How to Allocate Your Time Managing Social Media

Just because social media never sleeps doesn’t mean that social media managers don’t have to. In fact, there are probably some overworked community managers out there now that could use some rest.

Just because social media never sleeps doesn’t mean that social media managers don’t have to. In fact, there are probably some overworked community managers out there now that could use some rest. In order to free up the time to catch some shuteye, you’ll need to know how to effectively spend your time on social media marketing. That’s where this post can help.

How Much Time Should You Spend On Social?

This is the first question that you need to ask yourself: How much time should I spend on social media marketing every week?

A recent study conducted by Social Media Examiner asked 3,720 marketers how much time they allocate to social media marketing every week. The entire report is worth reading, but here is an overview of how much time marketers spend on social media marketing each week.


The truth is, there’s no exact formula for deciding how much time to spend on your own social efforts. Large corporations can have multiple social media managers working around the clock, and smaller shops may only dedicate a few hours to social every week. It’s all a matter of testing to see what works for you.

No matter how much time you decide to spend on social, you need to determine how to allocate your time to make sure that you’re working as efficiently as possible. The schedule we’ve drawn out in this post describes how one of Sprout Social’s social media managers handles their workload, so it won’t be a perfect fit for everyone. It should, however, give you a loose structure to base your own schedule on.


35 Percent of Time for Engaging with Customers

Social media is a powerful tool, but one of the most important uses of social networks for business is to engage with their current and prospective customers. The engagement portion of your schedule can be split into two different initiatives.

Responding to inbound messages: A study by Sprout Social found that five out of six messages sent to brands on social that require response go completely unanswered. Ignoring your customers on social channels is similar to letting your office phone ring off the hook, except that on social media, it is much more public.


Imagine all of the potential customers who visit your page and see that you completely ignore your current customers. They aren’t going to want to do business with a company that doesn’t care about its clientele. That’s why you should allocate proper time to make sure you answer all of your messages.

Looking for new opportunities: After you’ve taken the time to catch up with your inbound messages, you can spend the rest of this allotted time trying to find new customers to engage with and conversations to join. Try using a social media monitoring tool to continuously look for keywords that indicate that someone is looking for a product or service you provide, and then join that conversation.

25 Percent of Time for Researching and Planning Strategy

Some people assume that social media marketing is simple; but it really isn’t. Social media managers have to keep up the incredibly dynamic social networks while also planning for upcoming campaigns.

Researching: In order to effectively leverage all the networks and capabilities at your disposal, you’ll need to do a good amount of research. Do you know what Meerkat is? Have you heard of the newest Facebook algorithm update and its effect on organic reach? If you don’t, chances are you aren’t spending enough time researching the social networks.

Strategizing: Real-time social media marketing can be a powerful tool when done well, but most social media campaigns take time to strategize. You have to think through your goals, effective channels to employ, what type of content to create and much more. That’s why you should take time to build a unique strategy for each social media campaign.

20 Percent of Time for Creating and Curating Content

There’s not much of a point in creating a large social presence if you’re not going to post anything for your followers. You should spend 20 percent of your time coming up with or sourcing content that keeps your audience engaged.

Creating content: This includes all of the original content you create for your brand: tweets, Facebook Posts, blog posts, unique images, etc. These should take more time to create, since recovering from a bad social media post is no easy task.

Sourcing content: It’s not a great idea to post nothing but your own content. Not only will people likely get tired of reading nothing but self-promotional content, but the social networks themselves will get sick of it. Some networks, like Facebook, will reduce the organic reach of posts they deem “overly promotional page posts.” In order to avoid those penalties, you should consider posting more content from different sources.

These are a few great tools available for social media marketers that want to help streamline the content sourcing process:

  • Buzzsumo is a tool with amazing functionality for finding new, popular articles to share on social media. For example, you can type in “social media news” and it returns the most socially shared social media news based on your selected time frame.
  • Flipboard is a free tool that aggregates news articles based on your personal interests. You can subscribe to some of the topics that are relevant to your industry and Flipboard will pull in articles that could make great content for your followers.

10 Percent of Time for Team Collaboration

Social media shouldn’t live within a silo in your company. It’s a platform that many other departments can benefit from. Whether it’s the sales team reaching new clients on Facebook, or customer service responding to inquiries on Twitter, social media is now a team effort.

Make sure to delegate some of your time to discuss the possible benefits social can have on their daily work flow, and then moving forward, you can discuss campaigns that could prove helpful for both parties.

10 Percent of Time for Analytics

It’s important to constantly analyze your past performance to see what works, and then you can use that knowledge to inform your social media strategy moving forward. Pull and study all of your data, then consider some important questions:

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

Sprout Social has social media analytics features that can make this part of the process easier.

10 Percent of Time for Relaxation

This breaks the 100 percent mark, but it’s something extremely important for marketers maxing out their time on social media. Social media can get to be very overwhelming, and “social media burnout” can be a very real thing.

Michael Patterson is a digital marketing specialist at Sprout Social, a social media management platform for business.

Image of man with six hands courtesy of Shutterstock.