According to Harvard Business Review, untracked work hours are costing the US economy nearly 7.4 billion USD per day. Moreover, according to the American Payroll Association companies can save up to 2% of gross payroll costs every year by using time tracking.
The concept of time tracking is based on the very basic principle of keeping track of the amount of time your workforce spends on tasks. This basic principle has been converted into a complex technique that entails enlisting the major milestones to be achieved, identifying the people who are to achieve them, monitoring the time spent on each milestone and then using this information to attain information that is critical for businesses.
The information that is extracted from time tracking also forms the basis of employee remuneration and generation of invoices for vendors and customers. Moreover, this information is used to monitor project progress and the efficiency of the workforce. It also enables the identification of leakages both of time as well as money.
Though time tracking can be done manually using spreadsheets; there are several innovative time tracking applications in the market that allow for error and hassle-free time tracking, record maintenance, invoicing, employee remuneration as well as provision of business intelligence reports in the form of project progress, areas of improvement, money leakage, e–cost estimates for prospective customers and much more.
Ms. Adriana Saldana, Vice President, Fisher Vista, LLC. used time tracking to improve her company’s productivity and observed a staggering 85% increase in overall productivity. The most widely used time tracking applications include Minterapp, Harvest and Zoho.
Using Time Tracking To Boost Productivity of Social Media Campaigns
Time tracking can also allow marketers to make the most out of social media campaigns. Let’s have a close look at how this is so:
1. Require SMART Objectives
Time tracking requires thorough documentation and that is where it’s true ability to provide value for the business lies. Hence, marketers that use time tracking techniques or applications are required to identify a scope for their social media campaign.
Marketers need to decide what they wish to achieve out of their social media campaigns. A good approach here is to identify a campaign scope that is in line with your organization’s needs.
If your organization is about to launch a new product/ service, you need to go all out with a campaign that captivates your target customers, creates a hype for the upcoming product/ service, and then close to the launch, you should present the features and benefits of the upcoming product/ service so that people are prepared to buy it.
To look at another example, if your company is seeking to achieve , you need to devise a social media campaign aimed at pushing sales. Also read, Case Study: Kellogg’s Boosts Social Media Campaign ROI
Once the goal is clear, time tracking techniques as well as applications require marketers to identify SMART objectives or milestones that need to be accomplished in order to attain the aim of the campaign. Here, stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.
Anyone can post a couple of posts on Facebook and a few tweets on Twitter and call it a day, but does that guarantee a return on investment, definitely not!
Hence, in order to make your social media campaign more productive, it is necessary that marketers identify realistic, specific and attainable objectives. It is these objectives that will help you identify how much financial and human capital is required for the campaign.
To ensure that your time tracking mechanism or application offers you the highest possible value; make sure you write down these objectives using measurable terminologies and keep them time bound.
For instance, your objectives can include a 25% increase in followers on all platforms by the end of the quarter, 20% increase in user-generated content by year end and a 20% boost to overall sales within six months that resulted from social media initiatives.
The benefit of doing so is three-fold; firstly, you will give your application or spreadsheet a number to accurately gauge progress both at an individual as well as department level. Secondly, you will identify the amount of productive hours that are being put in and, thirdly, you will have figures that will help you draw precise charts and metrics intended to evaluate the efficiency of the campaign.
Tip: Set miniature check points; these will be small milestones that you know you must achieve along the way. Doing so will keep your campaign on track and your team assured that their efforts are paying off.
2. Give Financial Credibility and Security
Time tracking tactics and software empower marketers with the ability to accurately determine the amount of money that is being used by their campaign and for which specific tasks. They also allow them to promptly identify any undue or unnecessary outflow of money.
This is important since even a simple thing as time wastage can cause campaigns to lose money. A research conducted by Proudfoot Consulting, UK that studied 2,500 businesses over a span of 4 years and across 38 different countries found that wasted time costs businesses nearly per year.
It also empowers the finance department to make payments to employees as well as vendors with comfort. A key strength of time tracking is that it allows you to make financial transactions with the precision that conventional methods simply cannot.
Tip: Track time internally even for budgeted campaigns. Even if you have been allocated an approved budget; use time tracking for internal office processes as it may just enable you to achieve the set targets by spending less than your budget or achieve more within the allocated budget.
3. Effective Time Management
Social media marketers need to achieve certain time bound targets and time tracking applications and methods allow them to keep a constant track on the time that is going into attaining these targets. Inability to meet defined targets raises a red flag for marketers and they should quickly attempt to mitigate the cause(s) behind it.
