The Cold Hard Truth: Social Media Takes Time

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There are numerous people out there who will tell you that you can master social media marketing in 30 minutes a day, or even in one hour a day. And while, yes, you probably could manage your marketing like this, you certainly won’t master it.

The reality is that to really succeed at social media marketing, you need time.

It takes time to find great images, to construct informational updates, to write blog posts, to edit images, to schedule posts, to review analytics, to respond to fan comments, and to grow your audience.

Anyone who tells you that it only takes 10 minutes a day to succeed on Facebook is either lying to you or trying to sell you something. It takes me at least 5-10 minutes in the morning just to catch up on my Facebook comments!

Granted, I may spend longer than some on social media given that this is kinda my job. But, realistically, social media management should take at least a few hours a day. I can’t tell you what the magic number is or what the correct formula is for you.

But keep this in mind, successful social media campaigns aren’t created in 5 minutes a day. Sourcing content, images, ideas, and text should be a major component of every blog post. Whether you create it originally or you’re sharing someone else’s content on your page, finding valuable information takes time.

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23 thoughts on “The Cold Hard Truth: Social Media Takes Time

  1. I couldn’t agree more! While social media is certainly not my “job”, using social media to promote my brand is certainly a huge part of it! And I have definitely found that it takes a lot of my time, especially since it is my goal to do it as well as I can. Blogging, sharing, commenting, posting – all very time consuming, but so worthwhile.

    Thanks Jenn!

    • Thanks Kim! I’m glad you liked the post. And the fact that you do take the time to do it well is one of the reasons we get along so well! You take care in preparing your posts, working with what your audience wants, and providing valuable posts every day. I know that I, and other fans, appreciate all your hard work!

  2. I agree Jenn, but this is a tricky area for micro and small businesses. I tell my clients (mainly micro-businesses) that if they spend 15 mins in the morning and 15 mins in the evening then they can at least keep on top of responding to posts and posting relevant content – But only once they have spent the time in setting everything up like hootsuite and google alerts. I know 30 minutes isn’t a lot but if I at LEAST get them to commit to 30 mins a day, then I know the addiction will kick in soon enough – well for most anyway.

    When I conducted research with small businesses about their social media usage the most common barrier was their lack of time to dedicate to social media. I say find the time of course but that’s because I love social media – not always the case for my clients.

    Really interesting point you’ve raised as I’ve been advising clients to do social media themselves so they connect with their own clients. I’ve been discovering that many small businesses just want someone else to do this for them. Do you manage social media accounts for your own clients?

    • Thanks Jason. I agree that this is a fine line with small business owners. I understand that their time is limited and that they want to find success. And while social media isn’t necessarily (though I could formulate an argument for it) as important as keeping your financial books organized, would a small business owner ever say they don’t have enough time to balance their books? No, because “that” is important to them. If social media marketing is important to them, then they’ll put the time and energy into it. Or, if they don’t have the time, they will hire someone who can do it for them.
      And, yes, I have told business owners that if all they can afford is 30 minutes a day, then they should do the best they can in those 30 minutes. But I also tell them that they can’t possibly run Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest on only 30 minutes. If all they have is 30 minutes a day, then they shouldn’t have more than one site (or two if they’re really efficient).
      I agree that a lot of business owners just want someone else to do it for them. For any variety of reasons, this is more appealing to them. And this can be a viable solution depending on their needs and goals. I personally choose not to manage social media accounts for clients. I do provide strategic planning and training to help them (and/or their staff) learn and know how to do it themselves. My goal is to empower them to do be successful and understand why things work or don’t work.
      However, if you are looking for someone to manage social media accounts, I can give some great referrals of people I trust implicitly to do it well.

      • Thanks for your comments Jenn. I like how you used the word “empower” I’d much rather empower my clients than manage their social media accounts. I think that a company will lose an element of authenticity and lose the ability to connect and engage with their own customers.

        I just wanted your opinion on how you approach working with your own clients as many clients and prospects were requesting this SM account management service. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of managing someone elses SM accounts and wondered how more experienced people like yourself approached this issue.

        Thanks for the feedback as it’s helped me to define my own business model. :)

      • I’m glad that helped you Jason :) I think it’s worth noting that even when we empower some business owners, they still won’t want to do this themselves. Even when they understand the value, they may not have the time (an excuse I often try to refute), or it may be something they are just not good at doing, or they may not be very good at writing, or they may have a multitude of other reasons. In these cases, I do recommend that they outsource their posting and management to someone else. If you’re going to do it, do it well. And if you can’t do it well, find someone who can do it for you. But as I said, that role isn’t for me. But I do know plenty of extremely talented SM managers who perform these services. If your model will be to teach businesses how to use SM, I do recommend you keep good referrals in your contact list in the event that your customer still wants to outsource.

      • Thanks again for the advice Jenn. I approach each client on an individual basis as I don’t believe in canned solutions.

        I feel I could manage clients SM accounts well, but this kinda goes against what I believe is pure about social media. As a new start up and sole trader your advice about having relevant industry contacts also helps :)

  3. Hi Jenn, I totally agree. I provide hands-on social media services to travel agencies and even with a small group of clients it can easily turn into a full time job. Social media is a long term investment that takes time and dedication.

  4. If you’re only spending 30 minutes per day on your social media, you can probably get away with it…because you likely wont have the fans or engagement to require much more time! I’d say I spend at least 3 hours per day on social networks, and sometimes even that isn’t enough. Social success requires A LOT of time, but for me, has been more than worth it.

  5. Jenn,

    I am a complete Newbie in SEO, blogging and trying to promote a book, all based on fighting Child abuse and Domestic abuse. I’ve realized that each niche has its own quirks.
    I have wondered if there was something wrong with me since every time I’m about to do something, I hear about some new technique that I realize I should incorporate into my blog and book promotion. Thank you for stating what I already suspected.; there is a lot of ramp up time for SEO and you have to set up a number of things (blogs, triberr, etc) to have a comperhensive SEO campaign. Each of these things takes time to integrate into your SEO Efforts.
    Thanks again. I think it’s better for people to hear the truth before they become disappointed that the couldn’t make things work in a month. In some ways your post is as valuable, or more valuable, as the post on what techniques to use to mount an SEO/Social media campaign.
    I’ll go back to my research now :-).

    • Congrats on your new endeavors! I sincerely wish you the best of luck in moving forward with those projects!
      And thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. I’m glad the post resonated with you and helped clarify this issue.
      As you said, there is a lot of time and work involved in developing SEO and an online reputation. It takes months to really get a stronghold.
      Social media is a constantly evolving industry and it can be hard to keep up. It sounds like you are doing a pretty job with it, though, and I commend you on that!

  6. Pingback: The Cold Hard Truth: Social Media Takes Time | ...

    • Thanks Bridget. Yes, the busier you get with social media, the more time it will take. The more interaction you have with your audience, the more time it will take. But even when starting out, social media still takes time. Even if you’re only using one platform, it takes time to do all of the daily chores involved with successful management.

    • Thanks Eleanie! I’m so glad you found this article helpful. And I am so glad to hear that you are spending more than 30 mins working on your social media marketing. Good for you! I know it’s time consuming, but I promise you it’s worth it. Keep up the good work!

  7. Pingback: 7 Key Elements in a Social Media Strategy | King's Content

  8. This is so true. Certainly in my experience I think that colleagues might imagine that you are on Facebook all day, but it takes a great deal more than passive viewing to come up with… and manager a social media strategy.

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