How Much Time do I Need to Dedicate to Social Media? (FAQ)

How much time does social media takeThis is a common question that I get asked when speaking at conferences. As businesses and organizations begin to see social media as a viable opportunity, they want to be sure that it is resourced correctly.

The challenge with this question is that it depends.

How long does it take to cook dinner?

How long does it take to create a budget?

How long does it take to fall asleep at night?

How much does it cost to build a house?

With all of these questions there is a HUGE range, and it depends on what you want.

I can build a house for $100,000 or $1,000,000 – they won’t both be the same. The budget for my house will depend on what I want and what I need.

The same is true with social media. The time it takes you depends on what you want and need to get out of it.

Last week I spoke to a State Board of Election Conference. Very few Boards of Election are using social media (for a variety of reasons) and one of the top questions was – how much time will it take to get active on social media?

For a Board of Elections, which isn’t posting as often as a traditional business and had different goals and objectives vs. a traditional business, a small investment in Facebook is probably a good starting point.

With some set-up time and a quick understanding of best practices, a Board of Elections could be active on Facebook and meet their objectives with under 30 minutes a week.

Compare this to a restaurant, which will probably post more frequently, receive more comments and aim to translate Facebook attention into butts in seats. A restaurant will probably invest more on a daily basis than a Board of Elections will in a week.

The important first step is to understand WHAT you want to achieve and consider the ACTION PLAN that is required to achieve it.

5 Social Media Mistakes You Are Probably Making

This year, I’ve helped thousands of businesses with their social media marketing, and there are some common themes in the mistakes that businesses are making. Social media is tricky and many business professionals haven’t taken the time to really think through their social media strategy. They just start doing. The decision-makers don’t understand it well and the implementors haven’t really had time to go in-depth to be as strategic as possible.

Here are the 5 biggest social media mistakes that you are probably still making:

1) Your Content is Totally Boring

This is probably the biggest one that I’ve seen this year. More advanced companies have a plan for social media and have figured out their content strategy, however the stuff that they actually post is just really, really boring. If you want to stand out online you have to be really interesting.

How to Avoid It: Spend 5 extra minutes on each post to make it as interesting as possible. Get inspired. Do some research. Don’t just post.

2) You Don’t Have the Right Resources

Do it right or not at all. Get the right resources in place to give yourself a good shot of being successful. I see this problem on both ends. Many businesses don’t have enough resources to be successful — it is 5% of someones job to quickly post something to Facebook a few times a week. At the same time, other businesses invest tens of thousands of dollars to have an agency run their Facebook page, which will probably never generate tens of thousands of dollars in sales to generate ROI. Really think about what your goals are and the right resources.

How to Avoid It: Step back and think about what success looks like for you, and realistically how this fits with other marketing investments that you could make. Resource it based on what you need to be successful.

3) You Ignore Analytics

I gave a presentation recently at a trade show and there were about 200 business in the audience and 90% of them were on Facebook. When I asked “Who has seen a decline in their reach on Facebook in the last 2 years?” only about 2 people raised their hands. All studies show that Facebook reach is declining – the real issue was that none of these people actually looked at insights with any regularity. They  had no idea that their reach had declined 50% or more.

How to Avoid It: Schedule monthly maintenance for  your social networks. Once a month look at analytics and build a plan to learn and improve.

4) You Don’t Know Which Social Networks to Spend your Time on

This is a big one – lots of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 have a hard time figuring out where they should invest and spend their time. It is difficult to determine if a newer social network like Instagram or Pinterest is worth your time and attention. What surprises me though, is how businesses make decisions about new networks. Some jump right in without really having a plan and others refuse to do anything new because they don’t have the resources.

How to Avoid It: Create a set of criteria for how you determine if a new social network is worth while and don’t be afraid to explore. ALWAYS EVALUATE A SOCIAL NETWORK against the ability to support your business objectives.

