How Much Time Should I Spend On Social Media

clock How much time should you spend on social media? In some ways, the answer is: “how long is a piece of string?” And yet, you can set up some simple guidelines. They might be a bit different than you think. By the way, I’m writing these from a business perspective, but remember that I think of religion and nonprofits and all kinds of other applications as business-related, too. Here’s how I look at it:

Social Media Time Management

The way I’d do it is to break it up into 4 chunks, and then you decide the amount of hours to devote (2 hours a day is a minimum for MOST efforts).

  • 1/4 for Listening – Start your day by listening and finding what the world is saying about you, your competitor, your marketplace, etc. Need help with listening? See grow bigger ears. In this space, I also count reading (reading other people’s blogs and other online materials).
  • 1/2 for Commenting/Communicating – Spend time commenting and replying back to people on the various channels where they reach you. If that’s Twitter, email, or wherever you hang out, fine. In the commenting timeframe, I also include sharing. Be sure to tweet links to great articles, use StumbleUpon, Delicious, Facebook share, and all the other various tools that help people find the good stuff. In Google reader, a simple SHIFT-S gives an article a whole lot of new potential fans. In here, I might also add the act of linking in and connecting with people on various networks.
  • 1/4 for Creating – Your efforts in content creation are every bit as important as your connectivity and communication. This might include blogging, making video or audio, creating email newsletters, and anything else you’re building to contribute something to the space. It might be posting those event photos in Flickr and on Facebook. Whatever it is, creating content of some kind should take up 1/4 of your social media efforts, as this is the way you get found. Search engines thrive on new content. Humans seek out new material. The more you can be helpful, the better your opportunities.

Your Mileage May Vary

It doesn’t necessarily have to be this mix, but if I gave you that as a starter method, you’d know what to do with some of your time, right? You’ll note that there’s a lot to get done in that time frame. You’re busy. It’s not like you’re in the typing business (that’s me). If you had to cut a little bit of something, maybe it would be in creation. You might salvage a few minutes in there. Just realize that sacrifice in any area takes away from the balance of your opportunity to build a system that gets you results.

What’s your take on this? How would you change the mix? Could you see this overlay into your other communications (be that marketing or whatever) efforts?

For more information, see also How to Prioritize Your Social Media Efforts for a larger framework.

photo credit Aaron Geller

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