There is no one correct answer to this question. The right amount of time will depend on your goals, the number of platforms you are using and the size of your social media network. It is, however, safe to say that your commitment to social media will have to be significant if you want to see real results. It can be time-consuming to generate and upload content, share with others, engage in conversations, respond to posts and stay on top of links, etc.
Set Aside Time
Since you likely have a host of other tasks to deal with on a daily basis, you’ll want to make the time you spend on social media as efficient as possible. To do this, set aside a specific part of each day or week to handle social media tasks. During this time, focus only on your social media efforts. If you allow other tasks to creep in, you will find yourself spending double or even triple the expected time to get a simple task done. Even checking email or answering a phone call or two can dramatically increase the time you spend, turning a one-hour commitment into two or three hours on your social networking platforms.
Create a Schedule
Your audience will appreciate knowing what to expect from you, so make a schedule for when you will update and add new content. If you post to your blog twice per week on the same days, for example, your readers will know exactly when to visit for fresh content rather than making hit-or-miss visits to your blog. Be sure to update your content regularly. Your audience will rapidly become bored if your blog, Facebook and Twitter pages are not updated frequently. You may get the best results if you post to your blog at least once per week, though your audience might find two or three weekly posts more satisfying. As for your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other accounts, posting at least a couple of times per week is usually ideal.
Make Time to Engage
Remember that good social media isn’t just about posting and talking at your followers. The main point is to engage and communicate. As such, you will need to build in some time to friend and follow others, respond to posts, answer questions, make comments, and share. You may need to set aside a little daily time for this, as you don’t want to let questions and comments linger. If your audience members wait too long for responses from you, they will likely move on to another business. Set aside about 30 minutes per day for this, but expect to put in more time as your network grows. Additionally, the number of platforms you use will make a difference. If you have an active Facebook account and a growing following on Twitter, you will typically have to commit more time than if you’re just getting started with one social media platform.
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