How much time to spend on social media?

Small business social media timeA question that frequently pops up during our marketing consultancy sessions is, “As a small business, how much time should we spend on social media?”. 

There’s no correct answer to this question, and it’s rather like asking, how long is a piece of string?

Our first response is always – you get out what you put in. The more time you invest in social media, the greater the return. But of course, there are several caveats to this.

A better way to approach the question is to consider what you want your small business to achieve from your social media presence.

There are many ways in which you can use social media for your business. Here are some examples:

  • Raising brand awareness
  • Positioning you/your company as a thought-leader
  • Generating inbound leads
  • Making sales
  • Maintaining a profile

You may be seeking to realise all of the above or have one specific objective. Understanding what you want to achieve and how that impacts your business will assist you in determining what a reasonable time investment is. For example, if you’re only using social media to maintain a presence, the time you spend on it will be minimal. But if you want your social media to be your primary source of marketing – driving enquiries and sales, you’ll need to put in considerably more effort.

Other factors which influence the amount of time you need to put in include:

  • Your existing brand awareness: is your business already well known, or do you need to establish it?
  • Your social media history: is your business new to social media, or do you already have a strong following?
  • Your social media platforms: each differ in the way they operate.
  • Your target audience: could you reach your potential customers in other and better ways? 

If your time is limited, we recommend focusing on one or two channels rather than several.

As with all forms of marketing, the amount of time you put into managing your business’ social media should be proportionate to the return. Regularly evaluate your social media activity to determine if it’s meeting your objectives and delivering a return on investment. 

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