Depending on the situation, marketers should either act swiftly to make amends to their initial deadlines and communicate them to their management or speed up their team’s efforts. An inability to achieve targets may also bring the suitability of the initiatives under question.
All of this is done much faster if proper time tracking mechanisms are in place.
Tip: Assess and discuss regularly. Generate weekly performance reports using your time tracking software and conduct weekly meetings with stakeholders so that there are no surprises.
4. Improved Internal Communication
Time tracking applications are, inherently, singular platforms that offer a comprehensive range of time tracking, invoicing and business intelligence features. They house the capability of providing all members of an organization logins allowing the entire organization to function cohesively.
These singular platforms enable social media marketers to constantly remain connected to their team members. Moreover, these applications are usually cloud based so team members can stay connected regardless of their physical whereabouts.
Constant communication between team members is of utmost importance specially since according to a article; 84% of surveyed employees believed that the top management did not share an adequate amount of information with them.
Tip: Use your time tracking application to identify and remedy performance lags. If you find a team member lagging behind in tasks; counsel and train him/ her in a timely fashion. This will enable seamless flow of your campaign whilst enhancing your team’s productivity.
5. Increased Employee Motivation and Focus
While pursuing social media initiatives; it is easy for employees to lose focus or be unaware of the effectiveness of their endeavors. Hence, time tracking mechanisms serve to keep employees focused as they have constant reminders about the targets that are to be attained.
Moreover, social media marketing is a demanding job. The reason for this is that what may seem like one post or tweet, is actually the product of hours and hours of research and compilation. Hence, there is nothing more important than to reward these hardworking employees with pays that commensurate their efforts. Research on employee engagement has found that only 1 in 4 employees feel motivated at work.
Moreover, according to a ; 29% employees stated that performing meaningful tasks was their primary motivator at work, 25% stated money and 17% stated recognition. Hence, the use of time tracking applications increases employee motivation by allowing them to feel that each task that they perform will be acknowledged, appreciated and rewarded. This is enabled via time tracking mechanisms and simplified by time tracking software as they are usually equipped with invoicing provisions.
All of this will lead to improved and more effective application of social media strategies that bring the best results.
Tip: Couple reward with recognition. In addition to rewarding hardworking and outperforming team members with monetary bonuses; appreciate their contributions and you will find that a few kind words go along way.
6. Provide Actionable Business Intelligence
Time tracking softwares empower social media marketers with actionable business intelligence including the amount of budget spent on one of the taken initiatives, the revenue generated by that particular initiative and the amount of useful man hours required to achieve it. Moreover, it is the precision of this information that elevates the significance of time tracking even more.
Time tracking is no longer an option but a necessity for social media marketers as it contains within it the capability to take your social media campaign leaps and bounds ahead of the rest.
Tip: Conduct a lesson learned session prior to the start of your social media campaign. Review reports generated by previous campaigns to identify what to do and what to avoid.
Following are some recommended time tracking applications:
Minterapp is designed to simplify time tracking and invoicing. It’s features include:
- Cloud based time tracking
- Integration with Basecamp.
- Automated invoice generation as per specified rates.
- Receipt of payments via secure payment options like Stripe, PayPal or Authorize.net.
- Generation of detailed reports and rate estimates.
- Unlimited user accounts for every Minterapp subscription.
How To Use Minterapp:
Minterapp can be used by integrating it with their Basecamp enabling the tracking of time at virtually any location. Minterapp can be used by following the steps below:
- 1. Create an account by submitting required information followed by account activation
- Link your account to Basecamp
- Select projects to be tracked and invoice and use your Basecamp Account to track time
How To Use Harvest:
Harvest can used to track time for various projects and extract invoices using the following steps.
- Create an account
- Create projects by entering details
- Use the ‘Add a New Task’ option and add default tasks such as billing option, hourly rate, etc.
- Use the Timesheet view to track time and convert these sheets into invoices
Zoho Projects offers time tracking, invoicing and reporting functionalities to enhance project efficiency.
How To Use Zoho Projects:
Zoho Projects can be used by following the steps mentioned below:
- Create an account by entering in required information
- Enter relevant information to proceed to Home Page
- Easily create projects, track time, create invoices and generate reports as well as estimates
These applications have proven their mettle in the industry over the past few years and have enhanced the productivity of social media campaigns for numerous companies.
About the author: Kamil Riaz Kara is a HR Professional and Inbound Marketer. He has completed his Masters in Administrative Science from the University of Karachi. As a writer, he wrote numerous articles on management, marketing, technology, lifestyle and health. Visit his company blog and check latest post on . Connect him on for more details.