How Many Social Media Sites Should Your Business Use?

by Mack Collier

I help businesses of all sizes learn how to better incorporate social media into their marketing efforts and grow their business and cultivate fans.  Perhaps the most common question I hear (especially from small businesses) is ‘How active should we be with social media?’

The problem is this:  Too often in this space, companies are told that they need to ‘be everywhere’ when it comes to social media.  They are told they need to keep and maintain a presence on every major social media site, plus any ‘emerging’ one.  Because you never know when today’s ‘shiny object’ will become tomorrow’s Facebook.

Ok so let’s say you are a small business that has 5 employees, and you can only have one of those employees devote 4 hours a week to social media.  If that one person is asked to spend those 4 hours a week maintaining 8 different social media sites as well as a blog, what type of results do you think they can expect?

The crappy kind.

The worst thing you can do as a business is to spread yourself too thin with social media.  If you are ON a social media site, your customers are expecting you to be there and be engaged there.  So my advice to businesses is to do less with social media, not more.  I would much rather see you only use 2 social media tools and use those two tools well, versus trying to use 10 different tools, and failing at all of them.

For reference, I use social media to help market and grow my marketing consulting business.  Almost all of my social media usage to that aim is reserved for just two tools:  This blog, and Twitter.  I’m not active on Instagram or Pinterest or really even Plus.  Why?  Cause I am one person and can’t be everywhere.

You can’t either.  If you want to decide if you should be using a social media tool, ask yourself two questions:

1 – Are my customers using this site?  If they aren’t, then you probably shouldn’t be either.  If they are, then ask yourself…

2 – Are my customers using this site to talk about my business and/or the products/services my business creates?  If they are, then you should probably be using that social media site/tool.  If not, then you probably shouldn’t be there.

That’s it.  And if it turns out that you can find 5 social media sites that fit this bill, then you need to prioritize the sites in order of importance for your business to use.  Then see how many of those 5 sites you can find time to maintain a valuable presence on.

But if you really want to use social media effectively, think about using fewer social media tools, not more.  Start out small, and nail that, then you can expand into using more social media tools if it makes business sense to do so.

So the next time your boss worries about using social media and thinks that they can’t afford to ‘be everywhere’, tell her I said its ok to start small.  The world will not end tomorrow if your business doesn’t launch an Instagram account today :)

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