One complaint that many entrepreneurs have when it comes to social media marketing is the amount of time this form of marketing requires, time that could be used on other tasks that are critical to the day-to-day running of a business. But how much time are we really talking about?

According to 2017 statistics provided by Statista, 33 percent of those surveyed admitted to spending 1 to 5 hours per week on their social media presence. Another 23 percent revealed that they spent as many as 10 hours weekly on these tasks, which equates to 520 hours per year.

Growing social media presence

Just imagine what you could do if you were able to put this time back into your schedule! Well, you can. How? By creating a process that enables you to effectively grow your social media following without having to spend your entire day on these types of platforms. Here are three steps to get you started.

Step 1: Identify Your Current Social Media Habits

How much time do you currently spend on social media marketing? If you’re unsure, it’s possible that you’re spending more than you’d like and don’t even realize it. Even if you know it’s too much, figuring out the exact amount tells you how much time you have to shave off your current habits to get where you want to be timewise.

Because it can be difficult to remember to log your social media usage each and every time you jump online, it helps to use online programs like Rescue Time. This time-management app runs in the background and tracks how much time you spend on various sites, giving you a better idea of how big an issue this is for you personally.

Rescue Time screenshot

Step 2: Set Social Media Goals (a.k.a. Time Limits)

Have you ever sat down to look at your social media accounts “for just a minute,” only to still be sitting there an hour or two later? If you have, you’re not alone because many of us have been in that same position more times than we can count.

However, to keep this type of situation from happening in the future, it helps to set limits on how much time you’ll spend on social media marketing. This encourages you to get in, do your work, and get out, limiting the likelihood that you’ll be sidetracked by your personal social media accounts while on company time.

And if you simply cannot trust yourself, there are also online programs that will limit your social media time for you. One is Minutes Please. Simply input the URL and the amount of time you want to spend there and it will send you a popup when your time is up.

Minutes Please screenshot

Step 3: Automate the Social Media Process

In business, we’re often taught to automate as many processes as we can. This enables us to take care of some of our company’s regular obligations without having to constantly give up our time. Social media marketing is no exception.

The more you can automate your social media growth, the more time you can spend on other areas of your business. One way to do this is to use social media automation services. For instance, if you want to grow your Twitter following, you can use Narrow, a Twitter interaction service that uses a variety of tools designed to attract users to your business’s profile.

Narrow app screenshot

Conclusion

Because it’s super easy to spend too much time social media marketing, these three steps can help. By knowing where you stand, setting goals for where you want to be timewise, and automating the process as much as possible, you’re able to grow your social media following…without spending your entire day online.

Social media automation