How long until I see results?

Good Afternoon, Social Rabbit here with your guide to the world of social media.

Social Media Examiner recently released their 2011 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (definitely worth a read people!).  There is lots and lots of great results in the report, however I want to focus on one aspect of social media, which I often get asked….

How long do I have to do this for before I see results?

First up what kind of results are we talking about?  It’s not just a LIKE or a RT, we are talking about results that affect your whole business.  Below are the results that the 3000 people surveyed found social media delivered for them….

Exposure is the number one result businesses have seen from social media, this is also called:

  • Your business standing out from the crowd
  • Increased brand awareness

Of those people who said that their social media usage had generated exposure for their business, this survey asked how long had they been using it for.  As you can see from this chart even those who were just getting started saw results, and of those who had been using it for 1+ years there was nearly 100% agreement!  The survey also found that small business (2-100 employees) owners were more likely to report greater exposure than other size businesses with 89.2% reporting benefits.

The report also looked at how many hours a week people were spending on social media to generate exposure.  You can see that even those who were only spending 1-5 hours a week were seeing results.  Once over 20 hours a week is spent it seems that for exposure it pretty much flattens off.
Depending on what your goal for using social media is, if it is just to generate exposure then you could probably get away with around 10 hours a week….



The other benefit I want to focus on is that of improved sales.  The reason is that it is VERY measureable.  The challenge in social media is that it is often not measured the same way as other marketing activity, but if you can see a direct correlation between your social media activity and sales that really helps to justify the hours.

In the first bar chart 72% of those who had been using social media for more than 3 years found that it improved sales.  As I’ve said before social media is NOT a silver bullet!

The second chart looks at how many hours a week people are putting in to get those improved sales.  Even if you only spend 1 to 5 hours a week there were still people who saw results – however they could also be those who have been doing it for more than 3 years!  But I think that the chart is trending upwards (apart from that blip at 31-35 hours), ie the more hours a week you spend on social media over a long period of time the more likely you are to see improved sales.

Again with improved sales it was self employed and small businesses who most achieved improved sales.  Probably because they understand it more, don’t have the big bucks to throw at it, and do it themselves rather than outsourcing to an agency who has little to no idea.

So what shall we do with this information now?

  1. First of all realize that social media requires patience. I will be the first to put up my hand and say that I am REALLY bad at waiting for results, I want it now.  But unfortunately it doesn’t work that way, the only way to fast track those results is to put more time in.
  2. Revisit how much time you are spending on social media in your business. Just messing about on Facebook seeing what your friends are up to is NOT productive time that you can say you are helping your business!
  3. Make sure that you have measurements in place to know that your activity is working.  For example if you are doing a special deal to customers produce a different coupon code for your Twitter followers than for your newsletter etc.  That way you can see if it is getting results.

So from the Rabbit who is still waiting on a Christmas present from a friend of “patience” how are you tracking?


  1. The hours invested in social media need to be valued. Based on this ‘cost’ compare how previous, more traditional marketing campaigns have performed.
    Include media placement and production.
    Over a 12 month period compare sales results.
    It is simplistic but it will give you a feel for your social media v traditional marketing campaigns.
    You could do a similar comparison for a sales person.
    The point is that these hours spent on social media marketing need to be counted and costed and then evaluated against increased.
    If you have any data like this I would love to see it

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