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How Many Social Media Channels Is Too Many?

Posting on too many social media channels has some risks for a small business. The first is that you’ll get overloaded—after all, with hundreds of social media channels out there (check out this non-exhaustive list of social media sites), posting on all of them–not to mention monitoring and responding to comments–could easily eat up your entire day.

Even if you have a dedicated social media marketing person on staff, posting on every single social media channel really isn’t a good idea. Why? Well, trying to be active on every social media outlet that exists is kind of like trying to advertise in every print publication in the country, or run a commercial on every single TV show that airs. Think of social media as you would any type of marketing: The key to success is to go where your target customers are.

You can use social media demographics like those provided by Pew to see where your target customers are most likely to spend their time. You can also do customer surveys to ask your existing customers what social media channels they’re most active on. Last, and most important, you should study your social media analytics to see which social media channels are referring most of your website traffic. If you find that half of your website visitors come from Facebook, for instance, and that 10 percent of those end up buying something, then clearly Facebook is a very effective marketing channel for you. By the same token, if Instagram drives one person a month to your website, then it’s clearly not working and not worth your effort (at least at this time).

I say “at this time” because social media is constantly changing. What works for you today may not work in six months or two years. Don’t “set and forget” your approach to social media; keep an eye on your analytics and regularly assess which social media outlets to pay more (or less) attention to.

Three to five social networks is typically the maximum recommended by most social media experts. On the other hand, if one social network is really working for you, then that may be all you need.

Regularly reading websites like this one can keep you attuned when new social media channels spring up. Always take some time to check them out, even if you don’t immediately jump on them.

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Author information

Rieva Lesonsky

Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at [email protected], follow her on Google+ and, and visit her website,, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.