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Friday, June 22, 2012

So How Much Time Do I REALLY Have to Spend on Social Networking?


Truthfully—the bare minimum.
Yep, you read that right.
No, I'm not from another century. I know writers today need to have a platform and connection to their audience. But I refuse to believe we have to give up writing to do it.

But what about the hype, the promises, the RESULTS? Don’t the results increase in direct proportion to the effort? No, not so much.

Fairly quickly, the return on investment when, it comes to time and social networking, begins to diminish. I that sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s the absolute truth.

That said, how much time is required?
It depends…on your expertise, your audience and the desired result. 

Your Expertise
With any new skill, including social networking, there is a learning curve. It takes time to come up to speed on how to use Twitter, Facebook and Blogging platforms effectively. But, you don’t need to become an expert. After all, you want to be a writer—not a social media expert! So how do you know when you're expert enough to be effective? Here are some basics you should have mastered:

Twitter: You need to have a Twitter account and know the basics of tweeting. 
  • How to compose an effective tweet.
  • How to use hashtags correctly. 
  • The difference between a direct message, a reply and a tweet.
Facebook: You need to have a Facebook account and know how to navigate Facebook. 
  • How to accept friend requests, as well as send them.
  • How to hide unwanted updates and even people.
  • How to compose an effect Facebook update.
  • How to configure your account privacy settings to protect yourself and your family while still interacting with readers and clients.
  • The difference between a regular page and a fan page.
Blogging: You should have a blog—to practice writing on a deadline if nothing else. 
  • You need to know how often to post. 
  • How to use keywords and labels effectively.
  • How to tie your title to your keywords.
  • How to use photos and videos to illustrate and partner with your posts.
  • How to answer comments effectively.
As you can see, there isn't one right answer for everyone. But for now, here’s my short answer on how much time to spend each day—once you’re familiar with social networking.

You should spend no more than 30 to 45 minutes per day, five days a week on social networking. 

That's right. After talking with thousands of authors and writers, I’ve found that any more time than that becomes counter-productive and actually interferes with our writing.

If you’re spending more time than that per day, something’s not working. So now it’s your turn, how much time do you spend daily on social networking? Is it working for you? Do you know how to tell if it’s working? I’d love to have you share your answers and your questions in the comments.

13 comments:

Linda Yezak said...

What a relief! I had cut way back on my social networking, and worried I wasn't doing it enough. According to your post, I'm good. Thanks!

Gina Holmes said...

Good post, Edie.

Ane Mulligan said...

I use social networking but I don't let it use me. I spend minimal time and I'm glad to see it's the right way. :) When I first got involved, I spent way too much time. Now I've learned to block the games on Facebook. Those are time killers!

Laurie Evans said...

I'm rearranging my schedule a bit. My new rule is 30 mins in the morning, 30 mins at night.

Jessica Thomas said...

I feel like I'm spending toooo much time. That's partly because of my obsessive nature (I obsess over every blog post) and tendency to get distracted by ideas. I check through my RSS feeds and get sidetracked, thinking about how I could blog about this or that. I like putting a time limit to it though. Makes it seem more manageable. I think I'll track my actual time for a couple weeks and see where I'm at. Good post!

Edie Melson said...

Linda, I think you are doing well and have a good balance. I see you frequently on Facebook and on Twitter, but not enough to get overwhelmed! Blessings, Edie

Edie Melson said...

Ane, I learned early on that the games on Facebook were a major no-no for me. Blessings, Edie

Edie Melson said...

Laurie, I'm not sure what your previous schedule was like, but I highly recommend using the scheduling feature of a social media tool like Hootsuite or Bufferapp. But you bring up a good point. We should all try to spread out our social media interaction through the entire day, rather than just one concentrated time. Blessings, Edie

Edie Melson said...

Jessica, tracking your time is a good idea. I come up with blog post ideas, too, but I have a document I list them in. That way I don't lose them, but I also don't have to stop what I'm doing to write them immediately. Blessings, Edie

Julia said...

Does that 30-45 minutes include the time we spend reading blogs like this one? For a newbie, there are some very helpful blogs out there and my main temptation is to get caught up in reading them!

Edie Melson said...

Julia, part of the blogs I read come out of this time. IF (and that's a big if) I can limit myself to 2-3 blogs per day. Sometimes I'll get a notice in my inbox that a blog has been updated and the title catches my eye so I stop and read it. You can think of reading blogs two ways, one as social networking - because you're commenting & connecting with people. Or two, as education. I know it's not a definitive answer, but I hope it helps clarify things. Blessings, Edie

Kathy Harris said...

Edie, this was great. Thanks so much for the overview. I have more to learn but reading this was a good start.

Elaine Baldwin said...

Boy do I need to pay attention to this as you know, Edie. Tks.