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How Much Social Media Is Too Much?

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With social media use by business owners continuing to grow and the number of platforms exploding, entrepreneurs are asking themselves, How many social-media platforms should I use?

All things being equal, more is better than less. The more times social-media content is seen or heard, the greater the odds of converting a person into a customer. According to a 2012 study conducted by Market Force, a business intelligence company, 78 percent of consumers are influenced by posts by vendors when it comes to a purchasing decision.

Experts have advised that maintaining a presence on social media is not only necessary but should also involve multiple platforms. "The biggest mistake most businesses make is to only use one social media platform," a ReadyBuzz blog declared a couple years ago. "In most cases, they either choose Twitter or Facebook. The truth is, one just isn't enough."

Related: 5 New Social-Media Platforms Worth a Look

Entrepreneur Pilar Vargas, the creator of Princess P Jewelry, readily agrees. "The more reach you can have, the better," she said during my recent Money Talk interview with her. Vargas, whose Instagram followers exceed 450,000, has built her business exclusively through social media and encourages entrepreneurs to "do as much as you can."

Of course the experts also say that content should not be copied from one platform to the next but curated with each channel's nuances in mind.

"Each network offers a unique point of connection: Facebook's statuses, wall posts, and pictures make it "the yearbook of social networks,' while Twitter's short format, rapid fire, newsy posts make it the place to be in the know about the here and now, and LinkedIn takes professional networking to a whole new level," notes social media expert Cami Bird in a recent Constant Contact blog post. "Understanding the differences between these three networks will help you share content that will reach the right audience and help you achieve the full potential of social media marketing."

Developing content with each platform's nuances in mind makes sense. The better a company's social media content is aligned with the preferences of users, the greater their engagement with the business. But customizing content to fit each social media platform takes time, adding expense.

Related: The Web Is a Content War. Here's How to Win. (Infographic)

Whether it's a video, photo or anther form of media, the goodwill created by businesses via social media is derived from the value that users place on the content. Indeed content is the currency that's traded.

So, it seems to me, businesses with limited resources might be better off focusing on one or two social platforms so as to deliver valuable content without placing a strain on their operations.

Understanding the dilemma faced by business owners Social Media Today blogger Mark Evans warned at least one person to not spread resources too thin: "My reluctance to suggest a multi-pronged approach was mostly due to the lack of available resources. The last thing I wanted to see was the company blast out with several Twitter accounts, only to see its efforts fail due to poor content or a lack of activity and engagement."

Thus, business owners must determine the social-media platforms that will provide them the greatest return on their investment: the ones used by their target market. A company focused on serving the needs of other businesses or professionals could see LinkedIn as a good fit. An enterprise providing baked goods might find Pinterest appropriate. And a youth soccer academy could determine YouTube to be most beneficial.

While maintaining a presence on many social-media platforms is desirable, the strategy for a business should takes into account its resource limitations. Companies should ensure that their social-media strategy, regardless of the number of platforms, provides for meaningful engagement with a target audience by serving up content that will be viewed favorably and that adds value to the lives of users.

Yes, more is better than less -- but not at the expense of the business and its brand.

Related: 11 Unusual Social Media Tips to Drive Branding, Clicks and Conversions

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