For music, you’ve got Last.fm, Imeem, ccMixter, Jambase, Grooveshark, Virb, PureVolume, Amie St, FameCast, Buzznet… and then there are your photos on Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa… your videos on Youtube, blip.tv, muzu.tv, Vimeo… bookmarks and news on del.icio.us, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Digg… profiles on LinkedIn, Ning, Disqus, LiveJournal, Bebo, Hi5, Plaxo, Ma.gnolia, Yahoo Groups… not to mention Tumblr, Upcoming.org, Eventful, Posterous (I looooove Posterous), Pownce, Brightkite, Xanga, Jaiku, Friendster, FriendFeed, Diigo, Kwippy…
It’s actually all a bit much really. Just how social do you need to be?
An argument could be made that actually it’s important to be on most, if not all of these websites, and more besides. A slightly better argument could be made that it would be nice to occasionally make music and earn some money too.
But social media platforms are not just a necessary part of our lives these days, they’re an important way of connecting and communicating with our colleagues, customers, friends and audiences. Because actually, that’s what social networking means: connecting with other human beings. The technologies are just there to make it all a bit easier to do so. Honestly.
But because you’re in the kind of business that requires constant communication (particularly outwards, but listening helps too), it’s possible to feel a little bit overwhelmed and overworked by all of these things. Fortunately, there are a few services that should help you cope.
My top pick is AtomKeep. This is a service that allows you to build a profile on a single site, and then pump it out to as many of the platforms that you have accounts with. It’s really cool, clever and intuitive. As long as you can get over the creepy feeling that you’re giving all of your identifying information and passwords to a single organisation, they will save you lots of time and effort.
Then there’s Artist Data. These guys are even more finely tuned to what you do. You can upload your gigs, your recordings and information about your band – and they’ll push it to lots of music based media sites.
Sending updates to lots of different services simultaneously can be easy with Ping.fm – and Posterous will act as a shortcut if you want to alert a bunch of different sites and services with a single email.
But the simple fact is, there will have to be some decisions made about your social media strategy. A good place to start is to read the writing of Chris Brogan. Chris is certainly the high profile social media strategist du jour. He writes good, clear sensible stuff and it’s worth paying attention to.
But ultimately, you want your own social media strategy to be tailored to your people and your conversations. Who are your audiences? Where do they hang out online? How can you find them and connect them together? These are the questions you need to ask – and then you have to think about the law of diminishing returns.
If none of your people are using Bebo – then you might as well save yourself a bit of time and lay off Bebo. If you have a primarily Facebook crowd – then you probably want to be paying a bit of attention to communicating on Facebook.
It’s about customisation. if you’re going to be spending time on social networking – you want it to be time well spent.
So – what platforms do you use? Are they the right ones for you? How many is too many?