeseen dramas, issues, staff, customers and so on. Expecting that an hour or more is spent on social media is ludicrous, no matter how integral this type of marketing might be.
Similarly, what managers / owners would be pleased with employees spending that much time on social media? How can they be assured half of this time isn’t spent on ‘personal’ sites?
I agree entirely that you can easily spend one hour (and many more) on social media marketing and content management, BUT I feel this amount of time is reserved for employees working in larger companies who are specifically assigned the role of ‘social media manager’ or ‘facilitator’. This is not a reasonable suggestion for most employers / employees in small to medium-sized businesses, particularly in regional or rural areas where there are even fewer people on the ground to facilitate all required tasks on any given day. Additionally, my view has been shared and advocated at all social media presentations I’ve attended (for learning purposes) over the past two years.
My rule of thumb (albeit very simplified for the sake of keeping this post succinct) – which may not work for everyone, but certainly works for me and the (time-poor) clients I assist/train – is as follows:
1. Content planning – half to one hour each week, perhaps on a Sunday afternoon, where you consider what’s coming up across the week. Is there anything nationally or internationally that you can post around (eg. Easter, Valentine’s Day, Red Nose Day, a local city festival and so on); and what is coming up for the business (special sales, announcements, news etc.)? Most social strategists would suggest businesses plan content in advance. This could be annually, bi-annually, quarterly, fortnightly or weekly. Think of it like a ‘marketing plan’ – these are considered in advance and then implemented. A social media content plan works in a similar fashion. The best part about this is that you’re not going to sit down at the computer one day and think, “oh great, WHAT on Earth am I going to post about today?” With a plan that’s a week or more in advance, you’ve always got ‘something’ to post about.
2. Then on weekdays, for the time-poor and busy owner / manager / entrepreneur / employee who has many other tasks to complete in a day, a ‘social sweep’ for 10 to 15 minutes – morning, and afternoon if possible – should be carried out. In this time you would update (using ‘planned’ content as well as anything topical or new that’s come across your desk or into the inbox), ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘engage’, follow and so on, across your chosen social streams.
This type of routine covers all the necessary bases to keep your content regular and your business engaged with the community and fans. I’d be really interested to know what other social media strategists advise for clients who manage their own social media streams?