How Long Should My Social Media Take To Work?

What Are The Social Media Results I Want To See?


How long should my social media take to work

What does ‘work’ mean to you and your business? Defining the measure of success is always step one. The associated goal that you are aiming for will alter the projected time to social media success. 

Let’s look at a few examples of social media objectives. Some individuals like to break it down by area of marketing funnel (awareness, consideration, decision, retention), others like to consider very specific key performance indicators (followers, link clicks, likes, etc.)

To identify your objective don’t get hung up on the small things quite yet. Just ask yourself; what do I want this social media channel to do? 

Some common responses might be; 

  • Sales
  • Website traffic
  • Following 
  • Spreading the word / awareness 
  • Keeping my audience informed 
  • Engagement 
  • Entertainment 
  • Brand reputation

Starting at the top level allows us to conduct a workback. The easiest example listed above is website traffic. Next, we map said goal to a measurable key performance indicator. Check your social media channels and see what data is being gathered. In this scenario, most social platforms have ‘link clicks’ or ‘clicks’ in general. On top of that we can utilize an external tool such as Google Analytics and it’s acquisition tracking to see which social media channels are driving website traffic. For an in-depth guide on how to set these goals up go here

How Long Should My Social Media Take To Work?

To complete the objective mapping process follow these steps:

  1. Ask yourself what you want your social efforts to do
  2. Check to see if your desire is measurable on the platforms you are using
    1. If not, can we add any additional tracking to make it possible (ie. sales can be tracked via Google Analytics conversions) 
  3. Create a consistent tool/area to track and monitor your effort to success per social media channel (we’ll want to break down the return on investment per channel later!)  

Realistic Expectations


Now that we’ve had you set objectives for yourself it’s time for a reality check. 

One of the most common mistakes we’ve witnessed is a business-to-business organization with a long buying process answer their objective with sales. 

A tech or marketing consulting company expecting social media to close a deal is equivalent to someone thinking they can sell a house without ever having the buyers come see the property, have it inspected, or do any research on the area. It just doesn’t fit with the typical process that customers go through. 

A lot of small business owners will have tunnel vision when it comes to the reality check. It’s critical we look through the eyes of the customer for this stage to be effective. 

Tip: If you really can’t identify the realistic value of social media, ask your customers!

To complete this stage, follow the below steps:

  1. What type of business are we?
    1. Business-to-business vs. Business-to-consumer?
  2. What industry are we in?
  3. What are our competitors using social media channels for? 
  4. How long does it take our customers to make a buying decision? 
  5. What role does our social media have in said buyer process?

Not sure where to start when it comes to which social media platforms make sense for you?

How Long Does Each Social Media Platform Take To Work?


The various social media platforms will differ in average length to succeed. Below we will break down the major social media platforms and how long each typically takes comparatively. For the purposes of this article we’ve narrowed it down to 5 popular social media platforms. Feel free to reach out to our team if you want to discuss any of the other channels! Additionally, if you aren’t sure about what to post on your social channels, check out our guide on a repeatable content strategy for social media.

These are the averages for how long your social media should take to work! Each has been estimated assuming 100% organic growth. 

How long does Instagram take to work?

Instagram can gain momentum very quickly if you have a strong fit of content to your audience. Anything that is visual or creative has the ability to reach a big audience and achieve great engagement. Typically speaking we recommend anywhere from 5-10 posts per week over a minimum of 6 months. Some have seen success much faster and others have to put in closer to 1.5 years of consistent work to see success on Instagram. Don’t forget about the objective of the Instagram specific channel when measuring time to succeed!

For a deeper dive of what you need to put into Instagram check out this article by a food blogger here

How long does Instagram take to work?

“It took me exactly 18 months, 654 posts… and HOURS of work”

How long does Facebook take to work?

A Facebook business page can take anywhere from 12 months to 24 months to become successful. Facebook really pushes for supplementing your business page with ads or sponsored posts to accelerate the process.

With over 2 billion monthly active users there’s a really good chance your audience is using Facebook, now it’s about standing out and providing value. Unlike Instagram, Facebook is used in very different ways. Some businesses utilize it for more informative content, others are very informal and keep things light. This variation is what creates the large range of average time to succeed. 

How long does Facebook take to work?

How long does Twitter take to work?

