For Social Media, More Isn’t Necessarily Better

July 28, 2011

This post is for everyone who has more than one blog or Twitter account — or is thinking about having more than one.

Are your online personalities competiting against one another?

After all, once you recognize the benefits of social media, it’s easy to get sucked into the more-is-better mindset. A Twitter account for your dog! Your business! Your book! A character in your book! Before you know it, you’ve got five handles to manage.

And you’re proud of those handles. You’re using social media to your advantage! You’re marketing! Building another platform!

But here’s the bad news: More is not necessarily better. If you’re really smart, you’ll find a way to combine those interests under one blog or handle. This doesn’t apply to all situations, but it applies to most. Before you dismiss your situation as an exception, read on.

What finally prompted me to write this post — though I’ve touched on the topic briefly before — was an awesome piece by my favorite social media thug Marian Schembari about how she failed at maintaining two Twitter accounts. Marian wrote:

I've said this before and for some reason I ignored my own advice. You are your own brand. Unless you're a news site or a blog with multiple authors, people come back because of YOU. Your voice, your stories. It's the same thing with Twitter. Just because you're a social media blog doesn't mean you can't tweet about the weather, your dog or that weird rash. In fact, you SHOULD tweet about your personal stuff. That's the whole point. Connecting.

I love how Marian uses herself as an example because it proves just how difficult it can be to stick to one account or one blog, even when you know that’s the best strategy.

I struggled with this when I started my own business a year ago. I didn’t want a separate website for Socialexis, but I was at a loss for how to weave it into The Traveling Writer. There was the logistical challenge of figuring out where on my website to put the name of my business. (I ended up with this page, and redirects there. Simple, but it does the job.)

But more than that, I couldn’t visualize how I would integrate content into this blog that would showcase my social media skills. Until then, I’d written mainly about publishing and writing and travel. Would my community want to read about social media? Would they lose interest if I added another seemingly unrelated log to the fire?

Turns out you did want to read about social media, at least enough of you that this blog continues to grow. In fact, my posts about social media have become some of my most popular entries. And a reader gave me such a great compliment recently when she wrote that while the diversity of my posts attracts different types of readers, the topics are interconnected. To me it felt like a struggle to weave it all together, but from the outside, the pieces complement one another nicely.

Why does it work? Because most of you come here for MY thoughts, MY insight, MY knowledge. Sure, you also like the topics I blog about. But if you only liked those topics, then posts on how I fell in love at a writer’s colony wouldn’t be popular. You come back because you know you’re going to get me. That’s my hope, anyhow.

Of course, the brand of YOU has to be valuable or entertaining, or it won’t catch on. It has to be relatable and personable. While the umbrella topic is you, while each post is infused with your voice, the content shouldn’t be all about you. Rather, the reader should feel like it’s written for or even about her.

Here’s why it makes sense to have only one blog or Twitter handle even if you have a variety of interests.

For one, you’re more interesting when you’re diverse. Penelope Trunk once wrote — or said, I can’t remember — that you’re most interesting when you blog on the fringes of your topic, rather than right in the middle of it. Because if you’re blogging in the bull’s eye of your topic, what you’re saying has probably already been said before, maybe a million times. Instead, blog around the fringes, blending that topic with other ideas, adding a personal story, your voice, whatever. Diversity makes you interesting.

Second, if you segment your audience, you’re essentially working against yourself (which is the mistake Marian said she made). Bring everyone to the same party, and you’ve got a much bigger, more effective platform. I’ve already built up a community here at The Traveling Writer, so why not use that to my advantage when it comes to my social media business, too?

Having fewer accounts also means less work for you, which means you can put more energy into that one account or blog, which means you’re more likely to succeed. And that’s what we’re going for at the end of the day: success. This is all part of making your own luck.

Now for an exception. I don’t even know why I’m telling you this, because it doesn’t help to prove my point. But I have two Twitter accounts: one personal and one for work. I do this because my company wants me to build our brand, but I also want to continue growing my personal account. And though I was nervous initially about this backfiring for all the reasons listed above, so far it works.

But that’s one exception. In most cases, you can combine everything under the umbrella of you. As Marian said, YOU are the brand. Your voice is the thread that holds everything together.

So dare to speak up, but whenever possible, keep that brand in one place.

Do you have two blogs? Two Twitter handles? Can you think of a way to merge them?

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    18 Replies to “For Social Media, More Isn’t Necessarily Better”

    • I couldn’t agree more!!! If you start to have more and more then you can’t devote 100% attention to each one.

    • Jane Roper says:

      Great piece. I am an author, mom blogger and freelance copywriter. I struggled for a while with the fact that my Tweets and Twitter conversations ended up being a hybrid of these parts of my identity, and wondered if I wasn’t “branding” myself clearly. But I ultimately came to the same conclusion you did: Look, this is who I am. I have lots of stuff going on, and that combination *is* me.

      I also recently started a Twitter feed as part of my novel, in conjunction with a specific book tie-in website. I found it was really hard to maintain in addition to my personal Twitter feed, and didn’t have enough added value to make it worthwhile. I’ve pretty much abandoned it. I definitely won’t do it again for future books.

    • I agree with you. I am a big Twitter user, and I love using social media channels to share information and advice, but when I wrote my book, I knew I wasn’t going to give it more than its own website in terms of a social media “persona.” A friend mentioned I should create a special Facebook page for it, but I knew it wouldn’t have anything different from the page I already maintain for Keppie Careers. Spreading ourselves too thin never helps the end result: demonstrating expertise/sharing insights and growing communities of connected people.

    • This post could not have come at a better time for me. I was seriously debating getting a second Twitter solely for the purpose of promoting my blog. My husband warned me against it and said that my Twitter account is perfectly fine the way it is.

      As for the multiple blogs, currently I have one up and running that I’ve had for a year now called Byron’s Curse, which is more my ramblings on different topics that pop into my head that day. I also have one called Open Eyes and Open Minds that is for religion awareness, which I have not touched in two months because it was not working out the way I want it to. And in August, I will have a third that is for writers and readers.

      I have made a schedule of sorts, to balance these out and will post on each blog twice a week, and take one day off to give my brain a break. I follow a few bloggers who have the same kind of set up and it really seems to work.

      So, I do think multiple blogs is more manageable than multiple social pages.

      This is a fantastic post and will be adding your blog to my blogroll.

    • Julia says:

      I completely agree. I started blogging and tweeting with the intent to blog only about “writing,” whatever that means. Since I am an expert only about one thing: me, I quickly decided that had to be the focus of the blog. Obviously I don’t write all about me, but that’s the common thread. I am my brand, as you say. Great post!

    • I agree that one Twitter and one blog are enough. I could easily have three of each – one for me personally, one for, and one for C. Hope Clark the suspense author. Three entirely different lives. But I’m one person. Who knows one persona pretty much knows the other two. I wouldn’t mind all my friends and FundsforWriters followers to buy my book. I wouldn’t mind all my readers knowing I love raising chickens and gardening. It’s all a connection, intertwined. And the knowledge opens conversations and links me with people. So far I haven’t even needed a separate FB page, and it seems to work well.

      Hope Clark

    • Yes! I love this post. You say everything so articulately. And, in fact, your comment on my blog has convinced me I need to combine the two blogs I have. Who cares of online marketing and NZ travel don’t really mesh in theory? They mesh in my life, so they’ll find a way to work together on my blog.

      Nicely said! You have smart brains 🙂

    • Donna says:

      First, I had to laugh because I had to choose which website to put up above. And, that means I needed to read this post. I spend a good portion of my day as the main social media person at my day job explaining to people why they don’t need to have their own Facebook page or Twitter account for their department, office, group or club because they main College account has more than 4,500 likes, etc., etc. But, here I am with several Twitter accounts and several blogs. I had the “random, fun blog” and then the professional blog where I covered topics related to eCommerce, social media, creative writing and, now, higher ed marketing. I decided to abandon the “daily dose o’ donna” blog and start focusing on building my online brand. I had already decided to combine several topics related to my professional interests, so that was a good stepping stone. But, my professional blog has also slipped to the way side… I’ve launched another unrelated project which has taken up a good portion of my time. But, this post spoke to me the most for this reason: A few years ago, I was on to something–I created a site called Social Media for Writers. I admit now, here in the open, that I made a mistake. I tried too hard to build that, with a separate blog, separate Twitter, separate email address, when all the while, I was ALREADY blogging and writing about social media elsewhere. I was spreading myself too thin and missed out on making an incredible splash when there was still a gap to fill. So, thank you for writing this post and reminding us all that sometimes multiple accounts can be OK, but we really need to think about our audience and the long-term goal of the endeavor at hand. I keep a separate Twitter account for the literary magazine because that has a brand of its own. But, anything else I do, I need to keep it as me. Even tools like TweetDeck won’t always save us time. Bravo. Good post.

    • I was going through your e-guide just last night when my husband and I had a discussion about this before going to bed. We decided that I would look more into this subject today, and here is this blog post!

      I already have a start on my blog/website/Twitter and I was wondering if I should “start over” with a new blog and everything for social media consulting. I went through the different thread of blog posts and I am beginning to lean towards just blending my current accounts with my future endeavors.

      Thanks for another helpful blog post. Perfect timing!

    • Natasha, I couldn’t agree more! I was having a mini-meltdown today, thinking I need to scape my blog and start from scratch, but I am seeing with this post and the comments that it’s okay to have everything under one umbrella as long as there are some logical connections. We are all widely different and have various interests, so there is no need to hide some of those. I also really liked the “write on the fringe” statement. In some ways, your blog is a conversation starter and shouldn’t be a full dissertation about a topic–I can see how some ideas should be saved for more in-depth articles and books!

    • Brittany says:

      Perfect to have found this today! I write a mommy blog and am starting a DIY blog. They really do not go together so I am totally happy to have two blogs but the idea of two twitter handles just does not sit right with me. I am thinking of changing my twitter handle to Brittany something that is available 🙂 and just tweeting as me for the blogs that I write. Of course, I will keep the twitter handle @mommywords and the other for my DIY blog because you do not want someone taking the handle that goes with your blog name. Just have it to keep others from taking your blog’s brand on twitter.

      My only concern is not being as easily identifiable subject wise with my name as my handle but I think that will all iron out.

      Thanks for a great post!

    • I am shutting down what used to be my personal Twitter handle. Too much work is a fact.

      At a minimum, readers should note that your arguments prove that we don’t NEED multiple accounts. Thanks again.

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