Time Spent on Social Media Marketing … Is Going Up?

Alyssa Gregory

I was flipping through the 2010 Social Media Marketing Industry Report the other day, and saw some interesting statistics. The report was published in April by Michael Stelzner, who founded SocialMediaExaminer.com. The purpose of the report was to try to understand how marketers are using social media to grow and promote their businesses.

The report covers all kinds of data relevant to social media marketers, including the time commitment and benefits of social media marketing, the most popular social media tools, and some of the biggest questions people want answered.

It’s About Time

What stood out to me the most was the data provided around time. The report states that 76% of marketers are spending at least 4 hours each week on their social media marketing efforts. That alone is pretty telling although not surprising. But when you combine that statistic with this quote from the report, it makes an even bigger statement:

There is a direct relationship between how long marketers have been using social media and their weekly time commitment. For people just beginning with social media, the median weekly time commitment was one hour per week. However, for folks who have been doing this for a few months or longer, the median jumps to 10 hours per week.

That’s what caught my attention. I’m not surprised by the time put in, but by the fact that the time increases as experience with social media marketing increases. It’s not a case of learning how to use the tools, doing what you need to do, and getting out. People are learning how to use various social media tools, ramping up their experience and know-how, and then doing more. And spending more time doing it.

Why More Time?

I think there are a number of reasons why this is the case. First, our social media tools, namely the big three (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn), are constantly changing. So it simply takes longer when we need to familiarize ourselves with new functions, layouts and features every time we log in.

Second, there is a steep learning curve with these sites, and it’s entirely overwhelming when you first start out. Truly, I think it’s a case of only being able to do a hour or so at a time or you run the risk of your head exploding.

And finally, social media can be addictive. Once you hit your stride on the big three sites, it’s easy to become engaged and lose track of time. Add to that the fact that many business and professional users have seen significant benefits, so it becomes profitable to spent a good chunk, or even the majority, of your marketing time on social media marketing.

Of course, I’m speculating and don’t have any cold hard facts to back this up. But what do you think? Are there other reasons why more experience = more time?

You can download the entire report as a PDF from the Social Media Examiner site.

Image credit: Daino_16