How Much Time Should You Spend in Social Media?

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Whenever I speak to a large group or consult with a client on social media, I have a tendency to overwhelm my audience with the so many things that they could be using it for.  That leads to a growing fear for those that aren’t active in social media that it will become a total time suck.  On the other hand, for those that start to get active and see its professional and personal benefits, they can’t seem to find enough time to cover all of their online bases.  Which leads to the question that I am often asked: How much time should you spend on social media?

As you can imagine, the answer to this question is not a simple one.  As someone who’s industry and expertise is in social media, my clients hire me to stay ahead of the curve, so it’s only natural that I am spending most of my day online.  That doesn’t mean that YOU do not have to spend all of YOUR day on the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook!   Managing your time effectively with the advent of social media comes down to understanding and maintaining three important principles:

1) What is your objective for being on these sites to begin with?  If you don’t have an objective you shouldn’t be on in the first place, but assuming that you do have an objective, the next question is asking yourself…

2) What your ROI of social media is.  Yes, there IS an ROI in social media, and it is determined by whether or not you are reaching your objectives, whatever they are.

Finally, there is a need to:

3) Create social media boundaries.  Just like with email and cell phones, you need to create your own rules and avoid distractions that can occur in an era or realtime online communication.   With these boundaries you need to have a daily routine which determines how often you stay on and check each of your sites.  It can be as little as a few minutes each morning before and evening after work.  The choice is yours!

Here is a video of me actually answering this question recently and my mention of a “shift” that I often see happening with those that become active on social networking sites:

Link to video: How Much Time Should You Spend in Social Media?

Have you created your own boundaries and rules to make sure that you don’t end up spending too much time online?  Please share your ideas with us!

About the Author:

Neal Schaffer, Founder and Editor-In-Chief

The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer
The Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Maximize Social Business, Neal Schaffer is a leader in helping businesses and professional strategically maximize their use of social media. Neal is the author of three social media books, including the recently published definitive social media strategy book Maximize Your Social. Forbes lists him as a Top 35 Social Media Power Influencer and AdAge lists his blog, Maximize Social Business (formerly known as Windmill Networking), as a top 100 global marketing blog. Neal provides social media strategy consulting and coaching, having worked with Fortune 500 companies and a Grammy-award winning musician. He has presented worldwide on social media at more than 150 events and also teaches social media marketing at Rutgers University. +Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

@nealschaffer

Author, @MaxYourSocial | Founder @msocialbusiness | Trilingual Social Media Strategy Consultant, Coach, and Speaker | 日米ソーシャルメディア専門家|G+: https://t.co/BqaJvubiP8
Are You Wasting Your Social Media Traffic? http://t.co/juXJD5BUtA - 4 hours ago
Neal Schaffer
Social Fresh West

Comments

  1. says

    I really agree with your boundaries comment, especially. I have a specific list of tasks I tackle per customer per day. I have very strict time boundaries, and a very clear list of objectives. This really does help break down what appears to be an insurmountable task into a very doable job. Thanks for sharing these good ideas!

    • says

      Hi Jorgen…well, if people don’t start thinking about how long they should be spending on social media every day, they’re not going to get much work done ;-) Hey, and who started using this “SoMe” phrase? Interesting how trends appear ;-)

  2. Grail Duewell says

    “Great Video presentation by the way, I think it narrows down on your objective and how much of time value would like to put into it. Like you said that social media is your objective, so 80% – 100% of your time will spend on social media events and the 20% the rest misc. Otherwise, others like me I would spend 40% vs 60%. I would spend 3-4 hours a day on social media and the rest on other stuff. Outside social media is also incorporated into the time frame as well. ~ Thank you for sharing ~ ”

  3. says

    Of course there is a ROI, but it’s not necessarily I for Investment. Depending on the social tool and the purpose the organization is using it, one may prefer to seek a Return on Implementation or a Return on Influence, for instance…

    • says

      Good points, Ari. There are many ways to define the “ROI,” but I find clients that are new to social media are looking for the Returm on Investment while those who understand it better or are more experienced in it can see the return on implementation/influence as a form of Return on Investment. As you mentioned, it really depends on a lot of different factors.

  4. Anonymous says

    I have a methodology and system in place, I am “everywhere” and so are my clients, but it’s focused, strategic, and seamless. Same time daily 3 x/day, leverage tools like socialoomph, laterbro, hootsuite, ping.fm and posterous. Works great!

  5. Anonymous says

    I have a methodology and system in place, I am “everywhere” and so are my clients, but it’s focused, strategic, and seamless. Same time daily 3 x/day, leverage tools like socialoomph, laterbro, hootsuite, ping.fm and posterous. Works great!

  6. Anonymous says

    I have a methodology and system in place, I am “everywhere” and so are my clients, but it’s focused, strategic, and seamless. Same time daily 3 x/day, leverage tools like socialoomph, laterbro, hootsuite, ping.fm and posterous. Works great!

  7. says

    This is a great post! I’m developing my first Social Media Strategy for both my business and marketing plans for 2011. Trying to draw up boundaries when I’m virtual is difficult; I like people to know they can get in touch with me and, unless I’m in a meeting, I will talk with them. I’ll have to include time boundaries as you suggested – including using a timer – to avoid the time trap.

  8. says

    Thanks for the comment Lisa! Yes, what is important after developing your social media strategy is being able to effectively implement it through creation of social media boundaries. A timer may be an excellent tool to use!

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