When discussing your social media marketing campaign, either with a colleague, business associate or friend, who many times have you been met by the response: “I don’t have time for that”?

It’s a common phrase which many of us will have heard multiple times; however, is it a phrase that rings true? After all how much time is the right amount of time to spend on your social media marketing campaign on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis? – Please share your answers to this question.

There is a good chance that the answers to the question above will vary drastically, from three to four hours a day, to a couple of hours per week – for some it could be more and for others it could be significantly less. Whatever your answer, even if it differs to that of your neighbour, you’re right – as are they.

Time spent on a social media marketing campaign is very subjective, what works for one brand / business may not work for another, even if they are in the same industry sector. The important thing is finding the balance between updating your social media platforms with relevant information and completing the core elements of your roles.

For those who are concerned that you’re not spending enough time updating your Twitter account or for those at the other end of the scale who fear they’re spending too long on Twitter each day, the comments from Twitter’s co-founder and creative director, Biz Stone, may come as a welcome relief.

Speaking at a business conference in Montreal earlier this week Mr Stone told Twitter’s 500 million users not to spend hours on the micro-blogging site because it is “unhealthy”.

He added: “I like the kind of engagement where you go to the website and you leave because you’ve found what you are looking for or you found something very interesting and you learned something.

“I think that’s a much healthier engagement. Obviously, we want you to come frequently.”

Whilst Stone’s comments may have been aimed at those who use Twitter for personal instead of professional reasons, what he said can still ring true for businesses – who if they’re not careful could find that over tweeting is doing more damage than good to their social media marketing campaign.

There are a number of arguments as to why you shouldn’t spend hours-upon-hours each day / week tweeting, along with Biz Stone’s concerns that it is unhealthy.

For businesses using Twitter, perhaps the biggest argument is that over-tweeting can cause serious damage to your campaign if you’re not too careful.

Consider the old forms of marketing which were once common place – for example, direct mailings. As many of us will admit, the first few times you may pay some attention to the information which has been pushed through the letter box. But after four, five, ten or twenty times, instead of engaging you as it is intended to, it becomes a nuisance and you pay little attention to it.
Now consider Twitter as the postbox on the front-door and the Twitter feed to be the doormat. You’re not going to want to have tweet after tweet from the same business / person, blocking out the other updates those you’re following are posting. Your audience will feel the same and if you’re posting too frequently, instead of being engaged with you, they are likely to unfollow and in some cases block you – limiting the range of audience you’re able to reach.

We’re not saying don’t use Twitter, but we believe if used correctly it can be a powerful tool. Instead , we recommend tweeting a couple of times a day and if you still want to spend time on Twitter, then look at other elements which can enhance your marketing campaign.

Below, we’ll highlight some of the areas you can focus on when spending time on Twitter.

Followers / Following:
Logging into Twitter doesn’t mean you have to update your status. Instead, why not spend five or ten minutes going through your lists of followers and those that you’re following?

See which of those you’re following regularly tweet and remove those who haven’t tweeted for a couple of months or more; why not also compile a few lists on Twitter so that tweets about various subjects are easier to find?

Once you’ve gone through the list of those you’re following, look at those that are following you. How many of these are relevant to your business? How many are your target audience? If they don’t fit into these categories then what benefit are they having to your campaign?

Twitter isn’t a numbers game, just because you have so many hundred people following you it doesn’t mean that your campaign is working. We would recommend being selective over those who you allow to follow you, if they don’t add a benefit to your campaign, if they aren’t part of your target audience then block them and concentrate on those users who really matter.

Twitter Profile:
One hundred and sixty characters may not seem like many to promote your business, but unfortunately that is all Twitter allows, so you need to make sure that the information you provide adequately sums up your business.

Some areas where businesses fall foul of “wasting” the 160 characters is by including their business name within the bio, this takes up vital characters and your Twitter username should already be that of your business.

A second “mistake” commonly made is mentioning where the business is based – Twitter has a location element as part of the profile, include this information there and free up some vital characters to really sell your business.

Next time you log on to Twitter, check your bio, have you fallen foul of these two traps? Have you got enough information that will entice and engage your audience? If not, have a play around with it until it works.

Twitter Design:
In coming weeks, we’ll look more closely at the Twitter design and how you can amend yours to make it fit with your business. But one step you can take to start with is the image being used.

Is yours your company logo? Is it big enough and clear enough? If the answer to any of these questions is no, have a play around with making it bigger until it fits and can be seen clearly on all screen sizes.

The idea behind Twitter is to share news, opinions and information in bite size information – which is why Twitter limits it to 140 characters, including links.

Next time you sit at your computer ready to tweet a new update, before you click the tweet button, re-read what you’ve wrote. Does it fit the following criteria:

1) It’s engaging / information / interesting
2) It makes sense grammatically and there aren’t any spelling mistake
3) Relevant links (if required) are included and shortened?
4) The full 140 characters HASN’T been used

The fourth point will no doubt catch many of you out, but we really do mean that it hasn’t used the full 140 characters; although we’re not saying this always has to be the case.

Our main reason for advising you not to you the full character limit is because if someone is to retweet your post (because they’ve found it engaging and informative and want to share it with their followers) then it is important that they can do so without any information being cut off – and leaving 10 characters here or there is likely to make all the difference.

A further snippet of advice we’d recommend, before you hit that tweet button is to re-read your tweet and see if you have taken advantage of the tools available, such as the hash-tag.

Using the hash-tag (sparingly) can help make your tweets more accessible as they will show up within Twitter searchers, who when users click the same word / phrase in another users tweet, helping you reach a wider audience.

Whatever you think or have found to be the right amount of time to spend on your social media marketing campaign per day, per week and per month, remember it doesn’t have to be spent updating your status all the time – and that it can be spent carrying out “house maintenance” which can be just as beneficial.

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