5) You Don’t Stay Up-to-Date Enough to Improve and Revisit Your Strategy

Many businesses create a strategy that makes sense initially, but they never revisit the strategy. They don’t stay up-to-date on social media news to make sure that they always have the most up-to-date information to build their strategy from. For example, as Facebook has reduced organic reach you need a paid component to your plan if you really want to reach people. If you aren’t paying attention and constantly improving, you won’t get to where you need to be.

How to Avoid It: Invest some time to stay up to date. Our social media training diet suggests how to build a personal learning plan for yourself so that you continue to be on the leading edge of social media marketing.5 Social Media Mistakes You are Probably Making

Is Gratitude In Your Social Media Strategy? #Thanksgiving

As I’m thinking about Thanksgiving approaching (or “American Thanksgiving” as I call it because I’m Canadian), I was thinking about the themes of gratitude and thankfulness and how they apply to a social media strategy.

Being thankful or grateful shouldn’t just happen once a year. It should happen frequently, especially on social media. This is a powerful strategy for both personal and professional social media users. Here are some tips to express your gratitude on social media.

  • Say Thank You to Positive Comments – We get so caught up on negative comments that we often forget to show gratitude for the positive ones. Always say thanks to people who do something nice for you.
  • Compliment Someone – Compliments can make someones day. Even businesses appreciate a great review on a review site or a kind word online. Compliment someone or a business. Do it in a specific and meaningful way.
  • Use Your Platform to Shine the Light on Someone Else – Most of the time we think about using our social networks for ourselves, but our platforms can be used to make someone else a star. Shine the light on someone or something that could benefit from a little bit of attention.
  • Thank Your Fans or Followers – Take some time to thank your fans & followers. Give them something really valuable. Remember that them paying attention to you is a gift. Respect it.
  • Share What You Are Thankful For – Social media can change the way that people think, act and feel. Share the things that you are grateful for and give credit to those who have helped.

    Is gratitude a part of your social media plan? #Thanksgiving

    There is so much negativity online these days – use your platforms to share some positivity & gratitude.

Which social network should my business be on? Social Media FAQ

Which social networks should you business be onPeople often ask: “Which social network should my business be on?” or “If I can do just one social network, what should it be?”

The answer (annoyingly) is “It depends”. People hate this answer because they want a magic formula, but the reality is that you have to THINK and USE YOUR BRAIN to decide. There is no one answer to this.

This would be like blindly asking “What city should I live in?” or “ What should I be when I grow up?”. It depends.

So, while I can’t give you the answer, I can give you some ideas of how to evaluate this for your business.

Things to consider when choosing which social networks to participate in:

1. Is your audience there? There is no reason to participate in a social network that your target audience isn’t using. Start with this. Don’t beat them, meet them.

2. How can businesses play? Each social network has different rules about how businesses can participate. Start by learning about how businesses can participate in the social network.

3. What do people naturally talk about there? The more organic your efforts are, the better. For example, I may find that my target audience is on a social network, but they aren’t talking about business there. It might be difficult for me to interject a business discussion in a place where people are talking about something else.

4. How can your marketing objectives & goals be met? Each social network has different benefits for businesses. Know what your objectives are and evaluate the social network against its ability to meet your business goals.

5. What will it take to be successful? Finally ask yourself what you need to plan to invest to be successful in the network. Some networks take a lot of time/effort whereas others require less frequency. Some are cluttered and others are open. Determine how much time/effort/money you will need to invest to be successful.

BONUS TIP: Look for case studies from your industry to see how other people are using the social network strategically.

Social Media Question: Should I Create a Separate Account for X?

Should I have multiple social media accounts for my business?This is a common social media question, especially for businesses trying to bring their strategy to life.

People often ask me, should I create a separate social media account for X purpose?

Maybe it is for each department. Maybe for each brand. Maybe for a different audience. For example, non-profits may want different social media accounts for their donors/volunteers vs. the audience they service. A company may want different social media accounts for recruiting vs. marketing.

There isn’t one answer to this question.

