Social media isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of service. There are different types of social media services that cater to different needs and accommodate various types of content. While some have overlap features, others are more specific in their use and the kind of services offered. As a brand or marketer, knowing the different types of social media is key to connecting with the right audience. It also influences the kind of content you use to connect with your audience.
Some social media platforms also have more active users daily and monthly than others. First, knowing what you want and the goals you hope to have through social media will help you in choosing the right type of social media platform. Also, engagement rates and means vary across all these platforms. To understand the types of social media, we must first understand what social media is in the first place.
Social media can be defined as any platform that allows you to share media such as pages, videos, or text in different formats. These platforms allow you to connect and communicate with people you know and even those you don’t know. Social media sites are now being used by businesses and marketers to reach a wider audience and sell their brands, products, and services. Marketers and business owners can now advertise products and services to many different people online to maximize the full potential of social media. The main factor that distinguishes the different types of social media is the type of content. So, with this, we will dive into the various types of social media.
What Is Social Media?
Social media facilitates the sharing of ideas and information through virtual networks. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and YouTube, social media covers a broad universe of apps and platforms that allow users to share content, interact online, and build communities. More than 4.7 billion people use social media, equal to roughly 60% of the world’s population.
Today, social media messaging apps and platforms are the most commonly used sites worldwide. In early 2023, 94.8% of users accessed chat and messaging apps and websites, followed closely by social platforms, at 94.6% of users. Search engine sites were next, with 81.8% of users accessing them.
What are the benefits of social media?
Social media provides several benefits, including the following:
- User visibility. Social platforms let people easily communicate and exchange ideas or content.
- Business and product marketing. These platforms enable businesses to quickly publicize their products and services to a broad audience. Businesses can also use social media to maintain a following and test new markets. In some cases, the content created on social media is the product.
- Audience building. Social media helps entrepreneurs and artists build an audience for their work. In some cases, social media has eliminated the need for a distributor, because anyone can upload their content and transact business online. For example, an amateur musician can post a song on Facebook, and get instant visibility among their network of friends, who in turn share it on their networks.
Types Of Social Media
Knowing the differences between types of social media and how users interact with them can help you engage more effectively with prospective customers. Here are some of the most popular types of social media:
1. Social networks
Social networking sites help people connect with each other and offer a multitude of ways for different brands to attract individuals. Users can share their thoughts, form groups based on their interests, curate content, upload photos and videos, and participate in group discussions.
You can reach wide and diverse audiences with advertisements and persuade influential people with the right targeting metrics. You can also build connections between your brand and those individuals, research user preferences, and monitor online conversations about your business.
Learning what people post about your brand on social networks can help you use that information to create a positive presence and boost brand awareness. Examples of social networking platforms:
2. Photo Sharing
Visual apps predominantly focus on sharing images. Photo-sharing apps originally focused solely on images, but most have expanded to include video and ephemeral content like Stories.
Instagram has become one of the strongest social media platforms for brands and advertising. It’s also popular with influencers.
3. Video sharing
Video content is one of the most captivating and engaging forms of content. Marketers and businesses have said that they have seen tremendous benefits in using videos. This form of content aids assimilation and understanding, hence why it is largely preferred by users. One major platform that reshaped how people interact with video content is YouTube. With over one billion active users monthly, the platform sometimes serves as a search engine for most users.
People often search for all kinds of things and find video content that answers their questions. As a business or brand, this kind of content can be used to engage with customers, promote a new product, answer questions, or shed light on features and packages. There are many ways businesses can benefit from such platforms. Aside from having a channel and putting out content, marketers can advertise on these platforms as well. Ads are placed in between videos and advertisements have said they have gotten higher click rates.
4. Discussion Forum
These channels take a community approach to asking questions or sharing ideas to stimulate discussion. These platforms are great for doing research and getting feedback.
Reddit is well known for its strong anti-advertising users, so brands should be cautious before trying to leverage for any self-promotion.
5. Bookmarking networks
Bookmarking networks are platforms where users save different ideas, articles, posts, and other content for later use. Many people also share links to lists of online resources. The purpose of these websites is to discover new content based on shared interests and to discuss trends.
You can use these networks to direct people to your website and engage with and influence their opinion by sharing your own content to bookmark. Examples of bookmarking networks:
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