Social media managers, here’s how to divvy up your time

There’s a lot to do when you’re handling online accounts and simultaneously strategizing. Here’s some scheduling help, along with a few tools to help keep your head above water.

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Just because social media never sleeps doesn’t mean that social media managers can’t.

A recent study conducted by Social media Examiner asked 3,720 marketers how much time they devote to social media marketing every week.

Large corporations might have multiple social media managers working around the clock, and smaller shops may dedicate only a few hours to it every week.

This post describes how one of Sprout Social‘s social media managers handles the workload. It might not be a perfect fit for you, but it should provide a structure to base your own schedule on.

35 percent of time for engaging with customers

This portion can split into two initiatives:

Responding to inbound messages: A study by Sprout Social found that five out of six social media messages seeking a brand’s response go unanswered. That’s like letting your office phone ring off the hook, except that on social media it’s much more public.

Imagine all the potential customers who visit your page and see you ignoring your current customers. They won’t do business with a company that doesn’t care about its clientele. Make sure you answer all those incoming messages.

Looking for new opportunities: Use a monitoring tool to look for keywords indicating someone is looking for a product or service you provide; then join that conversation.

Related: Show off your work. Enter the 2015 Digital PR & Social Media Awards!

25 percent of time for researching and planning strategy

Some assume social media marketing is simple; it isn’t. Social media managers have to run dynamic social media networks while planning campaigns. Two key components:

Researching: Do you know what Meerkat is? Have you heard of the newest Facebook algorithm update and its effect on organic reach? If not, you aren’t doing enough research.

Strategizing: Think through your goals, which channels to employ, what type of content to create and much more. Build a unique strategy for each social media campaign.

20 percent of time for creating and curating content

There’s no point in building a social media presence if you’re not going to post anything for your followers. Spend time creating or sourcing engaging content.

Creating content: This includes all the original content you create for your brand: tweets, Facebook posts, blog posts, unique images, etc. Take time and care in creating these; recovering from a bad social media post is no easy task.

Sourcing content: It’s not wise to post only your own content. People will tire of reading self-promotional content. Moreover, some networks, including Facebook, will reduce the organic reach of posts they deem “overly promotional page posts.” To avoid penalties, post more content from different sources.

Try these tools to streamline your content sourcing process:

  • Buzzsumo has amazing functionality for finding new, popular articles to share. For example, type in “social media news,” and it returns the most-shared items based on your selected timeframe.
  • Flipboard is a free tool that aggregates news articles based on your interests. Subscribe to topics relevant to your industry, and Flipboard will pull in great content for your followers.

10 percent of time for collaboration

Social media shouldn’t be in a silo. Whether it’s the sales team reaching new clients on Facebook or customer service responding to inquiries on Twitter, social media is a team effort.

Discuss the possible benefits social media can have on colleagues’ daily workflow, and discuss campaigns that could prove helpful for all parties.

10 percent of time for analytics

Analyze performance to see what works and to inform your future strategies. Study your data, and consider these important questions:

  • Which networks are effective?
  • What kind of messaging resonates?
  • Which types of posts get shared most?

10 percent of time for relaxation

This pushes the total past the 100 percent mark, but it’s extremely important for marketers maxing out their time on social media. Social media can be overwhelming, and “social media burnout” is very real.

Michael Patterson is a digital marketing specialist at Sprout Social, a social media management platform for business. A version of this post first appeared on AdWeek.

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