What Is the Best Way to Manage My Social Media Time?

Answer

Chuck Bartok (Entepreneur-consultant to the small business market, Best Business Social Media Services)
The first requirement would be to write down on Paper with pen or pencil the expected result of your Social Media time and energy (capital) investment.
Then have a written strategy to attain that Result.
The allocate (or outsource) YOUR time and energy per day week or month to the attainment of that result.
Experience has shown that the Strategies will vary depending on the industry and size of Result intended.
For instance, one of our clients was looking for $100,000 in added sales revenue through one Social Media platform.
They set up the Page and invested approximate 1 1/2 hour day first month, added some incentives and accomplished the first milestone within 8 months.....
Side note: the emphasis of activity focused don the weekend, because research showed that was when there THEIR Market was most involved in Social Media time.
10 Additional Answers
Lauren Hagerty
how_to_monitor_your_social_media_presence_in_10_minutes_a_day_hs_may-2012
Via hubspot
Your New 10 Minute Schedule
Now that you have set up a consolidated platform for monitoring your social media presence, you can implement a new habit of logging into your Google Reader first thing in the morning to check for relevant information.
3 minutes
Check for Twitter chatter about your company and its competitors.
2 minutes
Scan Google News and Blogs Alerts for important articles.
3 minutes
Filter and flag relevant industry-related LinkedIn and Quora questions.
2 minutes
Log in to Facebook and Google+ to scan your wall for comments.
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Jenny Arnez (Web and Social Media Coordinator, Biddle Consulting Group)
I like what Chuck said about starting with setting goals. Also, I find it helpful to use a tool like Hootsuite to manage all of our accounts, except for the blogs.
Tyrell Mara (Social Business Strategy, Tekara Organizational Effectiveness)
Great points so far,

I agree that the first step is defining your goals and objectives. If you are going to invest in social media, it is critical to have a clear understanding of your end goals and objectives, as well as the strategy that will help you create the infrastructure to get there.

All of this will help you use your time in the most effective manner possible.

I think a lot of your social media engagement will depend on your specific target market and strategy, but here are some general suggestions:

1) Use Hootsuite as a social media dashboard to manage all of your accounts and streams in one place.
2) Research if there are relevant twitter chats or linkedin groups where you or your brand can add value to the discussion. This allows you to engage with an already established 'targeted' community.
3) Use a resource like Tweriod or Crowdsourcer that lets you know when is the optimum time to post content (as Chuck eluded to, when your audience is the most active).
4) Create location based twitter searches so you can monitor the relevant conversations that are taking place in your industry (and in your specific location).
5) Never stop having conversations (engaging), I truly believe that the power of social media is in building meaningful relationships, and the first step is starting the conversation!

Cheers,
@TyrellMara
Roger Bauer (CEO, SMB Consulting)
Schedule set times to participate in social media versus responding sporadically. Stick to the schedule because social media can easily become a huge time suck which can sap your day of productivity in a hurry.

Consider setting aside 20 minutes blocks/chunks of time to check and respond to email, voice-mails and social media once or twice per day to keep yourself focused on your more important goals.
shannon panko
excellent points above. i must concur with Roger on being deligent about time allocation. have fun!
Monica Bussolati
1. Start with a content strategy. Not doing so is the #1 mistake made. A content strategy gives you goals so you won't waste time and you'll know if it is working.
2. Develop a Pull system vs. a Push. Don't let social drive your schedule, you schedule it.
3. Be efficient, use the best tools. E.g.: using Hootsuite is more efficient than Twitter alone.
4. Evaluate new niche networks carefully before jumping in.
Anum Hussain (Inbound Marketing Associate, HubSpot)
Hi Steve,

This is a question with no clear answer. The best thing you or your business can do, as aforementioned in this thread, is to know your GOALS.

You need to invest time trying different tactics on different social sites while tracking how each tactic is performing. By understand which social media platforms are sending you the most traffic, leads, and ultimately, customers, you can get a better understanding of where you be allocating your time.
Patrick Murphy (CEO/Director, Silicon Cloud)
We know that social media marketing is important for any business. Last week I looked at how beneficial marketers have found social media, in building traffic to their websites, greater engagement with their market and increased sales.The research I looked at last week, by Social Media Examiner, shows a clear benefit to spending extra time on your social media marketing. Even a slight increase in social media activity can have a benefit for your company. The research found that 37.7% of marketers spend less than 5 hours per week on social media. Even a slight increase in that time could provide dividends for that group. The surveyed showed that 50% of marketers, who spend 5 hours or less per week on social media marketing, reported an increase in website traffic. However, of the group that spent 6-10 hours per week, 74% reported an increase in traffic. A huge jump for small increase in time spent. Across each of the areas surveyed, marketers who spent more time on social media reported better results. With the biggest improvements appearing when social media marketing activity increased past the 5-hour mark.Beyond the 11-hour mark, while there were consistently higher results, the improvement was more gradual. The best results, in almost every area, came from those who spent more than 40 hours per week on social media marketing.
Contador Harrison (Software Developer, Somocon Oy)
THANKS to social media,customers have a voice like never before.This past week,I have been dealing with several customers of my employer Somocon Oy,and one thing that i managed to get was that their customers are twice powerful than they were three years. In the past,when customers wanted to discuss a product or service, they'd dial a call centre and their problem would be addressed behind closed doors. Only the customer and the company would hear the complaint or praise. Now these issues are aired publicly to potentially huge audiences of potential buyers.Today a single customer complaint from someone with influence can have more impact on your company's reputation than your best marketing. Companies globally have quickly recognised what customers are saying online couldn't be ignored and have began taking immediate steps to engage directly with them on forums and across social media channels.

