How Much Time Should Food and Drink Brands Invest in Social Media.

How Much Time Should Food and Drink Brands Invest in Social Media.
September 28, 2016 John McCallum

Following on from understanding how much money you should invest in social media (which you can read here) we now want to address how much time you should invest.

Social media channels are still seen as being ‘low-cost’ by most users as well as brands. This remains largely true, especially when compared to traditional channels like radio, TV or print media. However, this is only the case if you don’t articulate the time spent on managing social channels in a monetary value. If you don’t do this you should.

If your food or drink brand has a large marketing department then this is usually well resourced. Trained, experienced teams use social media intelligently and effectively, in some cases helping to shape the channels themselves for the future.

But if your marketing department is under-resourced how much time should you invest in social media?

We don’t believe in outsourcing social media management. There are, of course, companies who specialise in this, and we’ve done it ourselves for clients in the past, however, we believe brands should do it themselves. That might not have been the answer you expected or hoped for, but it’s what experience has taught us.

Put simply no one knows your brand better than the people who work for it and in it. Social media isn’t just about broadcasting sales messages, however subtly we disguise them, it’s also about interaction and engagement, and brands do that better than even professional marketing businesses can.

So if finding the time is proving a problem for effective social media management you should consider the following.


  1. Pick your channels. You don’t need to be on every social media channel, pick the one, or ones, that are right for you and just focus on them. So, if you’re a business-to-business brand just use LinkedIn, if you’re a brand targeting main shoppers use Facebook, just targeting Millenials then consider Snapchat, and so on. You don’t need a presence everywhere, better to have a good presence on one channel than a poor one on many. I regularly read articles saying why brands need to be on this or that social media channel. Ignore them. If resources allow it then great, but if they don’t then you’ll do more damage than good.


  1. Have a strategy. I can’t emphasise how important this is. It’s not only vital for your business but it will make managing social media so much easier. No need for filler videos of kittens or whatever meme or gif is doing the rounds this week. Everything you say and do then flows from that strategy. You might need outside help creating this but it’s worth it.


  1. Lastly, you need to be available all the time but you don’t need to be on all the time. It’s okay for a brand to only post every now and then, ideally when they actually have something to say. Sure, the more you’ve got to say the better, but you don’t need to be on all the time, that’s a drain on resources and usually leads to poor quality posts too. What you do need to be though is available to answer customer questions. You can easily set up to an email or other alert then any mention or direct message is sent to you personally and so constant monitoring isn’t required. It’s important to understand the distinction between responding and creating.

If you follow these three steps you should be able to streamline your social media management and work out how much time you require to invest in social media.

You should always put a monetary value against that time so you can accurately measure its return on investment. If you are investing 10 hours a week on social media, multiply that by your hourly rate and measure it against how many people you reached, spoke to, engaged or directed to your sales team/shop/website/retail partners. Your business should have a metric on just how much each sale ‘costs’ so measure it against that if nothing else. Time is money and it’s often an unseen cost particularly for food and drink brands. All marketing needs to provide a return and measuring and understanding that return is essential.

If you have any questions or comments about this article please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Follow this link if you’d like to read our companion piece ‘How much money should food & drink companies invest in social media’.

social media time

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