How much time for Facebook, etc?

After I submitted my article for publication on social media to “Fundraising in NZ” there were a couple of areas I would have liked to cover in a lot of depth:

1. How much time does it take ?
2. Where do social networks fit beside more traditional online communication using websites and email?

I’ve since come across a couple of blog posts that attempt to answer these questions.

Beth Kanter has mashed up a useful table that simplifies the picture (see below). She suggests breaking your approach into stages: listening, participating, creating a buzz, sharing your story, and community building and social networking. To start with allow five hours to listen. If you want to run an online community, a minimum of 20 hours is required.

Diagram: How many hours per week does it take to use social media? Source: Beth's blog

Diagram: How many hours per week does it take to use social media? Source: Beth's blog

A caution, it can take several months for the effort to pay off. See Beth’s full post and discussion “How Much Time Does It Take To Do Social Media?” (1 October 2008).

Laura S. Quinn at Idealware says it’s important to for each organisation to think carefully about its unique audiences before diving into social networking.

The size and mission of the organization might come into play here – a larger organization that’s targeting internet-savvy audiences might find that it’s worthwhile to invest much more energy in online outreach, while just maintaining a website and email communications status quo. But a smaller organization might get better return on focusing first on creating a strong website and email infrastructure, before investing in finding new online friends (after all, it’s a good website and email strategy that will help keep your friends, after you find them).

With a $30,000 budget (oh, I wish) Laura would split it equally three ways:

  • 1/3rd upgrading and maintaining your website
  • 1/3rd crafting a solid email communications strategy and putting out solid communications
  • 1/3rd online outreach, creating things like viral movies or petitions, social network sites, etc.

Read more at “Prioritizing Websites vs. Email vs. Online Outreach”.

While not exactly definitive, these articles might help organisations thinking about diving into social networking.

BTW: Read my article “A toe in the water – using social networks for your cause”. This is republished courtesy of the publishers of “Fundraising in New Zealand’s”, Foresee Communications – specialists in fundraising and sponsorship.