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Jessica MillerJanuary 6, 20124 min read

Find Time for Social Media: How To Map Out a Plan for the C-Suite

time for social mediaExecutives can no longer ignore the power of social media. The social media policy is in place, the communications department is managing a corporate brand, employees are active, and now it’s time for the C-suite to get active! 

The challenge for agencies and marketers has shifted from convincing your C-suite about the value of social media, to helping them find the time to make social media a natural part of the day. So many executives still “have trouble finding the time to tweet.”

This post breaks down the time commitments needed to set up and maintain social media profiles, assuming a low-to-moderate level of activity, based on our client experience to date. Encourage the upgrade from social media lurker to active conversationalist with a strategic approach and the following roadmap.

Present a Phased Approach

The world of social media can seem overwhelming to someone who barely has time to squeeze in a decent lunch break, so break down entrance into the social world into more digestible pieces:

1.  Foundational Activities: Includes the time needed to set up all accounts, monitoring tools, and alerts or notifications as needed.

Note: For the most efficient use of everyone’s time, make sure your executive has access to needed social networks and platforms before diving in. Then, carve a good chunk of time (1-2 hours) for a meeting where the executive and your agency/marketing lead can physically run through foundational activities and account setups together.

 2.  Daily Activities: Includes checking-in for alerts and mentions, and responding as necessary; checking an RSS feed—like Netvibes or Google Reader—for a pulse on industry news; gradually building connections; and posting or scheduling a few industry-related updates and interactions with corporate accounts.

3.  Weekly Activities: Includes posting company headlines or new content, article or blog comments, and answers to LinkedIn, Quora or Focus questions.

Prioritize Networks & Set Expectations on Time Investment

How active your executives would like to be, as well as the industry-fit, user base and potential return of each network, will help you focus social media activity. Offer consultation by prioritizing the following networks for your execs. Then help executives explore capabilities and opportunities of each.


May be one of the best opportunities for professional connections, especially for B2B. Executives can take advantage of the network by responding to invitations and messages, as well as identifying and participating in related group discussions, Q&A, and keeping an updated status.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 45-60 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 30-60 minutes/week (assumes answering one question per week, updating status when an article is relevant, and monitoring groups)


Drive inbound traffic and create online community with this network. Make sure that executives post a few tweets before following others, gradually follow others so the ratio moves up on scale, and participate in conversations with industry influencers. 

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 15 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 60 minutes/week (assumes sharing articles after reading/commenting, and low levels of engagement with priority follows)


If your brand has a page, make sure executives have a clean profile and are connected. Teach them how to use the network with a balanced professional and personal presence, mentioning other brands and industry articles, uploading pictures, etc.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 15 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 30 minutes/week


Encourage executives—especially those who contribute to a corporate blog, so you can connect a rel=author tag—to set up a G+ account and take advantage of the platform’s capabilities to follow conversations, impact search, upload content without limitations and more.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 15 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 30 minutes/week

Blog Commenting

Reading and responding to others’ blog posts is an effective strategy for connecting with target audiences, establishing thought leadership and increasing an organization’s visibility.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: Minimal
  • Ongoing Activity: 30-60 minutes/week (assumes commenting on 2-3 posts per week, and checking in on responses)

Curated Networks (think Scoop.It or Delicious)

Something executives may already be doing privately: saving relevant industry articles. If your executive is constantly reading the latest news, encourage him or her to go public with a stack or online magazine that can be linked to and shared with online communities.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 15 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 15-30 minutes/week (install plug-ins so adding reads to curation sites becomes a natural reaction with minimal time commitment)

Q&A Networks (think Quora or Focus)

Connect with business experts over decision-making information via online communities geared toward Q&A, research and being a resource of information. These networks are also great for positioning executives and their organizations as thought leaders.

  • Set-Up Time Needed: 15-30 minutes
  • Ongoing Activity: 15-30 minutes/week (assumes answering one question per week)

As Tim Gunn Says, Make It Work.

How much time do you spend on social media each month, and how much do you think your C-suite expects to spend? Setting realistic expectations up front can help turn what may seem like a daunting task into a manageable reality.

Share your thoughts or lessons learned in moving the C-suite to the social scene below. 

Jessica Donlon is a consultant at PR 20/20, a Cleveland-based inbound marketing agency and PR firm. Follow Jessica on Twitter: @jessicadonlon.

Stay updated: Subscribe to the PR 20/20 blogcheck us out on Facebook or follow the team on Twitter.


Jessica Miller

Jessica Miller is VP and managing director of PR 20/20, where she guides strategy and performance, and champions the ongoing pursuit of building a great marketing firm. For more than a decade, Jessica has built lasting partnerships that connect marketing strategy to bottom-line business outcomes. Jessica joined PR 20/20 in 2011 with global agency experience. She is a graduate of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University. Full bio.