Monday, September 20, 2010
by Janis Brett Elspas
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How many hours per week total do you now spend on all business-related social media? Do you think you need to cut back hours on it? And if so, how much less time?
If I had a dollar for every minute I've spent on Twitter and Facebook since signing up for those social media networks several years ago, I think I'd be a millionaire. "Me, too," you might be chiming in, right about now. Yes, I have to admit it -- on this point my dear hubbie is right -- you have to manage your involvement on these sites very carefully because if you don't watch out, they can actually be a major time sink.
Though I've come to terms with it now, it is still quite terrifying to think about. In my early days on those two social networks, Linkedin and a few others, promoting this blog and my PR and social media consulting business, I was spending more than 75% of my working time Tweeting and following, posting to Facebook walls, and seeking out former business associates on Linkedin. The rest of the time on many of those same days, I was wading through an average of 300 emails daily -- which not, coincidentally -- were often related to my social network activities.
Based on a 50-hour work week which has been my norm, that means I was spending an average of 37+ hours a week -- the equivalent of 2000 hours last year alone -- JUST on social and business networking. That left precious little to no time at all for me to either create substantial content or to follow up on the many business connections I wanted so much to cultivate. Ironically, these two were the most important things I should have been doing a lot more of back then.
In recent months, I've wised up, though, using more of that formerly wasted "chat" time to focus on writing better content and building on existing business relationships instead. This has magically "manufactured" time for me to write more quality content not only for my own blog MommyBlogExpert but also to write for others, including as a regular contributing columnist for two exciting consumer blogs, Zulily and Dealpop , which both launched this year. Even better, it has freed up more energy and hours to engage in more meaningful conversations with all the contacts I've acquired, especially those I met when I was in over my head with social media.
The good news is that if I can convert my excess Twitter, Facebook, and other social network downtime into productivity, you can too. All it takes is setting limits for yourself on how much time you will spend daily in these other social media neighborhoods. It will be different for each person and business, obviously, but I think most everyone can reap the rewards of cutting back even just a little. As for me, I've whittled down my own time on these significantly and am currently only doing social networking a total of just 5 hours per week (about 1 hour/day on all networks combined). The result is that I'm benefiting not only from all the physical hours I've recaptured for more in-depth blog writing but also from the higher caliber of energy I'm now able to channel into solidifying important new business relationships that will ultimately grow both this blog and my social media consulting business.
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How many hours per week do you now spend on all business-related social media combined? And if you think you want to increase your productivity in creating content how many of those social media hours do you think you could cut back? I look forward to hearing other blogger's feelings on this.
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