Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you ask a room full of small businesses why they don’t use social media, the first (and loudest) answer you’ll hear will always be: “We don’t have the time!”

Now, there are two ways to answer this statement.

The first is by providing practical tips on how to save time when using social media. See this blog post on 3 Social Media Time-Saving Tips for Business for a particularly helpful example. The aim is, of course, to streamline the process as much as possible and ensure that you aren’t typing out tweets on your PC whilst rushing to meet a client deadline, or thinking up Facebook posts while dashing to pick the kids up from school. Practical tips include using schedulers, such as Hootsuite or MarketMeSuite, adding your RSS feed to your Twitter app, so you can auto-tweet your blog posts, or simply planning more content in advance.

This approach is very sensible and, frankly, essential if you’re planning to scale your social media usage. The second answer is somewhat simpler.

When a small business owner tells me they don’t have the time for social media I ask: “What is the value of social media to your business”? If they reply that they’ve tested it over a period of months, having developed a solid strategy and invested sufficient time and a small advertising budget (see our thoughts on Facebook ads) and have calculated that their time is better spent elsewhere – I shake their hand and commend them on their business acumen.

If, however, they tell me they haven’t done all these things, I’m inclined to suggest that they don’t yet know if they haven’t got the time for social. Put simply, if a marketing activity is delivering results, the smart business-person will find the time and resources to invest into it. If it isn’t, you’d be foolish to keep spending time on it.

The solution is to run a pilot project and measure the outcome. Until you have the time and resources to do that properly, you might be better not spending your valuable time on social media. On the other hand, if you don’t, you might be missing out on a terrific opportunity. It’s a tough question, but in my opinion it’s the one you really need to be asking.

Have any social media questions we didn’t cover? Ask us in the comments!