Social Media Marketing’s Main Expense is Staff. How Do They Spend Their Time?

May 21, 2014

SMMU-Top-Areas-Social-Media-Time-Investment-May2014Social media marketing may be “free,” but there are of course associated costs, not to mention the opportunity costs of time invested in marketers’ social efforts. A recent survey from Social Media Marketing University (SMMU) indicates that staff compensation indeed is the largest expense for growing social media marketing budgets, representing almost half of expenditures. So what are social media marketing staff doing with their time?

Respondents to the survey – 70% of whom came from companies with 100 employees or less – were asked to identify the biggest investment of their time, with the largest share by far (60.1%) identifying content development, an unsurprising result. Another 1 in 10 respondents reported that actual posting of content is their biggest time investment. Beyond content, social media marketers were as likely to cite strategy development (11.6%) as their top time investment as they were to identify listening/monitoring (7.5%) and measurement (4.6%) combined. Only about 4% are spending most of their time responding to fans and followers, a fairly unexpected result, but nevertheless an area which could do with a little more time investment given these results. Although things have improved a little since then.)

As one might expect, marketers are spending more time overall with social media: almost three-quarters said the amount of time they’ve invested in social media has increased over the past year. That’s likely at least partly a result of their branching out into new platforms. Some 26% report managing 8 or more profiles, 3 times as many as are managing a single one (8.6%). According to a recent report from Social Media Examiner, 64% of social media marketers around the world spend at least 6 hours a week using social media, while almost 1 in 5 spend more than 20 hours per week.

Not surprisingly given the added time being spent on social, a majority of respondents to the SMMU survey report that their spending has increased. Here’s one reason why: slightly more than three-quarters feel that based on the results they’ve seen, social has been worth their time and money. That’s a more positive assessment than recently seen, although large companies have also given social’s ROI a thumbs up of late. Of course, measuring social’s ROI continues to be an obstacle…

About the Data: SMMU’s survey was conducted April 1-15 via Survey Gizmo. 1060 small business owners, social strategists, and C-Level executives were surveyed. Companies represented by number of employees: 1-5 (30.1%); 6-10 (10.4%); 11-50 (20.2%); 51-100 (9.2%); 101 or more (30.1%).

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