Time Budgeting. Do You Really Need More Twitter Followers?

Your Social Media engagement needs a budget or you will go bankrupt on time.

It’s no coincidence that we see an endless stream of blog posts about how to get more twitter followers. About the sweet spot of tweeting 20 times per day to engage followers. That retweeting messages can increase your social media brand awareness by sharing. Having a goal of obtaining 50,000 followers is great. But have you asked yourself if you actually need that many?

Quality versus Quantity

Social Media engagement is about building relationships. It’s no different than the physical world.

Would you rather have 1 vehicle that you can depend on or 100 that rarely ever work? Social Media relationships are similar. I currently follow nearly 300 people on Twitter. How often do I see each of them update? Never. Maybe 50% of them utilize Twitter weekly. 20-30 of them daily. I engage as many of them as possible each week but it takes time. Social Media engagement is about building relationships. It’s no different than the physical world. Your Social Media engagement needs a budget or you will go bankrupt on time.

You have a core group of friends. A few stragglers you rarely see. A couple you may wonder why you are still friends with. What is your personal limit for friendships? How many can you maintain and still make them feel like a part of your group? It isn’t about the total number of them you have. It’s about the relationship you share. What you offer each other from a business, personal or shared perspective.

It reminds me of a scene from Big Bang Theory where Sheldon determines that since maintaining more than five friendships would be a “herculean” endeavor, he’ll have to let one of his 5 friends go. If you had a time budget for Social Media, what would your relationship limit be?

How many followers can you actively engage?

A larger number of followers on Twitter results in increased influence. But what if you can only actively, and consistently, engage 1% of them? Does that water down your influence? Does that make your Social Media brand less effective?

By default, one could argue that the act of posting your blog is engaging them on some level. But that would be like having a group of friends you only send newspaper clippings to when you get an article published. Sure, they me be happy for you. Share the clipping to other friends and mention you at the ckeckout counter but at some point they question if they are your friend or just someone you market to.

Do you have a time budget for Social Media? Have you engaged more than 50% of your followers in the last 30 days?

10 Comments

  1. MikeReplyAugust 10, 2010 at 10:53 am 

    I think something we all have to work out is what role social media plays in what we do. Engaging with depth and frequency might look different for someone doing B2B than someone selling a consumer project or selling their social media services. The pressure is to keep up with the Brogan's of the twitterverse, but a successful model for him might not be good fit for most people. The balancing act I've experienced is putting on overemphasis on social media and then backing off and focusing on adding value to my service. Then back and forth trying to get it right.

    ps, thanks for your good thinking, always enjoy your posts. keep up the good work.

  2. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 11, 2010 at 8:59 am 

    I agree Mike. It's hard to determine what a good budget is. Especially when your own goals and specific needs ebb and flow with time. I do think there should be a certain amount of time budgeted per week to network. Like an advertising campaign has a budget. This, of course, would be different than regular Twitter usage, conversations, etc. I'm constantly trying to find the proper happy medium for all of my work.

    Thanks for the kind words about my posts! Glad you enjoy them sir :)

  3. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm 

    I agree Mike. It’s hard to determine what a good budget is. Especially when your own goals and specific needs ebb and flow with time. I do think there should be a certain amount of time budgeted per week to network. Like an advertising campaign has a budget. This, of course, would be different than regular Twitter usage, conversations, etc. I’m constantly trying to find the proper happy medium for all of my work. nnThanks for the kind words about my posts! Glad you enjoy them sir :)

  4. AnonymousReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 6:08 pm 

    I think to some extent, Twitter followers are overrated. It all depends on why they are following. If you focus on providing relevant content, whatever the platform, people will find you and promote you. And most people are smart enough to know when a particular Twitterer (Twit? Tweeter?) is full of baloney and just using Twitter as another marketing tool, rather than the give and take and share that it should be. Good points you raised, Josh. :)

