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The 4-Hour Social Media Work Week

September 16, 2011

From American Express OPEN Forum

By Andy Beal – CEO, Trackur

Original Post-Sept. 15, 2011

You need help with your social media usage. We all do.

We generally fall into two camps. There are those of us that are either scared of, or indifferent toward, social media, andManaging Your Time on Social Media there are those of us that can’t get enough of it. Either way, we’re either not spending enough time leveraging social media for our businesses or we’re spending so much time talking about our business, we’re forgetting to run it!

I really enjoyed Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek and have read it three times. What most people don’t get about the book is that Ferriss is not saying you should get your working hours down to just four a week, but instead, you should get it to the point that you could get by with just four hours a week—if you needed, or wanted to.

That’s the same approach I like to take with my social media work. Sure, there are some days that I don’t feel like tweeting at all. While others involve so much time spent on Facebook or blogs, that I don’t know where the times goes! Still, I believe a 4-Hour Social Media workweek is something we should all consider and I’m here to help. Here are four easy ways to get started.

10 minutes a day for listening

This is the time you set aside for monitoring and listening to the conversations about your company. As a social media monitoring dashboard vendor, you’d think I’d advocate allocating much more time to this task. But, with the right platform, you really don’t need to agonize over these conversations. Remember, this is just the listening stage. You’re looking to identify the conversations that may need a simple “thank you” or “sorry” or a more lengthy investigation and response.

Total time: 10 mins x 5 days = 50 mins

15 minutes a day for replying

OK, this is where you get to respond to tweets, blog posts or Facebook questions. Really, it can be done in such a short amount of time—at least on most days. You could set aside just one 15 minute block, but I’d recommend splitting it so that at least twice a day you check in and reply. That way, urgent items don’t go 24 hours without a response.

Total time: 15 x 5 = 75 mins

10 minutes a day for sharing

Your company is so interesting. Everything you say, do or create is worth tweeting about in all caps, right? No, not really. Pick the one thing that you feel benefits your company and customers, and let them know about it. Aside from that, there’s no need to go digging through your archived posts so that you can post them to Facebook for the umpteenth time. Your customers do want to hear from you via social media, they just don’t want to hear from your PR machine 24/7.

Total time: 10 x 5 = 50 mins

10 minutes a day for creating

Are you writing at least one blog post a week that shares something of value with your target audience? No, your press release announcing that you hired a new CTO does not count as “something of value.” In 50 minutes a week, you can easily write and publish a blog post of 500 words packed with tips, advice or news that helps your customers. You’ll gain more loyal fans by being valuable to them, than by shoving your news down their throat.

Total time: 10 x 5 = 50 mins

If you’re keeping score, you’ll see that we still have 15 minutes left in our 4-Hour Social Media Workweek. That’s not a mistake. That’s the time you can split for checking-in over the weekend. That way, you won’t come in to work on Monday and be blindsided like Motrin was.

At this point some of you are thinking, yeah, I can do this. Others of you are scoffing at me, because you couldn’t possibly do all you need to get done in just four hours a week. And, you would both be right. If you’ve not jumped into social media yet, this is your chance to dip you toe in the waters. If you’re a social media maven for a Fortune 500 brand, then sure, you wouldn’t dream of spending such little time on something so important, but here’s the kicker: If you really wanted to, really needed to, you could get it done in four hours.

Image: tungphoto /

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