In the last post, I talked about building out your social engagement organically. I’ve started doing this for clients and wanted to make sure I got my thoughts down here. I don’t think tracking your time in social media is really just about the time you spend in the space. I also feel that the costs associated with that endeavor is also an important factor. As we know, social media is not free and when you add in real costs and the time factor, you are you looking at a rather large investment.
Tracking your time in social media is only one side to the equation. You can use different applications to track your time, which is important on a few levels. You want to make sure you are using your time wisely and effectively. Also, you want to make sure you are billing clients accordingly for all the time you are working on their account(s). The real major reason is you want to compare how your time is being used in the social media space compared to how your company use to do things.
If you are spending twice as long to reach goals in the social space and it’s been a 12 to 24 months since you started using social media, then you may need to rethink things. It could mean social media is not right for you company/industry; however, it could also mean that you are not on the right course for reaching your business goals. Tracking your time is key at the end of the day to make sure you’re using company resources effectively.
Once you’ve tracked your time, you can start to analyze the cost associated with that time. The simplest way to do this is to look at the hourly rate that each employee is spending in the space and what that would cost vs how you use to handle customer service department or increasing your brand awareness of your new product launch. It’s not going to be a perfect science and there is still lots of work we need to do in the social space in regards to analytics but still knowing what it’s costing you is key.
6 Cool Tools to Track Your Time
If you’re a freelancer, chances are you need to track your time in order to bill your clients. And that can be a major hassle.
You might also be a mobile freelancer, like me, who uses multiple computers and wants to be able to work from anywhere. In that case, a web-based time tracker might be the way to go. You want something easy to use, cheap, with a nice interface. Preferably even fun to use.
Whatever your needs, here are 6 of the coolest tools for tracking your time. Most of them aren’t free, but then the best tools often aren’t.
1. Toggl. Nice interface, simple to use, and there’s both a web version and now a downloadable version (Windows only). And it’s free. Nuff said.
2. Tick. Very slick interface. A simple web-based interface, easy to use (after configuration), and fast. Pretty much all you’re looking for.
3. Harvest. One of the nicest interfaces around, Harvest is definitely a professional package. It works well for teams, it has project estimates, some great reports, and as a web app it’s available from anywhere. Like most of these apps, it has a pricing plan from free to premium.
4. Cashboard. The interface isn’t as slick as the first three on this list, but it does have some very useful and detailed features that go beyond tracking time, including producing and tracking invoices, keeping track of accounts and clients, producing estimates, and more.
5. FreshBooks. A slightly older-looking interface, when compared to the first few items on this list, but it’s a basic product that definitely gets the job done. If integrates with invoicing software which is useful when you’re billing by the hour.
6. yaTimer. The only app on this list that’s not available for the web, yaTimer is a downloadable desktop app. It’s also probably the simplest of the apps on this list, doing simple time tracking and not much else. For those with basic needs, it’s perfect.
I admit that social media requires a new way of thinking. However, you still need to track your time and make sure you are making a profit at the end of the day. Otherwise, you may find yourself out of business before you know it. The c-suits are going to care about metrics, cost and how company resources are being used. You need to be prepared to answer those questions and take everything up a notch to impress them. I hope to write more about this as I get deeper involved with my clients.