  5. Bryan BlissReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 9:42 pm 

    Time Budgeting seems like a good idea since one of the most common criticisms and problems with social media is how many people seem to think its a waste of their time and they don’t have time for it. It’s pretty likely that each persons definitions and desire for engaging varies quite abit.nMaybe the reason the Big bang theory made a sit-com episode out of the concept of a hard limited capacity for maintaining relationships is the inherent absurdity of accepting such a finite unwavering lmax.ntrue though there just HAS to be a limit, simply defining a metric almost goes against the very idea of social media being such a personal, diverse and democratic media environment.nWhile the environment is so rapidly expanding with so many different voices and messages limiting gross numbers in the name of engagement is kinda like restricting yourself to only listening to 3 bands so you can hear more music. Consider for example a movie buff who gets netflix, satellite, and now google tv out of a love of movies and then sets the filters to only play media including Meryl Streep. What would they miss and how would they even know?nWithout exploration, engagement on social media might as well just be an email instead of a post. nanyway, got me thinking.nMaybe ill go unfollow a few thousand people in the name of engagement today.

  6. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 10:01 pm 

    Exactly. Quality over quantity. 50,000 or beyond is a great number. It means you are doing something generally interesting. Otherwise they will simply unfollow you.

  7. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 10:08 pm 

    There is still a shocking number of people out there that want to ignore the effectiveness of Social Media as a whole simply because they “don’t have enough time”. That’s the basis for my thoughts. Finding the fine line between networking successfully and being overextended to the point of being unproductive in other business matters.nnEverything in our life has a budget. One of the things that causes the most problems is time budgeting. It’s something we are forever held captive by. 24 hours never changes in a general sense (scientifically I do realize it is not actually 24 hours).nnI’m not suggesting we should unfollow people we find value in following by any means. You can follow 100,000 people if you wish. Especially if you gain insight, knowledge or perspective even once from any of them. It all boils down to how much time we have. Like I mentioned above, finding the fine line between networking successfully and being overextended.nnI have Netflix, OnDemand and various other movie outlets. I rarely use them. Does that mean they aren’t useful? Not at all. It just means I am bankrupt on time with other priorities.nnLove your thoughts on this Bryan. Very insightful. Always enjoy hearing a counter argument!

  8. Bryan BlissReplyAugust 14, 2010 at 10:48 pm 

    Joshua,
    Thanks.
    your points are well taken, and without some framework of a plan, those people are probably correct too for ignoring social media because breadth over depth, quantity over quality, followers instead of friendships really IS a waste of their time.
    Its too easy and seductive to go for the lowest common metric of measuring just gross numbers, but that rarely translates into impact, memorable experience or profits.

    It’s not really a counter argument, because i agree with your premise.
    … just thinking in text, expanding on the concepts of engagement to include exploration/listening.

    Its not always readily apparent to the people I follow when Im influenced, inspired or educated by them, still its a form of engagement that our interaction, however silent and anonymous really did make a difference.
    Sometimes connections are made, lessons are learned, even virtual relationships formed ( or dashed) just by reading quietly alone.
    I pose: this too is one important element of “engagement”.
    Now, how can we measure or profit from THAT?
    Thanks and take care
    Bry

  9. Joshua GarityReplyAugust 15, 2010 at 3:24 am 

    Great thoughts here Bry. I hope everyone that reads the article reads your comments as well. Great expansion and via a different perspective.

    I would imagine that we could only measure profit from that by weighing it next to all other aspects of our daily life. Does one hour or reading a few blogs without engaging them, or your followers, benefit you? Absolutely. Does it benefit you more than reaching out to them and discussing it? That may fall closer to 50/50 depending on the person and subject.

    As with anything, it’s all from the eye of the beholder. :)

  10. Peggy FitzpatrickReplyMay 19, 2011 at 5:09 pm 

    ¬†Interesting post, we discussed this in person too! I ponder those same thoughts especially this one: “What is your personal limit for friendships?” I wonder what happens when you get more & more followers. Who is reading your tweets & what do they think?¬†

    I love the photo choice too, they are all applauding your post. :)

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