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Deciding when to expand your social portfolio

3 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in SmartBrief on Social Media — tracks feedback from leading marketers about social-media practices and issues.

Last week’s poll question: How do you expect your company’s social-media presence to change during the next year?

  • We’ll expand our presence to include a larger number of social networks — 38.35%
  • We’ll be using the exact same networks we’re using now —  27.07%
  • We don’t know — 18.80%
  • We’ll be using a different mix of social networks, but our total number of networks won’t change — 11.28%
  • We’ll contract our presence to a smaller number of social networks — 3.01%
  • We plan to exit the social-media space during the next year —  1.50%

More than 75%  of 135 SmartBrief on Social Media readers say the plan to either maintain or increase the number of social networks they’re using over the next year. At the same time, fewer than 5% say they’re going to reduce the number of networks they use or even quit using social tools.

At first glance, these results sound like a real vote of confidence in the long-term future of social media — and yes, anything over three months counts as “long-term” when you’re talking about the Internet.

But I hope that the 38% of readers who said they plan to increase the number of social networks they use during the next year are looking to increase for the right reasons. If you see your customers are using a platform you aren’t on, that’s a reason to add a network. If you think members of a given network would respond positively to your brand, that’s a good reason to sign up. Even just wanting to be part of a conversation that’s relevant to what your company does can make a lot of sense.

But you shouldn’t join a network just because it has good buzz right now, or because you want to visible in every space. The truth is that a deeper, more engaged presence on a few networks is going to trump a placeholder presence on dozens of networks every time. A smaller number of networks is also going to be easier to scale as you become more popular. If you’re spreading your social operations too thin, you’re just making it harder to see a real return on your investment.

So if you’re among the people who said they’re staying put or even shrinking in the next 12 months, don’t be ashamed of it. Sound off in the comments and let us know how you’re planning to focus your social-media strategy over the next year and see some real results.