This question can go in two directions.
First, how many different social media spaces should you be in? The answer, assuming that you are asking from the point of view of business, requires that you do a little research first. You need the answers to two questions:
- Which social spaces are the best ones for engaging your particular customers and potential customers?
- At these spaces, can you have a static profile without looking lame, or not?
At Spoke, you can just fill out your profile and then ignore it. At Twitter, an account with a couple of tweets is worse than having none. For all the social channels you’re considering, figure out which group they fall into. Set up profiles at all the places where there’s no harm in having a profile which doesn’t get updated.
Now you have to decide: for those social media channels which require participation, how many should you join? If you are — or have on your staff — someone with unlimited time for social media, you can join them all. If not, you should focus on one or two and actually participate.
The second question is: given a single social channel, should you have separate accounts for your business and personal selves, or put them together? Should you have one account for the company, or multiple accounts?
Having multiple accounts for different people at the company has the advantage of giving you multiple points of connection for the company. We know that, for Haden Interactive, our team members all have different spheres of influence and different groups of followers and friends. For us, this means that separate channels let us meet more people.
However, having a single company-specific account lets you have an official account that provides the official position for your company, a neutral and impersonal channel. There’s less risk this way — staff turnover, varying approaches to social media, and just one wet T-shirt contest can all affect a company’s online presence when you have lots of people representing you.
None of our people will be showing up at a wet T-shirt contest any time soon, and we’re not pretending to be a large corporate entity. We have clients who are corporate entities, though, and we see the value for them in having a single corporate persona — as well as the value in having a couple hundred faces representing them to the world.
As Rosie says in this week’s SEO Tip video, you should probably do what you’re most comfortable with. Just remember that what happens on the internet — stays on the internet. It’s better to build your social media presence gradually than to jump in and make mistakes you’ll then spend months or years trying to clean up.