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Communication, Digital, Gareth Case, Social Media

How much time should we spend on social networks?

I often get asked by Marketing Managers and Executives, ‘How much time should I spend on social networking sites?’. The answer always depends on a few key things.

The first thing you need to consider is your product or solution. Are you selling coffee in the high street or contact centres to banks? The use if social media should and will differ based on this. I can only really talk here in-depth about my experiences so here goes.

We are the latter of the two previous examples. A leading edge network integrator, providing bespoke network, telephony and data centre solution to mid-tier and enterprise customers.

I have to admit that I was once very sceptical when it came to B2B social media. Are IT directors really going to spend £2M with you because you’re friends on Facebook? I thought the answer was probably no but went about spending a couple of hours a week exploring the vast world of social networks. I started with what I knew; Twitter and LinkedIn. Within a couple of months we had 500 followers on Twitter. We got some press coverage from our tweets and some positive comment but nothing tangible. And are those 500 followers a) relevant and b) hanging around on Twitter waiting for my updates? It struck me that this is not a lead generation channel for B2B firms like ours, but more what I would call a ‘Brand Enabler’

Social media gives us marketing professionals the ability to crowdsource and communicate on epic scales in literally real-time. If, like us you have plenty to talk about then it’s the perfect platform for propelling your brand and helping you position yourselves as industry leaders and experts. For me, you need to let the networks do the hard graft and concentrate on niche, relevant content. That way the time you spend is reduced, but the impact can in some cases be tremendous,

As an example, this blog post has been written straight into WordPress. When it was ready to publish I automatically shared it to my LinkedIn profile and then all of my relevant groups. This in turn triggered a tweet to my followers on Twitter and if I had one, I could have sent it out through Facebook (and others) without actually doing it manually.

So the end result? My twitter followers see it, my 389 Linked in connections see it, my 50 marketing related groups on LinkedIn see it and they have a combined audience of over 1,000,000!, most of who get a daily or weekly email with my new ‘discussion’ on it. That’s probably where you have seen this today. So by spending just 15 minutes a day I now create, publish and share my content to a huge and relevant audience. How else can we achieve this? And don’t forget the best part of all, it’s free, other than the investment of our time.

Spend some time growing your followers, joining relevant groups and blogging each day. You will be amazed by the level of engagement. If you want to make a real success of it then I suggest you dedicate about an hour a day to social networking. As your following increases so will your comments and questions, the value and engagement of your blog and discussions will increase if you are active in replying.

This strategy is fine in the B2B world but the B2C world, despite having similarities is very different. When I have a bit more experience I will share my thoughts.

Good luck and if you have any further questions please let me know.

Don’t forget to follow me on twitter to get all my latest updates…

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About garethcase

Gareth Case has more than 12 years experience of marketing in the B2B technology space and has held senior marketing roles at Intermec Technologies, Arc Solutions, Viglen, Athona and now ONI and has experience of working throughout EMEA, North America and APAC. His broad understanding of the full marketing mix combined with a diverse skill set has contributed to the success and growth of his previous employers. Gareth has proven, successful experience in the following marketing disciplines: Offline: Marketing Strategy, Team Leadership, Direct Mail, Campaign Management, Telemarketing, Print Production, Public Relations, Copywriting, Budget Management, Graphic Design, Collateral Design, Presenting. Online: Website Design, Content Management, iPad Toolkits, Social Media, PPC, SEO, Analytics, CRM, E-Marketing, Video. Gareth has experience of working across many vertical markets including Healthcare, Local Government, Education, Finance, Insurance, Manufacturing, Logistics, Retail, Media, Not for Profit and Legal. He has started this blog ‘Inside a Marketing Mind’ to share his experiences and promote debate around the latest marketing innovations. Follow Gareth on Twitter here – http://twitter.com/gareth_case and subscribe to the blog for all the latest updates. For a more detailed synopsis of Gareth’s skills and experience, please visit his blog or LinkedIn page

Discussion

10 thoughts on “How much time should we spend on social networks?

  1. Nice post Gareth. Have you looked into Oktopost (http://www.oktopost.com) for social media marketing planning? It can really shorten the time you actually spend “posting” to social networks.

    Posted by David Powell (@DavidPowell666) | September 1, 2011, 11:00 am
    • Interesting article Gareth. Spending time as a communicator on these is, if well planned, manageable.
      However, as a consumer of information, I still find that social media eats away at time – I look at the clock and can’t believe how much time I’ve spent. Still, wouldn’t be without it!

      Posted by The Marketing Forge | September 1, 2011, 11:54 am
  2. I am curious to understand how much actual business and ROI this could mean to a company. It’s all very well having loads of followers and tweeting about your company’s expertise. How this effects the bottom line is a different matter. Although I want to embrace this channel wholeheartedly, does it really bring on new clients who want to spend money?
    Any comments anyone?

    Posted by Coralie Rodwell | September 1, 2011, 2:31 pm
    • As an agency and an individual targeting new clients I ask myself this question everyday. I think that it all depends on the clients you target and how they use social media, in all honesty some companies are on it, some aren’t. If I was to put myself in the role of a client looking for a supplier social media would be something that I would look at. It plays a part in bringing in new clients.

      Posted by Verity Shears | September 2, 2011, 3:16 pm
    • That is really a good comment on that matter ….. 😉

      Posted by Johannes Bruns | April 15, 2012, 3:53 pm
  3. Time management online is a challenge. Social media is essential for branding but it only another tool to help your business; it is not your entire business. However the time that you spend on it depend of the nature of your business.

    Posted by Multilingual SEO (@SEOmultilingual) | September 1, 2011, 10:08 pm
  4. One of the things that I find with social media is that it is very easy to spend a lot of time using it, but realistically 15-60 minutes a day is all I have time for and (I think) all a person really needs. For the most part that is plenty of time to post your own material, read and comment on some other posts, join a group or follow someone new. Social media is a part of marketing, but it is not the only way to market and there are only so many hours in a day. Thanks for the article Gareth!

    Posted by Megan Stacey (@meganstacey22) | September 2, 2011, 4:57 am
  5. Thank you very much for useful information.

    Posted by Sergii Lazurenko | September 2, 2011, 7:55 am
  6. Yes I agree that time dedicated to the social media channels is not in vain. Key to success is focusing your content on core product/service related to one’s industry. Following on from that, one needs to actively pursue revenue conversion … and this is the tricky part!

    Posted by Martin Mercieca | September 7, 2011, 11:27 pm

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