When corporate execs claim they are spending too much time on social media, that social media demand too much of their attention, or that social media have made slaves of them all, it is not the sign of a successful career path.
Look at the numbers (and these are focused on small businesses):
- 43% spend more than 6 hours a week (some on company time and some on personal time) on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and the like.
- 25% spend 6-10 hours.
- 11% waste 11-20 hours.
- 7% use more than 20 hours of their week.
Now, with the exception of those who market directly online, this is crazy. Consider human nature, for one thing; what are the odds that the employee doing legitimate social media research or mining is not also checking his/her personal pages, looking at family pics, or watching endless cat or baby videos. But, it’s not just the employees on the floor.
Of executives and business owners surveyed.
- Up to 86% spend up to 10 hours in social media.
- Of the 55% who have a blog, up to 16% spend more than 3 hours each week posting their blog entry.
- Finding and posting content takes the most time and answering questions the least. Perhaps, that should be the other way around.
Maybe there is another way:
Delegate the work. Determine what is absolutely Important and Urgent for you to personally due. Delegate the rest with defined goals and metrics.
Decide where the focus should be. For example, Tumblr and Flickr are useless for a company that has no visual presence. And, content marketing does not fit Pinterest but may work great at LinkedIn.
Invest in social media tools.
- Hootsuite is being used by leaders, such as McDonald’s and Pepsico.
- Tweetdeck is free and hosts you other social media platforms.
- Listorous, bufferapp.com, divir.it, all match useful services to different needs.
The decision-making criteria are:
- Does this support the key social nets. If it does not support the media apps your social world (i.e., employees, vendors, customers, prospects, and untapped markets) are on, it is a waste of time and money.
- It needs to grow with the company. This is something to watch since some tools add costs as accounts are added.
- Assistance in updating allows scheduling in advance. Without it, the posts are a weekly creativity issues.
- The social media tool is free, or it is not. If not, it needs to be budgeted, and the cost apportioned to users. For the smallest businesses, multiple tools could be cost-prohibitive.
Finally, a remaining concern is that with all the attention on social media, other forms of marketing are forgotten. For example, promotional items have supported branding for as long as anyone in business can remember. A Facebook contact may materialize at a trade-show, but they need to walk away with something more than an online kiss. Someone from a Google+ Circle might play golf with your sales team, but it would be nice if he or she went home with a logo on a golf towel. Just a thought!