How much time should it take to manage these social media accounts?
March 7, 2017 3:33 AM   Subscribe

I have recently been tasked with managing our museum's social media presence, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how much time I "should" be spending on it. Social media professionals, I would love your thoughts!

Our museum (which is within a university) has the following accounts which are used to promote the museum (A) and our unofficial mascot (B):
2 Facebook Pages (A is 2x per day, B is 1x per day)
2 Twitter accounts (A is 5x per day, B is 1x per day)
1 Instagram account (Mostly A- 1x per day)
Dormant: Tumblr, Pinterest (shut down), a 3rd Facebook page (not under our control . . . yet)
Wordpress Blog: I don't manage this, but I use it as a source of information.

I have spoken with social media experts at the university, and they say I can count shares and retweets to my per day number, but obviously we want to put out original stuff a lot. Fortunately, we have lots of cool collections and events to share, but it takes me longer to put together a nice post or tweet than to share something. I've got Hootsuite set up to manage the Twitter accounts but I haven't gone through the free training yet.

In your experience how many hours per day or week it would typically take 1 person to manage these accounts effectively? If there is a minimum and a maximum, that would great. I'm committed to learning about and managing our social media, but my boss and I know that my work plan needs to be realistic because managing social media is on top of full time work (and we know that something may need to come off my plate).
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (4 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on how timely your posts need to be -- I use Hootsuite and a rss/ combination to schedule out posts for the future, so I can sit down and do a massive posting session and schedule out a bunch of stuff for the future, so I don't need to be constantly on social media, but it looks like I am.

But, you can't just post things: for Facebook and Twitter, you need to share other people's things, and react to other people acting on your social media (a like for posting, etc.). So, what I do is aside from the scheduled posts I take a few minutes here and there to look at my feed -- I use Lists on twitter to help narrow things down -- and retweet or share things that fit those account's "themes". Also, if you want 'timely' posts, plan out a time of day when you're going to do a live tweet or facebook post, just to keep it from looking so scheduled out.

So, if it were me, I'd spend maybe 3-4 hours a week in a solid "postin' time" event to schedule out your "constant" media presence for the next week, and check in a few minutes several times daily to do reposts/shares/retweets.

Edit: on rereading, about lots of original content: twitter and facebook don't need to be complicated or in-depth, just a photo and brief comment; if you want to do in-depth posts, plan ahead or spread them out to a degree you know you can manage. You don't want to do four of them, post them for the next four days, then realize you won't have time to get the next four done.
posted by AzraelBrown at 4:54 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yeah this is one of those things that is going to depend a lot on your particular constraints. I agree with AzraelBrown's numbers but caution you about a few things:

1) What are your goals -- if you have set, inflexible goals like "increase audience by 10%, increase visits to site by X percent, get more event bookings" it will take more time than just "we need to have a presence and generally feel good about it" because in the latter case you don't have to problem-solve for your results, you just have to execute a content and customer service strategy.

2) What kind of content are you going to run? Pictures Of Things (which sounds ideal for a museum) is one of the easiest sources of original content, but pictures of events (photo waivers! lighting! getting to work at 7 am to capture 20 seconds of a yoga class!) is way harder, live video needs planning even if it's live, infographics are great but take time to develop, etc. etc. etc. (Donor events are among the trickiest because you have to have great photos of all the key donors, that they are okay with, with proper names and titles! Whee!)

2 a) When will you run out of content? I work in a stunning building that I could shoot for Instagram all day, but we have a national audience and their tolerance for pictures of neat details on windows is limited. So I need other content sources.

2 b) What kind of content is effective? Do you want a local audience? If so, you probably need to invest in developing good relationships with other organizations so you all signal boost each other. If you just want fuss, then Really Cool Stuff will travel, but it may travel to "people who love really cool stuff on the Internet 2,000 miles away" and not to "people who will buy tickets." Continually putting out pictures of vases to 14 likes when you have 8,000 ppl on your Facebook will kill your position on the newsfeed because the less people engage with your content, the less engaging Facebook will rate it and they will display it waaaaay down people's streams. This again relates to your goals - if you don't care about growing engagement rates but just about having a feed full of stuff, that's one strategy.

2 c) This is also why you need to interact with others. Which both doesn't take a lot of time, and then kind of does, depending on what they are posting when. Can you share other museum's things? Concerts? Galleries? Is a new age festival going to upset your donors/stakeholders if you mention it on your feed? (Prob not, but this is the kind of thing that Takes Time No One Planned For.)

3) What kind of approvals do you need? I have (rarely, but still) sometimes had to get 6 executive approvals on one post.

4) Customer service - you will have to do some. If you are already the person who does it, then it's probably not a huge add but if you have to figure out every question at least once (save your answers so you can copy and paste them later!) then that will be some time. What's your organization's policy on after-hours inquiries? Is anyone monitoring the feed if the question is 'help I'm locked in the 4th floor washroom' or 'I need to spend gobs of money on a last minute event can your event coordinator call me right now' at 6 pm Friday.

5) The biggest "win" in social media is when you get others to do your social media for you by creating events where your audience wants to share/post/send traffic your way. You may not care but if your organization is dead serious about getting on social media, your time may be well spent cultivating influencers and even, if there is budget, paying people who already have the audience you want to do some social media for you. But that is way different than "we post all our stuff on Facebook."

(My job is actually a lot more and right now our social media is killing me because we could do so much more, but I have developed okay boundaries...but just saying.)

Sorry for the brain dump but I hope some of this is helpful for you. Chart of hours:

Minimal decent posting: 5 hrs/week
Really good posting/interaction: about double that
Biggest time sucks: Content development if it has to be special, approvals, event coverage.

Best mantra: "The perfect is the enemy of the good."
posted by warriorqueen at 6:59 AM on March 7, 2017 [7 favorites]

Agreed with warriorqueen that 5-10 hours a week is an appropriate range -- likely more as you develop content strategies, figure out approval processes, etc.
posted by kylej at 9:48 AM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think the key with this is keeping things contained to a specific time each day. Probably 1 hour per day can be enough once you get things set up to flow efficiently, but try to pencil that into your schedule for a particular time and then MOVE ON when that time is up, rather than endlessly perfecting things, searching for the perfect wording, etc. I also think social media can really creep into everything if you don't contain it -- I do some Twitter posting with my job, and if I let it I can easily start with checking it 5 minutes here and there and suddenly it's eaten up hours of my day/brain space before I know it.

For example, can you carve out, say, 30 minutes on Mondays to take photos for the week to post to Instagram. Like, each week focuses on a different exhibit, and you post 5 photos from that exhibit (one per day), but you have them all set up and ready to go on Monday.

Or, have a set time that works with your workflow for reviewing the events calendar, noting anything happening in the next two weeks, and scheduling posts to remind folks 3 days in advance and then on the day of.

Basically think about the different types of posts you wish to do, and then think about scheduling a block of time to get all of that type of post ready, and then the rest of the week don't think about it.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:45 PM on March 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

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