I received the following question from “Terry” yesterday about the time one needed to spend with social media in order to make it do anything for you business wise.
Do I have to spend a lot of time maintaining my profile on these sites? Is that very time-consuming? What is the best way for me to do this? Thanks so much for taking the time to help me.
Out of all the social communities that are out there, I only spend regular time on a few of them. If you follow this blog at all, you know I am addicted to Twitter and love it (feel free to follow me)! Twitter is where I spend most of my time with communities, but its not like I am sitting at my computer with Twitter on 24/7 waiting for something to happen. When I am doing my regular work, I will check it now and again and get caught up on all I missed. When I have a link to share, I’ll post it, when I feel like making a comment about something – I’ll do so.
There are also tools available with many social networks to help you post your content automatically so you never have to even be there, if you don’t want to be. That is not my recommendation, but they are available! I use them to an extent, but always make sure I put the human part of me first in the communities.
In order to really answer this question I think you must have a solid understanding of what the purpose is of each community you are using. Let me give you a break down of a few I use and time spent with them:
- Twitter – great for networking (which can lead to money down the road), learning about breaking news and keeping up to date with your industry. You can also use Twitter for viral promotions and contests, “deals of the day”, new blog posts and so on. I can’t narrow down a specific time I am on Twitter because in some form or another its always on. It does not mean I am using it all the time, but I will use it when the need arises.
- Facebook – For me Facebook is more of a personal tool then business, but I do let people know what I am up to business wise on Facebook. When it comes to time spent on Facebook, I have only spent time setting up my profile, adding pictures and setting up feeds, so initially maybe a couple hours. Everything I do on Twitter, Stumble Upon, Delicious, Flickr, My Blogs etc. are all automatically updated and posted to my Facebook Wall through feeds. So by taking advantage of the Facebook applications (like I posted about the other day) you can save yourself a ton of time and seem like you are a regular on Facebook. So in reality, I usually only spend minutes a day on Facebook – going through and accepting new friend requests etc. (if that).
- Stumble Upon – Because of the toolbar you get with Stumble Upon, its pretty much the easiest social community out there. If I come across a page and would like to save it, all I have to do is hit the thumb up button. If I am the first to review a page I came across that I liked, then I just have to fill out a little form (review of the site) and hit submit. I maybe spend minutes a day (if you actually add up the time it takes to Stumble something) but it seems like I am on it all day long. You knows funny about this one, is I spend more time on it because people send me stuff they want reviewed! If you let that happen a lot, it can become time consuming.
- Squidoo – I am bringing up Squidoo because its a great place to set up a lense (a webpage) about yourself, company or product. Setting up the lense is the only time consuming part of this service. It may take you a couple of hours to set it up right, but after that you are done. You maybe spend minutes a week updating it. Squidoo also offers the ability to upload feeds so anything you post on your blogs, or other social sites can automatically show up on your Squidoo pages. That is a time saver too.
- Digg – If you are brand new to social media, my best advice would be to avoid Digg until you really understand what kind of a community it is. Digg is more tech related – so your blog post about quilting patters will probably not do that well (unless they are star wars quilting patterns) ha! I use Digg for finding funny stories, technology news and viral marketing research. If you are serious about building up a powerful Digg account you need to dive in and become an active member of the community and it will be very time consuming. Since I have built up the account, it does not take loads of time to maintain it, but you have to be committed to this one. I would suggest at least a couple hours a day if you are really wanting to get serious with it.
- Delicious – I spend minutes a week bookmarking sites, and mostly they are sites that people ask me to save. It is super easy to sign up and bookmark sites. This will not be a time consuming network.
Obviously there are many others out there (that I didn’t go into deeper above) that you can use, and that I use like Mixx, Tipd, Propeller, Yahoo Buzz, Reddit, Yelp, Flickr (and so many more). I would just suggest playing around with them all at first. See what kind of community they have, compared to the kind of person and content you are offering. You will learn so much by just going in and playing around with the profiles pages, seeing what your options and generally becoming familiar. You will learn more by doing this, then you will from any tutorial.
At first you will be spending more time setting up all of these accounts, but as you get more familiar with them it will become much easier to maintain, and much less time consuming. You will not spend as much time as you are thinking you will right now.
I hope this helps and answers the question asked, as it was a bit more winded then I wanted it to be. I just get asked this question so often that I wanted to make sure I give as good of a possible answer as I could! Let me know if you have any questions, or hints with what you do to stay saine when it comes to maintaining all of your online profiles! I would appreciate the feedback!