As a marketer, it’s easy to fall into the all-too-common trap of spending too much time for too little reward. It’s the old 80/20 rule in full force; you’re spending far more than your 20 percent of your time for diminishing returns beyond your 80 percent. How much time should you spend on your Facebook page, where are you wasting time and how can you streamline the process?
Posting Fresh Content – 5-10 Minutes per Post
The key to marketing through Facebook is to keep an active account. One of the best ways to do that is by posting your own content. Every time you write a blog post for your site, you should craft a post to put on Facebook advertising it. It doesn’t take long to write a quick, compelling sentence or two that encourages users to click. Generally, a question that can be answered by reading your post is a good place to start. Avoid mindlessly repeating the title; it’s already visible in the post preview.
You can do this throughout the day, whenever you have a post to advertise. The key is to use HootSuite or another social media management tool to schedule your posts in advance. It doesn’t matter when you write them, as long as they go up according to schedule.
You should also intersperse your posts with sharing content that’s useful to your readers but not posted on your blog. Do this less frequently, as it does funnel some traffic away from your page, but make sure to include at least some outside content. This allows you to write a quick commentary in your post. It gives your users the chance to express their opinions, which you can use as a basis for a future post. It also gives you some social activity that didn’t require the investment of a blog post.
How many times you post each day depends on the size of your audience. If you have a small audience, you probably don’t want to post a dozen times every day; you’ll quickly flood your users with content and earn a spammer label. Conversely, if you have a huge audience, you need to post frequently to make sure you’re visible to as many of them as possible.
Going Wrong: Agonizing Over Posts
If you’re spending more than five or ten minutes writing your social media posts, you’re wasting time. Write a quick sentence or two, throw in your link, customize the preview and set it to a scheduled post time. If you’re obsessing over precise word choice, you’re thinking too deeply. Chances are your users are going to skim your posts and mostly just read the title from the blog preview box anyway.
Instead of spending so much time agonizing over your Facebook posts, spend that time crafting quality content to post on your blog. That’s where it’s time well spent to fixate on word choice and presentation, though as with anything, there are diminishing returns.
Listening and Responding – 30-60 Minutes per Day
The meat and bones, the bread and butter of your social media campaign is being social on the network. With Facebook, that primarily means reading comments and responding to them as necessary. It can take quite a bit of time to read through everything in depth, so you need to learn how to skim comments. You don’t really need to read, word for word, all of the answers to a silly question you post for engagement purposes. You can spend more time reading criticism posted on a thread for serious feedback. Spend even more time considering the negative comments you receive and how you can turn them into customer service opportunities.
As your audience grows, so too will the time you need to spend engaging with them. This is why most large companies hire a dedicated social media manager. For a small business, you can get away with only having an hour or so each day active for responses. Make sure you’re actually responding, as well. It’s nice that you’re reading comments, but if you’re not responding, your users don’t know you see what they say.
Responses require some forethought, most of the time. In general, you should thank people for their comments. When you see an interesting comment, respond to it in a more thoughtful manner. If a user asks a question, do what you can to answer it, unless it has nothing to do with your business.
Going Wrong: Responding to Every Comment
Too many business owners read about responding to comments and decide they need to respond to literally everything that’s posted on one of their updates. This is sustainable only when your business and audience are small; as you grow, so too does the volume of comments, and it simply no longer works. Imagine if a company the size of Amazon tried to respond to everything that was posted on their page; that’s thousands of comments and ongoing conversations at once.
The key is to mentally categorize comments. Did you post an update and receive 12 comments thanking you for the post, and one insightful question? Post one comment thanking everyone, then @tag the name of the person with the insightful question and do your best to answer it. No one feels left out, but you didn’t waste hours thanking everyone individually.
Analytics and Planning – As Long As It Takes
The bulk of your time with Facebook marketing should actually be spent in the back end, lurking in the shadows and analyzing your user behavior. Using the Facebook Insights tools, you can see how your posts perform, what sort of posts get the most engagement, when your posts receive the most views and a whole range of other interesting statistics. Analyzing these statistics and putting them to use to create a social media plan is going to be your largest time investment.
To some extent, you’re going to waste time with analytics. It’s easy to see some statistics and obsess over them – your reach, for example – when you really can’t do much to affect it. It takes experience to learn what you can most easily affect and what has the best returns.
Going Wrong: Too Much Analytics, Too Little Action
Yes, the bulk of your work will be done on the analytics side. That doesn’t mean you should spend all of your time in analytics and consider your posts as an afterthought. Without action, you have nothing to analyze.
Try to maintain a baseline minimum of activity as you use Facebook for marketing. Schedule a post or two every day, as far in advance as you can reasonably predict. Schedule more timely updates sooner, and more evergreen updates in the future. Give yourself more ammunition for your analytics.
Just as you analyze how your social media posts perform, you should analyze how you use your time on social media. Log what you’re doing, when you start and when you stop. If anything stands out as an excessive amount of time, look at what you’re doing and try to streamline the process. Remember; the time numbers here are only guidelines. Every business is unique, and has different social media requirements.