How much time does social media take?

The IIA Social Media Working Group (disclosure – I am a member of this group) produced a white paper on blogging and launched it at a well attended breakfast last week.   Brendan Hughes, eCommerce manager with FBD, Michelle Daly, Paddy Power Trader and Aedan Ryan, Director of all gave some practical insights into running a blog, what they experienced in terms of feedback/community and increased findability.  Aedans personal findings reflected the findings of the white paper from why blog, to the benefits of it while Michelle presented a more complex arrangement of running multiple blogs.  Both integrated their blogs with other online properties from Twitter to Facebook.  All three companies have well presented blogs and take it seriously.

Emmet Ryan of Villa81 gives a snap short of the launch in a short video of the launch.

So the big question – how much time and resource does it take.  Aedan, who would be reflective of many Irish SMEs, spends 4-6 hours a week on his blog.  Michelle was a bit more coy in terms of actual resources invested but did discuss the outsource model that they utilise.  At the Blogger Collision course many people reported spending up to 3-4 hours per post, with some posting every day.  Assuming that the blog is unlikely to stand by itelf then you also needs to factor the other social media into the mix:

  • Twitter (30 min to 1 hr a day if not posting regularly and mainly monitoring),
  • Facebook (10-30 mins a day checking, 1-2 hr for multiple updates),
  • Bebo (similar to Facebook),
  • Flickr 30 mins per photo upload session (captioning etc),
  • 30 mins per photo upload,
  • YouTube (30 mins upload but 4 hr editing, 1-2 hrs of production is simple),
  • Podcasting (20 min upload, 1-2 hr of editing if short, 1-2 hr of production and planning)
  • Monitoring (30 mins per day).

This is all very much on the back of an envelope (and does not take account of the creation time) but it can grow into double digits per week very fast and I would imagine that digital is taking a disproportionate amount of the percentage time that people have to spend on marketing – especially at this early stage.  There is no doubt that Social Media engagement does deliver but has great capacity to soak up every hour in the day.  My experience has been that without some structures you can get extremely distracted and follow ‘interesting’ trails that lead to other ‘interesting trails’.  As new tools, blogs and interesting pointers from twitter emerge being disciplined is now even more important.

So if you are looking to invest in social media here are some pointer on managing the time element a bit better.

  • Use outlook or some online calendar to dedicate time in the day when you catch upon socia media rather than when you feel lilke it.
  • Decide in advance how much time you are going to dedicate to it.
  • Be methodical in the list of social media you run through to ensure you dont forget some.
  • Allocate time to research and monitoring.
  • Use RSS feed to keep up to date on blogs you follow rather than random surfing.
  • Use tools such as Tweetdeck to Monitter to help give a snap shot of activity.
  • Build an editorial calendar and stick to the frequency that suits your business.

All this before you even start to think about what you want to say.  The good news is that once you get into a rhythm you get much faster and efficient

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