Social media has became a core part of any business functions and customer service, and it is clear that providing support for customers in the digital realm need to be a vital element of their social strategy. Some clients I spoke to have after the launch of such, seen a significant decline in negative commentary about their products and services, a proof that the ability to listen and respond instantly is a smart investment in any company's future and a way to continually improve both business and customer relations and are also able to listen to what customers are saying, to react to feedback more quickly and efficiently, and to gain a greater understanding of your customers' needs and wants.

Having embraced social media since its inception, I have no doubt that it offers a unique opportunity to reach customers companies may not have the budget to target or if you are looking for a platform to complement or add value to traditional channels. What's more, social media conversations can serve as an early warning system for issues that arise around your company's products and services.I would advise any company strategist reading this to choose the right medium for demographic before creating a forum for customer support, evaluate target market to determine which social media channels are most likely to reach them.Support forums and discussion boards can offer a great way to offer solutions to the masses and connect your customers with your experts, both your company's experts and your customers and supporters that are experts.

In my opinion,Twitter has a huge volume of 140 characters or less comments, and thus tons of opportunity for you to engage 1x1 with people talking about your brand, products, or services.
Social networking platforms like Facebook also offer great opportunities to connect with your community members. Your customers are already choosing their platform of choice, and it's important to meet your customers where they play.Personalisation is key when engaging with customers, it's important to connect with them on a personal level. People respond to people, so brands can lose credibility quickly if your communication appears to be coming from a robot.
It's a group effort because providing customer support through social media requires collaboration between customer service, marketing and product development to address an array of different problems. In order to respond effectively to issues via social media, it's important that your customer service team is trained on your company's brand messaging and your overarching customer experience strategy. If responses aren't in line with your brand's wider goals, it may create confusion and could impact customer satisfaction and retention.
You should also use social media as a supplement, not a replacement because whether we like it or not Social media won't replace conventional support tools and it provides a way for businesses to connect with customers real-time in the places where they're already having conversations.

Keep them updated throughout the process and once the problem is resolved reach out to the customer on the original social channel to ensure that they're entirely satisfied.This will illustrates that you care about your customers as people and not just about extinguishing negative public commentary on your brand. Customers are finding a voice through social media and using it as a support channel more and more. Tweeting a help request takes fewer steps than sending an e-mail or dialling a support line and can elicit an immediate response.You can see me on social media platforms like Linkedin,Twitter,Facebook,Google plus and Foursquare.

Twitter: @contadoharrison
Facebook:Contador Harrison
Linkedin:Contador Harrison
Google Plus:Contador Harrison
Foursquare:Contador Harrison

Gail Wallace (President, Bellwind Consultants)
These are all excellent contributions but I think there are some considerations that also need to be taken into account. Although the most prevalent social media platforms share more or less similar demographics there are some significant differences. If you have a well defined demographic of your potential customers then search for the platform which provides the best match. Not all companies do well on Facebook but might thrive on Twitter. Don't stick with a platform just because it is popular if it doesn't work well for you. We saw that when GM recently cut back its marketing efforts on Facebook because its ROI was poor on that platform. What is your conversion rate and how much is it costing you per new customer both in time and money?

While using social media for customer service sounds like a great idea, it can backfire badly. Word of Mouth (WOM) marketing is one of the most powerful types of marketing but it is a double edged sword. When a person finds a good, honest company they will recommend it to 3 people but if they have a bad experience, they will tell 7 people. Social media simply makes a recommendation or complaint viral. Customer service by definition deals primarily with complaints to begin with so that suddenly, every complaint can suddenly become viral. Unless the customer service is immediate and stellar, the company risks having very negative WOM spreading like wildfire. Even if the company response is first class, it may not mitigate the already negative impression. There is also the very real danger that the company will offer some wonderful but otherwise totally unsustainable solution to try to overcome the negative impression of the complaint. The company can find itself having set a precedent that can cause it enormous problems down the road. The complaints need to be analyzed and if they have similar themes, then time is better spent fixing the company problems than the cost of having customer service via social media.

Good customer service would require someone (or a team) be available constantly at least during business hours to handle responses. Otherwise, scheduling time to deal with social media is best and for heaven's sake, if you have nothing useful or meaningful to say, then say nothing at all and use the scheduled time to plan ahead for the next interaction.
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