How much time should you dedicate to social media marketing for your small business?

Social media marketing is a low-cost method of marketing your start-up or small business. However, if you do not plan properly, you risk wasting valuable time, costing your business money, and experiencing the type of burnout that kills start-ups. The following section discusses how much time your business should spend on social media and how to determine whether or not your strategy is effective.

How much time should you spend on social media for your small business?

According to an online survey, 43% of small business owners spend six hours a week on social media marketing. That equates to one hour and twelve minutes per day over a five-day work week, which seems reasonable for many small businesses.

In addition, many experts recommend a specific number of posts per platform per day. The following ranges are generally recommended:

  • Pinterest: five to 30
  • Facebook: one to three
  • Twitter: five to 15
  • Instagram: one to two
  • LinkedIn: one to two

That being said, you should not let other businesses dictate your level of social media activity. Rather than that, you should take the following into consideration.

Quality over quantity

The frequency with which your business posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Instagram is irrelevant unless and until your posts engage your audience and attract followers.

If you’re torn between meeting a post quota and creating unique content, spend your time creating unique content that your audience will click, like, and share. You do not need to devote time to social media efforts on a daily basis; in fact, a good social media post scheduler allows you to plan all your posts in advance, freeing up the remainder of your week (or month) to focus on other critical tasks.

Your audience’s preferred platform

According to experts, some businesses publish up to 50 posts daily. If each post takes five minutes, that’s more than four hours per day spent on social media — far too much time for startups and solo entrepreneurs to accomplish much else.

Determine which platform or channel your audience prefers, and then devote all of your efforts to that platform until you have amassed a sizable following. Along the way, you’ll gain insights that will assist you in successfully expanding your reach on additional social media platforms when the time is right.

Your total marketing budget

What percentage of your marketing budget is spent on social media? Your social media time should be a reflection of that investment. Certain businesses thrive on social media, while others may be better served by focusing their efforts on email marketing. Without investing additional time, you can always share your emails on social media platforms to increase their reach.

This is not to say that social media marketing is not valuable — it unquestionably is — but when you’re just getting started, you need to prioritize your time and money in order to get your business off the ground.

Social media results

Is social media marketing accomplishing its objective? If this is not the case, you must determine what went wrong. Are you reaching out to the incorrect demographic? Is the quality of your posts mediocre? Have you made an error in your channel selection? Is there any evidence that your audience uses social media at all?

If you’re not seeing the results you want, you may need to spend more time experimenting to determine what works or you may need to reallocate your marketing budget. On the other hand, if your social media efforts are yielding positive results, it may be time to increase your time investment. If you reach a plateau — that is, if your predictable success does not increase as you invest more time — you have discovered your social media marketing sweet spot.

How to know if your social media strategy is working

The most effective way to determine whether your social media efforts are paying off is to establish measurable objectives for your social campaigns and monitor key performance indicators (KPIs).

VerticalResponse’s post scheduler tracks key performance indicators (KPIs) such as follower count and reach, as well as post interactions like likes, shares, comments, and retweets. Additionally, you can group social messages into folders in order to track multiple posts as part of a single campaign.

For instance, you could set a goal of increasing your follower count by 10% in the coming month. If you currently have 1,000 followers, your goal for the next 30 days is to increase that number by 100. It’s a measurable and worthwhile goal, as the more followers you have, the more people will see your posts and the more likely they will engage with your brand.

To accomplish this, you can schedule a series of posts aimed at generating follower interest. If your campaign is a success, you will know that your efforts are paying off. Additionally, you’ll know the amount of time spent achieving your goal. If your campaign is unsuccessful, you can determine why and make appropriate adjustments for future campaigns.

Finally, you want to see results from your social media efforts. While it may take several months to build a large enough following to have a noticeable impact on your bottom line, you should eventually be able to establish correlations between the amount of time you spend on social media and sales volume or revenue. Once you’ve accomplished that, determining how much time your business should devote to social media marketing becomes simple.

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