It goes without saying that social media dominates the internet. Mainstream platforms like Facebook and Instagram collectively have billions of users across the world. However, many marketers solely focus on the largest platforms when seeking marketing opportunities instead of prioritising the sites that best suit their goals and values. There are several different types of social media that exist, even if they do have a considerably smaller number of users in comparison to bigger sites. For this reason, businesses everywhere should be aware of the types of social media platforms that exist in order to market their products and services in the best ways.
Let’s take a look at the types of social media that every marketer needs to know.
10 different types of social media
1. Social networking sites
Social networking is arguably the most popular type of social media today. Social media platforms allow users to connect with each other. Whether it’s to find common interests or to network with professionals within their niche, social media is a quick and efficient way to communicate with anyone in the world. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, all share many things in common — they encourage their users to post content, directly connect with other users, and create their own communities.
How they can benefit marketers: Social networking sites are essential marketing tools for any business. They help people and brands to connect online and exchange vital information. These platforms are also ideal for increasing visibility and sales in products and services.
2. Media sharing networks
Media sharing networks are primarily used to share photos, videos and other types of media online. Given that the majority of social media users prefer visual aids to text, sites like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are among the most popular media sharing networks today.
How they can benefit marketers: There has been a surge in popularity of media sharing networks, with TikTok currently being the fastest-growing social media app. This is because these types of social media encourage users to connect on a more personal level, which is ideal for promoting brand awareness for any marketer. They allow marketers to be creative with their marketing strategies, as there are no limitations to the types of content that they can create.
3. Discussion forums
Discussion forums are among the most popular types of social media. They are predominantly used to discuss opinions and share ideas about different kinds of information. Sites such as Reddit, Quora and Yahoo! Answers are some of the most used discussion forums on the internet. Discussion forums are considered to be among the most traditional types of social media. Before the creation of the biggest social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, people utilised discussion forums to talk about any subject they liked.
How they can benefit marketers: Discussion forums are recognised as being a safe place for online users to express their true opinions on different topics. This is great for businesses as customers are likely to give honest feedback about different brands on these forums.
4. Live streaming networks
Live streaming networks such as Periscope are solely used for businesses to broadcast their content to live audiences. Users are able to replay live streams and comment feedback for up to 24 hours after initial broadcasts.
How they can benefit marketers: Live stream videos are boosting engagement rates across social media. However, sites like Periscope offer users the chance to only watch live streams from their computers and smartphones. It is a great way to create a buzz around new information. For example, live streams are commonly used by brands to create announcements and Q&A sessions. These types of videos encourage audiences to learn more about different brands.
5. Bookmarking and content curation sites
Bookmarking and content curation sites are some of the most popular types of social media. They help people to share and discover trending content through images and headlines. Sites like Pinterest are known for providing a space for innovation and inspiration. Topics such as fashion and beauty are hot topics on Pinterest, where people can view different photos of their favourite looks.
How they can benefit marketers: Platforms such as Pinterest are perfect for driving traffic to websites. For example, if a Pinterest user sees an item of clothing that they like, they have easy access to links to the original website so that they can make a purchase.
6. Interest-based networks
Interest-based networks such as Goodreads, Houzz and Clubhouse are known for connecting people with shared interests or hobbies.
How they can benefit marketers: Businesses can easily find audiences that are interested in their products and services through these types of social media. Platforms such as Goodreads and Houzz specifically target a desired demographic, which is great for implementing marketing campaigns.
7. Consumer review networks
Consumer review networks are mainly used to review different organisations and establishments. Sites like Tripadvisor and Yelp are used to share information about different brands, restaurants and travel destinations.
How they can benefit marketers: Consumer reviews can help marketers boost a brand’s reputation. For example, customers that leave positive reviews about a hotel can substantially influence the decisions of potential guests. It makes brands look professional and genuine when their previous customers have enjoyed their experience. In terms of organisations receiving negative reviews on these platforms, it can help businesses to determine how to improve their products and services.
8. Blogging networks
Blogging networks are used to publish, share and discover various images and videos. They are considered as creative outlets for people to showcase their interests and hobbies. Platforms such as Tumblr and Medium are highly sought-after places for those interested in blogging channels.
How they can benefit marketers: Blogging networks are great for brands that are not only keen on increasing their visibility, but they are great for those who want to focus on a niche category. Sites like Tumblr offer marketers a huge platform to discover and share content that is relevant to their niche.
9. Sharing economy networks
Sharing economy networks are essentially used to buy, sell, share, advertise and trade products and services. The most renowned sharing economy networks are Airbnb and Uber. They are an easy way to connect and share with people online.
How they can benefit marketers: Sharing economy networks are ideal for businesses that specialise in niche fields. For example, bed-and-breakfast owners can advertise on places like Airbnb which is likely to bring in more customers. There are also several other sharing economy networks such as SitterCity and Postmates that are attracting regular users.
10. Shopping networks
Shopping networks are mainly used to purchase items, follow brands and discover new trends. They are easily one of the most desired types of social media among mass audiences. Sites such as Etsy and Depop are recognised as being huge platforms for shopping.
How they can benefit marketers: Brands can significantly increase their sales by joining sites like Etsy and Depop. These networks add an interactive element to e-commerce through incorporating social features such as private messaging and liking content. Shopping networks such as Etsy raises brand awareness for independent and small businesses.
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