I'm getting ready to a workshop later this week, I did a simple pre-workshop assessment, asking folks about their level of experience/comfort and their burning questions. I usually do this in a room with a quick poll, but I wanted to push myself to create the content based on their questions.
Here's a question I get all the time:
How much time and resources does it take to implement social media?
In my presentations, I use a slide from Nina Simon's blog post called "How Much Time Does It Take To Do Web2.0 In A Museum?" I've been thinking about remixing that slide so it matches the framework I set up for WeAreMedia tactical modules.
So, how can you quantify - as close as possible - the amount of time it takes to put social media in practice with good results? It's so hard and you could cop out with "It depends ..." It does take more time in the beginning if you're just acquiring the skill with a particular tool. As soon as you have the workflow in memory and have routine, it will take less time than when you first started. But, there's the whole issue of being efficient - and if you have super human getting things dones with social media skills, then it will take you less time.
Also, it isn't matter of less or more time - it is also how you manage your online time. Are you staying on task and getting the workflow done for each specific strategy? It has nothing to do with the tools, have you avoided getting distracted from your to do list or work flow or too much multi-tasking-- social media can be ADD producing.
Also, the categories have overlap in terms of tools. For example, you can use Twitter as both a listening tool and for participation. (And for spreading buzz for that matter). Also, I wanted to lay this out in a sequential manner -- obviously you're not going to stop listening once you begin sharing your story.
So, here's a stab with lots of caveats.
Let me define the categories for you.
Knowing what is being said online about your organization and the field you work in. You can listen with google alerts, technorati, twitter, and RSS readers. Key skill is pattern analysis. Link listening and analysis to decisions or actions. About 5 hours a week once you learn how to use the tools and make listening a daily habit. (5 hours per week)
Is joining the conversation with your audience. By making a human connection with people online, you can influence their perception of your brand and help them find meaningful, relevant ways to support your mission. Tools to help you participate are Twitter and Co-Comment. You can also participate vicariously through bloggers by encouraging them to write about your organization. (10 hours per week - also includes listening tasks as they go hand-in-hand)
Your raising your organizations profile and spreading awareness of your organization's programs or campaigns. What happens is that you share your message with enthusiastic supporters and they in turn may choose to pass it to others with a similar a interest in your organization or campaign. But first, you have to build trust, credibility and -- most importantly -- a relationship with those who might interact with your posted content. Buzz tools include FriendFeed, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Digg - and of course you add many others to this category that are found in other categories. I'd also include your individual social networking profile which can be a great way to spread buzz (or spread yourself too thin.) (10-15 hours per week - also includes some listening tasks)
Share Your Story:
You share the impact of your organization's programs through blogging, podcasting, sharing photos on Flickr, or YouTube or other video sharing site. Once you have content created through these methods, it can be easily shared using the buzz tools above through social networks. But even better is getting your constituents to share their stories about your organization with others (which takes more time because it is more in the community building area) (15-20 per week depending on the type of content, number of different ways you're creating it, and skill)
Community Building and Social Networking:
You build relationships online, nurture a community, engage people and inspire them to take an action, or raise money using social networks and apps. If you want to build an online community for knowledge or skill sharing, using social network tools like Ning or LinkedIN will help you get there. If you're looking to engage and inspire new supporters, setting up an organizational presence on one of the larger social networks like Facebook or MySpace is the best step. Finally, consider how you can mix in fundraising. Note, this step goes beyond just setting up your individual profile or creating a fan page or profile -- to get results in this category - it requires heavy lifting. I wouldn't advise an organization to start here ... (20 plus hours a week)
And of course, Einstein's theory of social media relativity. It takes a few months before you see results. People don't understand that -- you have to give it time. We're not talking about the immediate gratification of email blasts.
What's your best time estimate for investing in social media? How much time do you spend on these tools and tactics? Does equal with results?