How much time should you devote to social media?

This is post is part of the Institutionalizing Social Media series. To see previous installments or to learn more about the series, click here.

One of the biggest and more oft-debated questions in the social space is how much time a company should devote to its social media efforts.

There is no blanket time allotment or suggested industry standard, so how do you decide the level and time commitment to social media that is right for your company?

The answer to this question lies on your business goals for social media and what you want to get out of it. Here are four social media disciplines and how much time I recommend spending on each one. The suggested time allotments are a guide that will vary depending on your company’s size and the social savvy of your customer base.Astronomical Clock

Customer Support – social media allows customers with issues or dissatisfaction to go directly to their companies. It also lets companies help alleviate headaches by assisting customers in real-time. If your company wants to run a segment of customer service via social media, mirror your operations in the space with the hours of operation of your support team. Supporting customers in this fashion will typically range between three and five hours a day. An acceptable response time is within an hour of a social complaint so this can be handled with responses at the top of each hour.

Brand Awareness – given the nature of the platform, companies can search for their brand and products or services and see what is being said about them or their space. To help build up awareness, respond to questions about your company or share relevant information about the brand to potential customers who are discussing your market. Brands looking to build brand awareness might spend one to three hours a day building up their presence.

Sales – much like brand awareness above, companies can utilize searches to identify leads and generate sales. For example, a roofing company that sees a homeowner on Twitter complaining about a leaky roof can get their foot in the door by offering do-it-yourself suggestions or a free consultation. Plan to devote 10 to 20 hours a week for a salesperson in this capacity.

Thought Leadership – social media is a great platform to be seen as an industry leader. If this is important to you and your company, create and share relevant content with your community on a regular basis. Content creation is something that you might devote four to five hours a week on if you post a few times a week. Article sharing can be automated to an extent using third party tools. Devote 30 minutes to at the start of each day to finding the content and offering a unique take on it.

Aside from the aforementioned areas it is important to keep in mind that social media never rests. This does not mean that you need to populate your company’s account 24 hours a day and 365 days of the year. Once you decide the time that you will devote to your social media activities, publish the hours that you will be manning your accounts so that your community has clear expectations of how and when they can get a response from you. You should also monitor your accounts a few times over “off-hours” or weekends to make sure that there are not any major issues that need immediate attention.

Tune in next week for the next installment of Institutionalizing Social Media, if you want to get it sent to your email, please click here.

Image – simpologis

36 Responses to How much time should you devote to social media?
  1. […] How much time should you devote to social media? (jeffesposito.com) […]

  2. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 8:47 am

    @oneforty Thanks JA

  3. svilardo2
    July 11, 2011 | 10:12 am

    @jeffespo great list of reasons to devote to social media, but what about just listening? I devote quite a bit of time each day to just search around and listen to what people are saying about my niche. From there, I can develop blog posts and other features to help alleviate those problems – not specifically to my customers, but to people who are interested in what I do.

    Do you factor “listening” time into your social media expenditures?

  4. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:08 pm

    @svilardo2 Listening would fall under thought leadership especially if you are using it to build up content. And to answer your question I do factor listening into all of those numbers above.

  5. JGoldsborough
    July 11, 2011 | 12:17 pm

    Good stuff, @jeffespo . And nice to see someone actually attempt to allot time to each of these areas. I think you’ve created great guideposts here. Then people just need to remember that engagement begets engagement, so the more time you spend engaging, the more engagement opportunities you will have. This is all a good thing, at least IMO, but can require taking a hard look at your company culture to review overall time and resource allotment.

  6. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:27 pm

    @LYMChristina Thanks!

  7. LYMChristina
    July 11, 2011 | 12:30 pm

    @jeffespo You bet. Had no idea you were @vistaprint too. Wild!

  8. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:30 pm

    @LYMChristina One of a few. Was the first now I manage overall strategy and bang on the keys for that account 2 days a week

  9. LYMChristina
    July 11, 2011 | 12:34 pm

    @jeffespo Okay, got it. I bang on keys a lot too.

  10. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:36 pm

    @LYMChristina 🙂 I try my best

  11. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:50 pm

    @MeltwaterBuzz Thanks for sharing http://espo4.me/pSTshH

  12. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 12:54 pm

    @JGoldsborough I wish there was a blanket statement or time devotion standard. The bigger the brand and more complicated the strategy, the more you really need to do. The whole 24-7 thing is bunk and no company is that important to have to reply instantly.

  13. steve8004
    July 11, 2011 | 1:12 pm

    small typo in third paragraph: The answer to this question lies on your business goals for social media and what want to get out,,

    shouldn’t it be “what you want to get out of it”?