Considerations when creating multiple social media accounts:

  • Is the audience different: If the audience is very different you may want to create a different account. Different audiences may be best reached with different messages.
  • Is the message different: If the audience is different, but the message is the same, you may not need a second account. Multiple accounts all posting the same thing isn’t necessarily the best use of time and resources. Consider if the message you would share is really all that different.
  • Is there a customer need: If you already have one account think about your customers, not your organization. Many businesses are organized into silos (like banks for example) but that doesn’t mean that customers perceive your organization that way. For example, my bank has different marketing teams for business banking vs. personal banking but to me, they are just a bank. I wouldn’t think to search for the bank business banking, I would just search for the bank.
  • Is the focus audience large enough to generate positive ROI: If you are reaching a very specific group with sub-accounts, you want to make sure that the audience is large enough to get results. For example, if you recruit 1 person a month, it may not make sense to put effort into a recruiting account for your social media presence.
  • Are you already successful with what you have: You don’t want to be learning on multiple accounts at once. You should already be running a main account that is successful before you branch off. Build success and best practices with one account before you even think about adding new accounts.
  • Do you have the resources: 1 well managed account is better than 5 poorly managed accounts. Ignored accounts can make your organization look bad. While there is a lot of enthusiasm for accounts, the question is really one of resources. Do you have the resources?

My Best Advice:

Not knowing a specific situation, it is difficult to give advice. My initial answer would be “It depends”.

The answer is that if you aren’t running 1 social account well, you will probably run 2 worse. If you are kicking-butt on your primary account and notice a customer driven need for something more/different, you may want to consider creating additional accounts that are more specific. Most big brands started with one account, and once they learned best practices and were getting results, they used their learnings to create additional accounts.

Start with the customer and evaluate your resources.

Social Media + Public Relations – Live From Pubcon!

Today I had the pleasure of moderating a panel on Social Media PR at Pubcon.Social Media PR at PubCon with Lisa Buyer and Melissa Fach

Lisa Buyer, a good friend, CEO of The Buyer Group and author of Social PR Secrets shared some amazing tips, tricks and things to think about:

  • One Tweet can make or break you. Personally or for your company. Carefully consider everything that you post.
  • PR Communications is Changing – there is a social PR revolution.
  • New PR is based on RELATIONSHIPS (just like old PR)
  • It is a combination of audience and content
  • Create content to 1) Help them 2) That they like 3) That they need
  • 84% of people use social media to follow news
  • Social news posts with images drive 44% more engagement
  • 65% of searches start on a smartphone
  • 64% of people use social to share and recommend news
  • The best words to share on Twitter “Follow, Free, New Blog Post, Please, Post, How To, You” that people retweet
  • Running a contest — Use “Winner, Win, Winning, Events” Don’t Use “Contest, Sweepstake”
  • Questions work well on Facebook (there is an infographic on this on Sprout Social)
  • Social Chats are the new talk shows
  • Speak visually – use Emojis
  • Use random acts of Kindness to make people love you ;-)

Tip From Melissa Fach:

  • Have core values and use them to connect with your customers
  • Publicize your values and live up to them!
  • Don’t be defensive
  • TAGFEE is their guiding principle:Transparent, Authentic, Generous, Fun, Empathetic, and Exceptional as possible.
  • If you make a mistake, own up to it quickly
  • Be honest and real
  • Every decision you make should be guided by your principles
  • Building Your Team: Experience is crucial, understand the different social networks, care about people, have similar core values
  • Go the extra mile to make people happy — find people who will do right by your brand and protect you
  • Your community team members are your brand guardians
  • Have a plan and strategy for different issues that may arise
  • Reduce support tickets
  • What is best for the person – you are talking to humans – help them. They deserve respect (even if you don’t agree)
  • Validate peoples feelings – don’t be defensive
  • If people are VERY ANGRY take the conversation offline

Tips for LinkedIn - Use these words on your profile

Should You Hire a Social Media Agency or DIY?

IShould you hire a social media agency or DIY?‘ve been doing social media for a long time, and I work with both businesses and agencies who implement social media….. I get asked about this all the time “What is the best way to handle my social media? Should I hire an agency or do it myself?”

