Who has the time for Social Media?

  photo by fotologic 

There are a lot of people actively using Social Media, but there are still many, many, many more that aren’t and they don’t really understand the whole thing. 

The biggest issue that I hear over and over again?

“Who has the time for all of this stuff?” – generally followed closely by the observation that they are currently getting swamped by email, phone calls and all sorts of other time killers.

There are two issues at work here – the first one is that a lot of people need a better handle on time management (check out 3 ways to create more time).  The second issue is that people really don’t see the benefit to Social Media – by many it’s still viewed as the province of kids and online marketers (not necessarily exclusive groups…)  ๐Ÿ˜‰

Making time?

The last thing you want to do is add a bunch of new tasks on your list, the question is how much time will Social Media marketing actually take?

The good news is that it’s pretty variable – a heavy Social Media user might spend 8 to 10 hours a week but I would suggest that you could get a lot of benefits from Social Media with as little as 30 minutes to an hour a week.  An example of productive use of time at the low end would be to monitor your LinkedIn account for 15 to 20 minutes twice a week (answer a couple of questions, catch up on what your contacts are doing and respond to them and find or interact with a couple of groups).  Additionally you could spend 5 minutes a day on Twitter (use Tweetdeck or another app like it to make it easier) and listen to people you find interesting or influential.  (Look me up at AspireShawn – not because I’m interesting or influential, but it does give you a starting point).

If you want to spend more time, you can and certainly the initial setup and learning curve will take a bit longer, but I know you can do a lot in that amount of time because that’s been my approach for a long time (a bit more active now).

Is there value?

If you don’t have an online business, can you actually benefit from using Social Media?

I think that’s a resounding YES!  LinkedIn is a fantastic tool, especially for professionals, but it can benefit almost anyone these days, especially now that there are more than 40 Million users. 

Even if you don’t actively use LinkedIn as a way to promote yourself as an expert – just staying in front of and top of mind of key contacts is hugely beneficial.  There are also lots of other ways to benefit from LinkedIn – researching prospects, understanding relationships and enhancing your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) just to name a few.

On the Twitter front – maybe you can take some inspiration from the local businesses that are using Twitter out there.  It can be a great way to offer up time sensitive discounts, offers or just a way to generate activity when business is slow.

Twitter is also a good way to connect with people – retweet things that others are saying that you agree with or find useful, ask questions and get feedback from the world.  Drive traffic to your website or blog – just from activity.

To me it seems pretty clear that the return on your time investment can be very high – you have to have an idea of what you want to achieve and you need to have a website or blog to drive people to to get bigger benefits, but overall it’s worth the time.

What do you think?   Have you found Social Media to be a waste of time or a worthwhile investment?  Share your thoughts in the comments below….

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach