How Many Social Networks Should I Be On For My Business?

by | Jan 21, 2022 | Marketing

You don’t own your audience on social media. If you are actively growing your audience on one social media platform, your next audience should almost always be an email list.

Jerry Potter, Five Minute Social Media

How many social networks should I be on for my business? Is there an echo in here? This is easily one of the most asked questions I hear and the short answer is probably fewer than you think. 


Now, when we first start on social media, we’ve got all of these amazing platforms and they’re all free. FREE I SAY! F-R-E-E ! So our instinct is generally to pop on all the platforms. 


The challenge with being on all the platforms though, is the fact that we are not factoring in our time. Our time is so valuable, even if you’re brand new and you’ve got a ton of time, it’s still important. One of the things that I have to remind myself – by saying “yes” to doing one thing, what am I saying “no” to doing? Time is the finite resource in our lives, we can’t make more time. We all have seven days in a week. It’s really important to factor in your time when you are trying to decide how many social networks you’re going to be on. 

What I’m about to tell you makes people mad. 

In fact, when I’ve spoken about this at conferences, I’ve had people come up afterward and say, I don’t care what you say. I’m not doing that.

In general, I think that if you are new on social media with your business, you should focus all your time on one social network. 

Close your eyes. Let’s pretend you had three plants and you wanted all three plants to grow and thrive, right? (These plants are of course your social networks but we’ll get to that in a second.) So you’ve got three plants. You want them all to grow and thrive. You KNOW that each plant requires a liter of water every single week. 


Unfortunately, in this scenario, water is a limited resource. You only have one liter of water for all three plants. What do you do? You take a liter of water and then you divide it among all three plants. Each plant gets a third of a liter of water. 


Well, what do you think happens after giving a plant only a third as much water as it needs? Yup, you wind-up with a plant death row on your windowsill and three dead cati. RIP.

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    You’ve got three social networks that you want to put your time into, so you take your limited resource (your time) and you divide it among all three social networks.

    None of the three social networks will grow and thrive and in a lot of cases, they’ll all die. The social media universe is littered with social media accounts that have been set up and then abandoned. 

    If you’re a solopreneur, you’re already running a business and now you’re also trying to grow on four to five social networks? It’s probably not going to work. Someone will always say, “Yeah, but I just use a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. And I just post the same thing to all the networks at once!” 

    A couple of things happen if you do that and it’s not pretty.

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    First, different social platforms favor different types of content. Each network does a certain thing really, really well (this is how they make money). For example, you wouldn’t post a video on TikTok without trending music, visual effects or hashtags because that’s what TikTok likes right now. 


    Let’s say you were going to buy a billboard on the side of the freeway and then you said, you know what? I’m going to also run some audio ads during my favorite podcast. But instead of creating an audio ad, you just recorded yourself, reading the text off your billboard. It would be hilarious but it would make zero sense to a podcast audience. This is what happens when you just put the same content everywhere. 


    Second, the way people consume different social networks is not the same. When we open Instagram, we have a different mindset than when we open Facebook. You really do want to serve things up for people in the best way possible on each platform.

    Now, the work around is to customize your content for each social network. In some cases it only takes you an extra 10 minutes to repurpose a post for Facebook that was originally going to be on Instagram.


    Maybe you’re only posting once a week and it takes you five extra minutes to post it in a good way on another platform like resizing the image, rearranging the caption, whatever the case may be. Well, even with five minutes, what’s going to do more good? Throwing a post up on Facebook or spending those five minutes outwardly engaging with your followers and other people so that they’re more likely to see your post when it actually goes up organically?


    Everything that we choose to do on social media (like what the rest of life) we are choosing not to do something else with that time. 


    If you were one of the best in your industry or market on TikTok or the best in your industry or market on LinkedIn or wherever it might be, or if you were just lost in a sea of a bunch of people and mediocre across four or five social media networks, you’re going to generate more revenue. You’re going to have more social proof. You’re going to have a bigger audience. It is more profitable to be the big dog on one social network, rather than mediocre across several.


    Jerry! Wait! Are we supposed to just be on one social network forever?!? Well, some businesses, yeah. That’s where they stop. Some businesses get more than enough business from being active on one social network and they go, cool, this is great. I’m not going to worry about all the others.

    Here is the big takeaway. If you are actively growing your audience on one social media platform, your next audience should almost always be (pause for drama) an email list. None of us own our audience on social networks. Think of Zuckerberg as Thanos – it just takes one snap to change your world. 


    For example, I have been lucky enough to have this amazing community of over a hundred thousand subscribers on YouTube. Well, my Five Minute Social Media YouTube account could get shut down tomorrow and I might not be able to get it back – even if I did nothing wrong. So you should be growing an email list (or a list of phone numbers) that you own.


    Remember, you can do this! I would challenge yourself to think about instead of going and creating this content for a second social media network, what if I put that same amount of time into making my content on the first network better or spent that same amount of time promoting myself in other places like as a guest on a podcast or chatting with people in Facebook groups.

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