There isn’t one answer to this question, so instead I want to share the investment, pros and cons of each. As a side note, whether you DIY or outsource, you should invest in your knowledge so that you can responsibly manage your social media.

My two cents. Internal social  media generally gets the best results when done effectively. But if you can’t do it right, hire someone.

Hiring a Social Media Agency

Investment: Minimum of $1,000/month ($12k/year) for most decent companies.

Management Time/Requirements: 2 – 4 hours a month to answer questions, review progress and check-in.


  • Should use best practices (in theory, although not all of them do)
  • Know how to optimize
  • Scale/benefits as they use tools across accounts (again, in theory)
  • Consistent implementation
  • They can execute big campaigns and have more specialized resources to leverage


  • Expensive (even at a basic level, it is close to half of the cost of an employee)
  • They don’t know your partners, customers, etc to build community
  • They aren’t in your business, so they might not post the best content of what is really happening
  • Objectives may not match as they want to maintain their contract vs. your business objectives
  • Some put you into a “plug and play” model where they execute the same things for all of the clients vs. customizing for your business (this is typical of smaller social media agencies)


Investment: Minimum of 30 minutes a day, plus setup time (learning) and training.

Management Time/Requirements: Depending on the size of the organization, 2 – 4 hours a month in management + implementation.


  • You know your business, so there is less onboarding time
  • Opportunity to create really great content that connects
  • Often more cost efficient
  • Higher accountability and better alignment of objectives
  • Quicker response times and better customer responses (if well trained)


  • Must invest in training/capabilities
  • Must be a priority (or it won’t be well done and can work against you)
  • Need the right type of employee to effectively execute

DIY social media vs hiring a social media agency

In my opinion, most of the biggest success stories in social media occur when the business is running their own social media, or is very heavily involved in the management. That being said, if you don’t have the time/resources to do it right, you may nee to outsource it to get a result.

The reality is that an outsourced model (hiring an agency) works best for larger organizations. Here is why. For a smaller business with 1k – 10k fans, you probably won’t generate a positive ROI from spending $12k/year on social media management. The reason is that the amount of work required to run an account with 1k fans is only marginally less than managing an account with 100k fans, yet they both cost around the same amount to manage.

The bottom line is that there isn’t one answer; in some instances DIY produces amazing results, in other cases agencies bring creative and optimization that far surpasses what a business could do internally. Review your objectives and resources and decide what is right for you.

Is a Pinterest marketing strategy right for your business?

pinterest for business

Diversity of users has never been Pinterest’s strongest asset and discovering ways for non-retail or non-visually fascinating businesses to thrive on Pinterest isn’t easy. Women post over 90% of pins, and the most pinned categories include recipes, DIY, fashion, and home decor. Pinterest marketing couldn’t be a more obvious choice for retailers or a more confusing option for every other industry. However, Pinterest has exploded and business opportunities are growing. Curious if your business belongs on Pinterest? Read below and find out

Is anyone currently pinning from your website?

Find out by heading to You may be surprised… 70 percent of brand engagement on Pinterest is generated by users, not brands. If you find that visitors are already sharing your pin-worthy content, sign up and join in the fun. Figure out what content people are already pinning and create a board for that category.

Does your business have a blog?

The most popular destination for Pinterest users who click on pins is blogs. Using creative imagery to share a teaser about your blog and posting it on Pinterest can bring interested traffic and sometimes quality leads to your site.


Would your business benefit from building trust?

A great way to build the fundamental marketing principles of know, like, and trust is by showcasing your company’s personality. Constant Contact has a “Life at Constant Contact” board with 6,000+ followers. Use Pinterest for business marketing to show how well you treat your employees and how awesome your entire staff is.

Do you have stats, quotes, tips, or advice that could be beneficial to Pinterest users?

Pinterest is full of Infographics, statistics, quotes, and tips for nearly every industry. Do a quick search of Pinterest and see if your inspirational sales quotes  have a place on someone’s board. This is where B2B companies have lots of opportunity to get their message across in creative ways. All over Pinterest, you can find e-mail marketing templates and even cold calling scripts formatted into images. The opportunities of how to use Pinterest for business are endless.!

