This question has been asked and answered hundreds of times. Blogs have been posted recommending how many minutes per day to spend on social media, what times of day to post, and who should post within an organization. Infographics have been published recommending how much time B2B, B2C or NFP’s should spend on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. So what’s the answer? It depends. How is your company using social media and to what purpose?

Customer Service

For example, if social media is being used for customer service then the company should be available whenever the customer needs them—even if it’s 24/7. The worst thing any company can do is create a customer service social media site and ignore it. It’s better to have no social media presence than to be unresponsive. Here’s an example of how to do it right, Zappos Service.

Lead Generation

If the purpose of social media campaigning is lead generation, the amount of time budgeted will depend on the type business. A B2B doesn’t have to be on-call 7 days a week. Depending on the business it may only need to spend an hour, or less, per day 5 days a week to be effective. For a B2C, knowing where and when the target market is on-line is critical. For example, if your product is considered a leisure or luxury item maybe weekends are best. If you market children’s products—Saturday mornings may be your prime time. And if you sell racing gloves, Sunday during an NASCAR race would seem ideal.

Branding

Branding a business on social media may not take a lot of time on a daily basis. Depending on the number of networks used to broadcast the message it may only require a few minutes per network each day. What takes time is the initial set up. The organization should be easily recognizable across all networks. Typography, design, and message should be consistent whether it’s Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. Although the content may vary, and should, there should be no doubt of the source. This article from the SBA (Small Business Administration) may be helpful 6 Quick Ways to use Social Media for Branding.

What’s best for you?

There’s not one single, one-size-fits-all, answer to this question. The answer is different for every organization. What’s your reason for social networking—what do you hope to accomplish? Only after answering these questions should you consider how much time to budget for social media. To begin a social media strategy by determining how much time can be spent is getting the cart before the horse. Shouldn’t you know the destination before beginning the journey?

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