  14. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 1:25 pm

    @steve8004 Thanks for the eagle eye. Made change.

  15. steve8004
    July 11, 2011 | 1:31 pm

    @steve8004 You’re welcome. Wondering if I might be able to a question of you offline?

  16. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 1:33 pm

    @steve8004 Sure email is on the about page.

  17. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 3:13 pm

    @CoSIDAnews thanks

  18. jeffespo
    July 11, 2011 | 4:06 pm

    @KempEdu Thanks

  19. John_Trader1
    July 12, 2011 | 9:29 am

    Hey Jeff, sorry I am a little late to the party here but I did have one comment on your post.

    First off, I think its a smart post with some very sound advice on time allocation for social media efforts, a question I hear quite a bit in some of the circles I inhabit. One thing I want to mention is that a lot of this advice seems to be most applicable to domestic organizations. If you work in the US, your customers are in the US and you have no global footprint then by all means this advice is sound.

    However, the increased use of social networks across the globe and the efforts to launch and maintain a presence on channels that are the most effective for an international company changes the dynamic of time spent on social media efforts and takes a very concerted almost herculean effort to pull off especially if it is headquartered here in the US. It’s easy to say — “just empower someone in an international office to handle the 2nd half of the day when the US sleeps” but it isn’t as easy to pull that off and what if you don’t have an international office?

    I often see posts written with the US consumer and company in mind without taking into account global organizations that need a 24 hour strategy that incorporates cultural differences, time differences and adaptations to different, unique platforms that are used in other countries (not to mention difference in languages). It almost seems impossible to write a post that would encapsulate such a broad topic.

    Thanks for listening…as someone who tries to keep several international social media balls in the air, I look at content through a global lens and always try pick different pieces of advice and suggestions out that will be beneficial to my overall strategy.

  20. smashingeeks
    July 12, 2011 | 9:41 am

    @DiscoveryCG @jeffespo @_fleur__ Please RT: Social Statistics shows Facebook Founder is Top at Google+ http://t.co/S7zcE4b

  21. jeffespo
    July 12, 2011 | 10:55 am

    @John_Trader1 I don’t agree. If you don’t have the resources in other countries you can only man the pages with what you have and set expectations. One of the reason my team clearly lists our hours is that we don’t have the staff to cover questions coming in 24-7 from countries around the globe. By limiting it to a set time period you set expectations for everyone who is coming to the page. If there is a great enough need from a customer base in a specific company, it is then something that you need to hash out with a larger strategy for the team responsible for that country. You can’t kill yourself or your team if there is no way to scale to a 24-hour cycle and even if you do is it profitable or a money/resource pit?

  22. John_Trader1
    July 12, 2011 | 11:46 am

    @jeffespo Point well taken Jeff. I guess the source of my frustration rests in the vertical that I operate in. Since the demand for our technology is arguably greater outside the US than inside, and although growth potential is strong here in the US, lack of an international office that can handle international requests for info, customer service, etc. makes me feel like I am leaving something on the table that is definitely worthwhile to pursue. You’re right that it’s about setting realistic expectations and trying to convey to the customer that our current schedule revolves around what we are capable of executing. The time for me to readjust those expectations is way overdue.

  23. jeffespo
    July 12, 2011 | 12:13 pm

    @John_Trader1 I understand the frustration pal. One thing that may help you is to do an audit on where the volume is coming in from. If you are getting a greater percentage outside of the US, I would suggest looking to alter your work schedule and work the hours that are the most impactful for your business in the SM space.

  24. John_Trader1
    July 12, 2011 | 12:14 pm

    @jeffespo Good suggestion. Let the auditing commence.

  25. […] 4) Eğer müşteri hizmetleri için sosyal medya kullanıyorsanız, Twitter destek ekibinin çalışma … […]

  26. jeffespo
    August 22, 2011 | 7:19 pm

    @Hypertextress thabks

  27. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  28. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  29. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  30. Creative Showcase from Jobs4Creatives
    January 3, 2012 | 10:34 am

    […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  31. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  32. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  33. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  34. […] 2. If you’re going to use social media for customer service, mirror your hours of operation on Twitter to the hours of operation you have for your support team. (Source: Jeff Esposito) […]

  35. […] 2. If your social media market solely for community service, then you must equally spend the time for twitter and maintaining team that supports you. (Courtesy: Jeff Esposito) […]

  36. […] good posts have been written about how much time brands should spend minding their social media store. Jeff Esposito related the time question to business objectives when he wrote a post evaluating […]

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL http://jeffesposito.com/2011/07/11/how-much-time-should-devote-social-media/trackback/

Google