Centralizing your social media presences: tips and a warning

Social media can be a maze at times, with hundreds of services colliding to create an environment that confuses even the most tech-savvy marketer.

From Facebook to Twitter, all the way to services like Seesmic and Ning, marketing through social media can often seem like an endless quest to register even more profiles and fill in even more forms. And I even haven’t talked about Digg, FriendFeed, Delicious, Reddit and so many others yet.

Of course, when you spread your influence across multiple profiles, the workload quickly follows. Menial tasks dominate your social media marketing inventory, and even the simplest announcement becomes a two-hour job as you post it across multiple profiles, services, and platforms.

Centralizing your social media presence gives you a chance to cut down on work and increase your online influence, all at the same time.

While having hundreds of profiles might work for reaching every follower, most companies, individuals, and brands can get by perfectly well with just one or two social media outlets.

Pick the best platform and prioritize it:

If your business is tired of splitting social media efforts across multiple platforms, it’s time to take an audit of your social media results and eliminate the ineffective.

Measure which of your social media profiles are having the greatest effects for your bottom line, both in terms of follower/audience count and overall value. From there, eliminate all but the most valuable to you, and focus intensely on the few that remain.

Remember that you can’t be everywhere at the same time!

This allows you to minimize the fluff in your social media workload, all the while gaining greater focus and time for your big social media winners.

For most businesses, the major social media results-makers will be their Twitter and Facebook pages, with other social media profiles playing a mere complementary position. Slowly crop away excess social media presences until you’re only ever managing two, or possibly three profiles at once.

Use an all-in-one posting tool:

There are a variety of tools available that allow you to post to multiple social media profiles from a single interface. The most popular, StumbleUpon’s Su.pr, allows marketers to easily post to their Facebook page, Twitter profile, online community page, or any number of additional presences from a single page.

And Su.pr surely isn’t the only one.

While these tools aren’t great for connecting with followers and other social media users on a one-to-one level, they’re perfect for distributing messages across multiple platforms (however, read the warning below).

Before you invest in manual labor for your social media posts, take a look at these automation and conglomeration tools and see if the all-at-once post style is right for your marketing efforts.

Only ever use one profile for your business:

Social media platforms can be good for customer support, but when combined with PR and marketing it can cause confusion for users.

While support might find instant conversation, spreading business influence across multiple profiles can cause people to flock from your marketing-based platforms to your support users.

To keep your message centralized, only use one profile to spread marketing and business content.

Pick your brand name, register it, and own the content for its niche. A quick elimination of supporting profiles can increase influence for your ultra-valuable marketing presence, and boost audience response to your tweets, status updates, and posts.

However, do not spread the same messages everywhere.

For instance, sometimes I put a post of my blog on Delicious but most of the time I bookmark stuff I like and might need later on Delicious. By bookmarking it, I also share it with others that might be interested in it.

Use the social media tools as you should: each and everyone of them has their own purpose and different people that use them.

Don’t start spreading your content everywhere, share the content of others too. We’re not in push marketing here, we’re in community marketing, right?

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