This is a question I often receive during group presentations. And the answer to this question spans the globe. Here are just a few of the takes that those in the social media field have on this topic.
In the past few weeks, I've seen blogs touting the 18-minute social media strategy and the 20-minute social media professional.
Hubspot offers an e-book called, How to Monitor Social Media in 10 Minutes a Day.
Marijean Jaggers recently indicated that a social presence could take 20 hours a week or more!
Jeffrey Gitomer says in his book, Social Boom, to allocate one hour a day, once you get your presence set up.
I think Gitomer's approach is probably the most realistic, but it depends on a variety of factors.
Some spend hours a day on social media, but that doesn't mean they're effective. Others spend 15 or 20 minutes a day and are reaping the rewards. So, how much time do you really need?
As the variety of opinions mentioned above illustrates, I don't think any one person can fully answer that question for you, but I can offer a few tips that have helped me and might help you, too.
1. Think of social media as a networking event. You'll never get to talk to everyone, but you can talk to a few people and really get to know them. At the end of the day, it's still about building a relationship with other people.
2. Content is STILL king. It's not just a cliché. Content is what keeps people coming back. But this is also why the time estimates vary so much. Content could take minutes to hours to develop depending on the individual and the business. Think about what you know, what you're passionate about, and what you want to share. Lay it out in an editorial calendar, schedule blog posts, and use blog post nuggets as social media content.
3. Work smart. You don't have to be everywhere, you just have to be active on the channels that give you a return on your time investment. Rather than set up 10 cumbersome accounts, set up one or two that contain your target audience and commit to having consistent dialogue with your audience.
4. Find the fun in it. Just as important as working smart is finding what you enjoy in the social media arena. If you enjoy it, you're more likely to stick to it and spend time on it.
5. Make it a priority. With all the things competing for your attention, social media could be at the bottom of your list. If you add it to your planner - like going to the gym - you're more likely to do it and make it a part of your life.
Remember, simply setting up accounts doesn't count as time spent on social media. That's just the starting point. And, if you only have seven fans, you might need to think about how to increase your following before you set the time clock. After you've acquired a following, social media starts to become fun and rewarding.
You'll likely find that a social media is not just a scheduled hour of your day... It's something you weave into your day.
How are you spending time on social media? Have you found a way to streamline your time and get the most of your presence?