At some point we’ve all asked ourselves, “How much time should I be spending on social media?”
We frequently receive this question from business owners, most recently from an audience participant at our recent SoundBoard conference panel. The trouble is, as with anything online, the best answer is that “it depends.” It depends on your business, goals, resources, interest, and vision.
Remove Time from the Equation
Although every businesses is different, I would argue that all companies can benefit from social media in some way. That’s why it’s a challenge to come up with a universal, one-size-fits-all answer to “How much time should I spend on social media?”
Until now! I happen to be acquainted with the elegant Vesper martini, popularized by James Bond himself. The recipe is 3:1:½ parts gin, vodka, and Lillet, respectively. As it turns out, the recipe ratio for this classy cocktail holds the secret to social media strategy success.
Fix a Drink, and Stop Thinking in Terms of Time
Time isn’t a reliable quantifiable metric to guide social media because it doesn’t take into account the qualitative value of how that time is being spent on what activities. Ratio “recipes” are useful in lieu of time because they can be scaled up or down ad infinitum depending on your company’s resources and priorities. With the right recipe, you can rest assured that your efforts are constructive no matter how much or little you can invest.
So what’s the right social media recipe?
I proudly present to you:
The James Bond “Vesper” Recipe for Social Media Excellence
3 Parts Re-shares
Great content doesn’t always have to come from you. Promote others to promote yourself by sharing relevant content that your customers might appreciate. Tools like Buffer, Tweetdeck, and Hootsuite can help you keep an active social media profile without manning the helm 24/7. Plus, who knows- the folks you’re promoting might return the favor some day!
1 Part Engagement
A social profile that just re-shares content doesn’t have much personality nor does it evidence any actual absorption of information. It takes a little time, but for every 3 re-shares choose a piece you really enjoyed and thoughtfully respond to it in a way that furthers the conversation. Get creative here — you can engage with a comment on the blog post, a question or response to the author via Twitter or G+, or even an analysis of the piece for your own community that includes insights from the author. This sort of involvement will grow your network and boost your credibility.
0.5 Part Original Content/Marketing Appeal
Original content is great, but if it’s all you produce at the expense of the other steps, it likely won’t do you much good. Content — like nature — abhors a vacuum, so if you don’t have a receptive community for your audience your beautiful piece of content will likely fall flat. There’s also nothing wrong with occasional sales messages like “Check out our new line of shoes,” just make sure your links always go to the appropriate content.
So whether you can cycle through once a month or once a day, with this social media recipe you can remove the question of time altogether from your social media strategy and focus instead on making sure whatever time you have is well spent!