Twitter moves fast, do you? Because of the ability to engage with content as a business Twitter can see a quicker road to success. But don’t be fooled, this doesn’t mean it’s easier… It’s become an expectation that you post on Twitter multiple times a day, engage with your direct audience along with others. That means you keep your channel live, respond fast, and seek out other supplemental content posted by others. 

How long does Twitter take to work?

How long does YouTube take to work?

Being the second largest search engine in the world has its benefits. YouTube is an extremely powerful tool and doesn’t require as much momentum as some other social media platforms. A larger following certainly helps but valuable content is CRITICAL here. A lot of businesses are drawn to this channel because of my very first sentence but use it to share unappealing videos that get 100 views after two years. 

If you aren’t educating or entertaining your audience on this channel, you’re in trouble. If you do have a business model that can create this types of content consistently you should definitely be utilizing YouTube. One of the best parts of using YouTube is that a single high value video can really carry a channel. In order to create a long term, sustainable audience that converts it requires years of work. Most ‘YouTubers’ build there viewership over 5+ years. For the purposes of business focused timelines, an average of 6 months to 2 years can be used for YouTube. 

How long does YouTube take to work?

How long does LinkedIn take to work?

LinkedIn has created a surplus of opportunities for companies to supplement their pages. By tying in employee networks and job postings you can see a much quicker shift in momentum. Of course both if these items depend heavily on your company, its growth, and the employees that work for you. 

If you find yourself with a group of 10-20 extremely connected employees that are willing to help grow the page you can see some of the quickest growth out of all the social media pages. LinkedIn is filled with business oriented individuals that are willing to engage/support in exchange for the same. As always content is important, but one of our favourite use cases of LinkedIn is not just creating material for sales and marketing but also for branding and human resources. Utilizing the company page to benefit the entirety of the company. Thinking back to how employees and job postings can help growth, content that aligns with said areas make a whole lot of sense!

How long does LinkedIn take to work?

Average Time It Takes Social Media To Work

Channel Average Time To ‘Work’ Average Frequency
Instagram6 months – 18 monthsPosting approx 5-10 times per week (mix of pictures, stories, IGTV, etc.)
Facebook12 months – 24 monthsPosting 3-7 times per week 
Twitter4 months – 16 months Posting multiple times per day 
YouTube6 months – 2 yearsEducational or entertaining content is key, frequency less relevant
LinkedIn8 months – 16 months Variation based on company size, employee networks, etc.

Customize The Social Media Timeline To Your Business


From the above averages and your realistic objective mapping what can we expect? 

Is the variation from the average sooner or later? 

The above chart is of course based on averages, there are a surplus of activities and factors that may influence the time it takes for your social media to work. 

Understanding what may change the timelines can be extremely valuable. Below are a few things to consider when calculating “how long should my social media take to work?”

  1. Frequency variation – The basic rule of thumb is the more you post the quicker you can build a following. This doesn’t always work but in general if you can sustainably increase the amount of GOOD content you create then the quicker you should see results.
  2. Utilizing a previous following – If you already have a following on another channel or a personal account, it can be used to get over the initial hurdle of a new social media. A great example of this is a new LinkedIn company page being supplemented with personal shares or a Facebook page.
  3. Website traffic – Do you already have strong or consistent website traffic? If so, you may be able to push users to follow or engage with social content. “Stay updated via our Instagram and Facebook pages”
  4. Supporting activities – Each social media channel has supporting activities that you can use to speed up the process. Twitter you can engage with other brands content, Facebook you can join groups, etc. 
  5. Relying on other brands – Do you have friends or connections with other more grounded brands? People love to help, don’t be afraid to lean on your immediate network for shares.
  6. Content with a purpose – Does the content on each channel have a purpose that aligns with what my customers want? It sounds intuitive but is by far the hardest part of social media. If you can figure out what viewers want to see and can create a boat load of it then those averages won’t apply to you whatsoever. If you find yourself over the time ranges provided, it might be time to consider whether you’ve missed the mark on content.

Want to Accelerate The Process?


One of the most important things you can do if you want to accelerate the process of social media success is to track the key performance indicators of each platform and LEARN from it. 

This process is not easy, it’s time consuming and difficult to create meaningful content let alone learn from the data to make ongoing improvements. This is where we recommend leaning on a tool for assistance. Our favourite; Tactycs, completely removes the learning process and makes recommendations from the data for you. Not to mention it will help you identify which social media to use and how often to use them. Get true return on investment with proven social media success, check them out right here. 

Get true return on investment with proven social media success