Do you have an e-commerce store?

Shoppers originating from Pinterest average $140-$180 per order. Pinterest offers an amazing opportunity to visually display your products while placing them  just one-click away from potential customers.

Still wondering if a Pinterest marketing strategy is right for your business? Want to learn more about Pinterest for business marketing? Join us July 7th for the live (online) Pinterest Marketing for Business course. If you can’t make it live, you can enjoy the same amazing content on-demand.

Live Online Streaming: July 8th, 2014 at 1:00pm EST

Length: 75 minutes

Early Bird Investment: $27 (limited rate)


***Even if you can’t make the event you can view the recording at any time***

Steps to Building A Social Media Plan: Infographic

While social media has now been around for many years, many businesses still struggle with building a social media strategy that gets real results. The reason is that we often get caught up in the implementation and forget to continue to link back to our strategies.

These 8 Steps to Building a Social Media Strategy originated in my bestselling Book Social Media Field Guide and were also used as the basis for the textbook that I coauthored. As you consider your social media marketing, don’t forget to be strategic and always link back to your objectives. 

Steps to Building a Social Media Plan



Listen across social media channels for conversations about your business or brand, competitors and industry.  Pay attention to conversations from people in your target market. What do they talk about? How do they talk?


Marketing Strategies and Objectives:

What are your key marketing strategies and objectives?  What do you hope to achieve from using social media?  What results will equal success?


Target Audience:

Who is the target audience for your social media marketing activities?  Where are they online?  What do they talk about?  How do they interact with each other?  Who are they key influencers that you want to build relationships with?



What is the right content plan to meet your marketing objectives and effectively reach your target audience?  Content must be relevant, interesting and engaging?



What are the right sites to engage in for your social media marketing strategy?  What social media sites represent the biggest opportunities for your content given your marketing goals and your target audience?



Plan and execute a social media presence in your key social media platforms.  Begin posting, sharing and creating content.  Build relationships.  Interact with people.  Join community discussions.

Track and Measure:

The key to continued and improved success in social media is to continuously track and measure your social media marketing.  Continuously test different content and content variations and track and measure the results.  Always be testing.  Measure your success – both qualitative and quantitative.



Based on your results adjust your strategy.  Be flexible.  Allow results and interactions to lead to re-evaluation of your strategies.



Your Employees Hold The Keys To LinkedIn Success

A LinkedIn Page is a great hub for your businesses digital activity and is everyone’s first thought when using LinkedIn to drive business results. But no matter how strong and optimized your LinkedIn page, it will never have the same business-growing potential as your employees.  Below are 3 very easy steps your employees can take to provide value as your most important LinkedIn assets.

Write Recommendations:

Writing LinkedIn recommendations is a great way to pay-it-forward, help out a former employee or client and provide an effective boost to their profile. Recommendations also position you as an expert, an encouraging leader in the community and someone who would be desirable to work with/for. An office full of employees who write awesome recommendations makes a truly positive statement about your organization to potential clients.

Connect with Customers:

LinkedIn doesn’t take place of your CRM system but it does allow you another avenue to connect with customers and nurture relationships. Features like LinkedIn introductions and recommendations make it a powerful tool for getting referrals. Encouraging all of your employees to maintain strong relationships can bring about a massive improvement in B2B relationships and high-quality referrals.

LinkedIn Training

Post In Groups:

Groups provide the perfect venue for employees to showcase their expertise, offer guidance, and help position themselves and your company as experts. Employees that are seen as industry thought-leaders become some of your most crucial brand advocates and are able to generate business value far beyond their basic job description.

A LinkedIn campaign that takes advantage of an entire office’s LinkedIn activity is a scary thought for many companies but can produce astounding results for those willing to trust their employees. For professionals who are serious about getting more results from LinkedIn  join us March 21st for Advanced LinkedIn Training: Getting Results By Connecting. Sign Up Below!

 social media training


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