Posted January 6, 2012 4:53 pm by with 4 comments

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The average, large company in the US has 178 corporate-owned social media accounts.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Twitter has the highest number with an average of 39.2 accounts per company and Facebook is right in there with 29.9. Here’s the full layout from Altimeter’s new report: “A Strategy for Managing Social Media Proliferation.”

Companies create multiple accounts to split out brands or for a specific marketing campaign and since hosting the accounts is free, why not? Here’s why not.

1. You’re throwing spaghetti at the wall.

The concept here is, if you throw enough spaghetti at the wall, eventually, some of it will stick. Since you don’t know which strands will hang on, you keep on throwing, everything you’ve got, and you hope for the best.

Altimeter reports that 70% of those surveyed said social media accounts meet their business objectives. Only 43% said they had a social media strategy designed to meet those goals.

Stop throwing and start analyzing. Look at your data. What are people responding to? What posts are people sharing? Which links got the most clicks. Use this data to make a plan and set goals. Even if you don’t know how you’ll get there, at least you’ll have an end point in mind.

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2. One hand doesn’t know what the other hand is doing

In social media, there is nothing worse than an uncoordinated attack. All parts of social media should work together, but in a large company, that’s not always the case. If marketing updates the Facebook page with an important post, but doesn’t share it with the girl in PR who updates the Twitter, that’s no good.

The Facebook page should remind people about the live Tweet session tomorrow. Twitter should share a link to the Facebook contest, and the blog should have a Twitter feed running in the sidebar.

It’s a lot of work to run multiple accounts, don’t make it worse by leaving team members out of the loop.

3. You’re cluttering up the internet.

This is my biggest pet peeve and yet, I too am guilty. You make an account, it doesn’t work out or you get overwhelmed with other things and you let it go. Stagnant. Untouched for months at a time. Trouble is, it’s still out there and people can still find it.

An abandoned Facebook page can make it seem as if a company has gone out of business. What’s worse is a page overrun with inappropriate comments or spam links. If you can’t monitor it, you need to shut it down or at least turn off the ability to leave comments.

Don’t leave old accounts online unless you have a very good reason. If you must, leave a post stating that the account is no longer active with a link to an account that is.

Internet clutter is everyone’s problem. If we all pitched in and cleaned up after ourselves, the World Wide Web would be a much better, more profitable place.


  • Wow. That much accounts. And still no real engagement with the community. What were they thinking?

  • Oops, I think I may have a added few dormant accounts in my time; I believe you’re right and we should look at cleaning up this social media clutter. But the thing is when a new social site comes along most people think, hey this could be the new best thing so I’d better stake my claim, and when it isn’t…

  • In some cases it makes sense to have multiple social accounts, for example a large corporation could justify having an account for each department since each would serve a different target audience. Generally, though, it’s not a good idea to set up too many accounts or have one for every campaign that you run. It just becomes too much to handle after awhile and an inactive account is unprofessional looking.

  • Katie Peet

    Wow, I feel stressed on behalf of the people trying to manage all of those accounts! And if that is the average, imagine the challenge faced by the people at the higher end of the spectrum. For this report, what is the size of the “average large company”?