How much time should I spend on Social Media? At the end of the day it’s really a question about time management. It’s also one of the questions that I get asked the most when I’m giving a Social Media presentation or discussing strategy with a client.
So what’s the answer?
As usual the real answer will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish; what type of firm you’re in; what your position in that firm is, etc. I know, I know, that’s not the answer you wanted to hear.
Maybe it would help if we look at a couple common scenarios.
You’re the Do-Everything Sole Practitioner.
Your to-do list is different every day. You pay the bills, process the invoices, write the proposals, meet with the clients and, oh yeah you also design the architecture. You’ve got to throw wood on the fire but you’ve also got to split the logs. Don’t spend more than an hour a day on Social Media (at first).
Commenting on Facebook and responding to Tweets can be addicting … and time consuming.
Be focused. Create a sustainable schedule and stick to it. Build the habit.
I said in an earlier article that consistency is the key to success in Social Media. Develop a system, a time of day, a schedule that you can sustain, one that can become habitual and stick to it.
Plan the bulk of your Social Media a week in advance. Use automation tools. Once you have a system down, you’ll have more freedom (and time) to respond and engage in online conversations.
Grow your efforts as you become more comfortable and knowledgeable about Social Media marketing.
You’re the Progressive, Up-And-Coming Employee of a small firm.
You’ve been tapped, or maybe you’ve volunteered to head up the firm’s Social Media efforts. If it’s been added to your job description you need to understand what the expectations are; not only the goals but the time that your boss thinks you should be spending. Make sure you’re part of that conversation so everyone has the same expectations.
In this position you’re much like the sole practitioner. You have other responsibilities; probably lots of them. You need to be focused and efficient.
But you should also have a supporting cast. Everyone in the firm needs to know that you need photos and content ideas. They need to be in the habit of taking photos whenever they’re on a site visit or volunteering at a community event or meeting with a client. Deputize them to give you what you need to tell your firm’s story.
Stick to the one-hour-per-day budget but also add time for live chats, special events, maybe even meeting with graphics or web consultants you may need to outsource to … whatever it takes to meet the goals you’ve been tasked with.
As you begin to show results and greater efficiency the conversation around the office should include expanding your efforts and increasing the firm’s exposure.
I said at the beginning of the article that the question is about time management but every aspect of your work in Social Media has to relate back to your overarching strategy. So I want to close by planting a strategic seed.
Remember that it’s not your great architecture that makes your firm successful. It’s your clients. Without clients you wouldn’t have the opportunity to create your architecture.
Make sure you devote a substantial amount of time listening. Listening to what your clients are saying; listening to what contractors are saying; listening to what other Architects are saying. If you hear a question, answer it. If you can add to the conversation, join in. If you witness something great, add to the applause.
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” – Bernard M. Baruch