How much is too much social media?

As a small business owner or independent professional, are you spreading yourself too thin? With the proliferation of social networks these days, there’s a real danger that you are.

Being “omnipresent” has its benefits. Cross-linking between your spaces on different platforms may have a positive effect on your search engine visibility, and you may capture the attention of those parts of the audience you’re trying to reach in one place, but not another.

Then again, because it’s you who has to constantly provide content for all those places, how do you find the time to do it? Especially if you’re running a one-man operation or a small business, you are probably the person who will have to create that content. And as you know, it’s not a good idea to simply copy&paste the same content everywhere unless you want to alienate your followers by repeating yourself too frequently. And, frankly, there may come a time when you’re feeling you’re having too much social media to work.

I’ve been wrestling with this particular problem for some time. Let me give you an overview:

Blog

I’m running my “main” blog here on www.linkama.com. Yes, this very blog you’re reading now. I’m trying to focus on what I term as business issues: B2B marketing communications, social media in relation to B2B topics, transcreation of B2B marketing texts into other languages, and notes on life as a freelancer.

Another blog

I started Mixed bag of thoughts on Posterous as a place where I could more freely rant on all kinds of topics within my sphere of interest, pose questions, get technical and generally wonder about the ways of the (business) world.

Twitter

I’ve been on Twitter approximately two-and-a-half years now. It’s nice to be able to get recognition from people you’ve come to respect for their expertise and to bounce your ideas off people who are more knowledgeable than you. The truth is, though, that I’ve made a lot of friends, but zero business.

Facebook

Contrary to many other solo pros, I’m using Facebook mainly to keep in touch with my friends and acquaintances in Finland, myself living in Estonia. So my Facebook presence is not geared toward doing business, which is different from many other business owners I know.

Google Plus

I’ve had a personal account on Google+ from fairly early on, and now that business profiles were launched, I claimed my space there as well. Question: how to make the personal and the business account differ from each other in significant enough ways to justify the existence of both?

LinkedIn

Presence on LinkedIn, the one-and-only professional network (at least up until now), is more or less a given if you’re looking to connect with clients, potential partners and peers. So I’m there as well. Not participating as much as I should, and even to my own dismay, neglecting many of the groups I’m a member of for longer periods of time than I should.

I don’t even do pictures, podcasts or video, which would add at least three new platforms to the mix, and I’m already exhausted. Too much social media for me.

I know, social network presence is a lot like a shouting competition. If you don’t have a big enough voice in one place, it is logical to make even a little noise in many places. But what do your followers say (and how does it affect your search engine rankings) if people have to look for you in several different places? Your total traffic may be OK, but if it’s divided in many small pieces, you’re not really important anywhere.

What to do?

Maybe at least I should start taking my own medicine. I’ve long supported the idea that every person – and even more importantly, business – should have one central content repository. All the other outlets should work as pointers to this self-owned, self-controlled content.

Time for an experiment, it seems.

How do you feel about your social network presence? Too much social media or are you comfortable being everywhere?

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