The Types Of Social Networking Sites And How Each Can Favour Your Business
When you think of developing a social media plan for your company, you probably think of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even YouTube or Pinterest, depending on your sector. However, there are numerous sorts of social media sites available, with new platforms and styles appearing on a regular basis. Some are quite niche, while others have the potential to be the next Instagram or TikTok.
Many platforms used to focus on one purpose, such as social networking or image sharing, which has altered since the early days of social media. Most established social media networks now include live streaming, augmented reality, shopping, social audio, and other features.
One difference since the early days of social media is that many platforms used to specialise in one purpose, such as social networking or image sharing. Most well-known social networking networks now provide live streaming, augmented reality, purchasing, social audio, and other features.
Whether you are a seasoned social media marketer, a marketer trying to branch out into social media marketing, or a business owner looking to capitalise on social media, knowing the most popular social networking sites is beneficial. This will allow you to increase your brand's social media reach, engage with the relevant individuals, and fulfil your social media objectives. Of course, the number of social media sites isn't the sole factor. It is also important to consider whether the social networking site is a good fit for your company and you. Is it consistent with your brand's image? Is your target audience on that social media platform? How many social media platforms can you manage at the same time?
To make things easier, we've done some research and collated data on the leading social media sites. Some will be recognisable to you, while others may sound strange. It might be worthwhile to learn more about the social media sites that could be beneficial to your brand but have not yet been investigated.
Types of social media platforms and formats you should know in 2021
1. Platforms and formats for video social media
YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Stories and Reels, and Facebook Watch are some examples
Used for: Watching short and long video clips.
How you can put them to use in your business: Video social media platforms are excellent for grabbing attention, increasing brand exposure, and bringing items to life in ways that static photographs cannot. Any video material you create should be intended to entertain, educate, and/or inspire your target audience. Videos created solely to sell will not engage viewers.
Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with over two billion people accessing it each month. That equates to about one-third of the world's population! With over 65 million businesses utilising Facebook Pages and over six million advertisers actively marketing their brand on Facebook, it's a very safe pick if you want to establish a presence on social media. It's simple to get started on Facebook because practically all content formats — text, photos, videos, live videos, and Stories — function well there. However, keep in mind that the Facebook algorithm favours content that creates meaningful connections between individuals, particularly those from family and friends.
What is the Facebook algorithm and how does it work?
First, Facebook scores every post in a user's network (a.k.a. the "inventory") based on established ranking signals such as type of post, recency, and so on.
Following that, it discards posts that a user is unlikely to interact with based on that user's previous behaviour. It also demotes content that users don’t want to see (i.e., clickbait, misinformation, or anything that they’ve stated they don’t like).
Then it applies a "more powerful neural network" to the remaining posts in order to score them in a more personalised manner. (For example, Mona is 20% likely to watch tutorial videos from her chess Group, but 95% likely to post a heart reaction to a photo of her sister's new puppy) and prioritises them.
Finally, it arranges a beautiful cross-section of media formats and sources so that a user can scroll through an intriguing diversity of postings.
Instagram has announced on what basis they decide whether they recommend your content or not. The most important points are:
· Posts with clickbait or engagement bait don’t get recommended
· Contests or giveaways don’t get recommended
· Repurposed content from another source without added value doesn’t get recommended
2. Social audio platforms and formats
Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, and Spotify are a few examples. Listening in on live talks about specific topics.
How you can put them to use in your business: During COVID-19 lockdowns, new social audio platforms (like Clubhouse) and formats (like Twitter Spaces) thrived since individuals were at home with more time to participate in live conversations.
The most major advantage of audio social media platforms and formats is the high level of attention and interaction that opt-in listeners are likely to provide.
Here are some ideas for how to use audio social networking platforms:
· Organize industry panels.
· Broadcast breaking news and major announcements.
· Organize interactive sessions with your audience (such as AMAs).
· During a live Clubhouse/Twitter Spaces chat, record interviews and upload them as a podcast (example: The Social Media Geekout show).
· A 30-60 minute show can help your company's thought leadership.
3. Discussion forums
Reddit and Quora are two examples of discussion forums.
Asking and answering questions, networking, and establishing communities around niche and interest-based topics are all examples of how to use it. How you can put them to use in your business: Be genuinely helpful to your consumers by providing your company's subject matter expertise and answering industry-related concerns. If you can give information about your business and products in your answers, that's a plus, but it shouldn't be your primary purpose while engaging in discussion forums.
One thing to keep in mind is that any form of self-promotion in answers is frowned upon on Reddit. If you're commenting on behalf of a company, make sure to answer the original question and only include links to your products if they're truly useful. Check the rules before posting in a subreddit to see if incorporating links to your own business is permitted.
While Microsoft did not initiate the /r/XboxOne subreddit, they began engaging with Redditors by holding AMA sessions with game developers after they realised how popular it was.
4. Platforms for business social media
Examples include LinkedIn and Twitter.
Connecting with professionals in your sector or future clients is what this site is used for.
How you can put them to use in your business: Business social media platforms can be used for a variety of purposes, including recruiting and hiring people, creating B2B relationships, and interacting with professionals in your industry.
Platforms such as LinkedIn are perfect for B2B purposes because they enable marketers to interact with new audiences by meeting them where they go to network and do business.
However, LinkedIn is not the only business-oriented social media site available. Businesses may use Twitter to locate relevant topics and contribute to them in significant ways. Adweek, for example, runs a weekly chat for digital marketers dubbed #AdweekChat.
5. Shoppable social media platforms and features
Pinterest Product Pins, Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, TikTok are a few examples.
Used for: Directly researching and purchasing products from brands via social media networks.
How you can put them to use in your business: Use built-in mobile-friendly features to allow your audience to buy from you without leaving a social media app.
Pinterest Product Pins, Instagram Shops, and TikTok's in-app shopping all allow you to link your product catalogue to your profile on each app.
Even if your followers prefer not to make purchases on social networking platforms or have lengthier buyer journeys, shopping capabilities can help you identify products, add additional product information, and drive traffic to your website.
Some excellent methods to make use of shopping social media platforms:
Limited edition releases, for example, announcing an exclusive product launch on social media and connecting or tagging the product via your product catalogue
Selling using social media
Electronic commerce (many social media platforms have e-commerce integrations, such as Shopify, which you can access directly from your Hootsuite dashboard)
Retargeting, for example, building custom audiences based on who has interacted with your Facebook/Instagram Shops.
While Pinterest has a very distinct structure and follower strategy, it is still considered a social networking platform. Its guided search strategy encourages new links by using data gathered from previous content encounters. For example, if you've already browsed wedding hairstyles on Pinterest, the next time you check in, Pinterest is more likely to display you more hairstyles.
The advantage of this interest-based algorithm is that it always shows the user something that Pinterest knows they enjoy. This increases the likelihood that the content will be digested and liked.
6. Live social media streams
Twitch, YouTube, Instagram Live Rooms, Facebook Live, and TikTok are a few examples.
Used for: Broadcasting live video to a large number of viewers. Live video streaming can range from a single individual displaying themselves and what they're doing on their screen to professionally coordinated panels featuring numerous speakers.
How you can put them to use in your business: When people were stranded at home during lockdowns with nothing to do, the popularity of live streaming skyrocketed.
You don't, however, need a global pandemic to attract people to watch your live streaming. There are numerous ways to create tune-in-worthy streams, ranging from interviewing well-known guests to having AMA sessions with your business executives. Live Streams also allow users to communicate with the hosts in real time, so it's critical to monitor and respond to comments during the show. When COVID-19 decided to postpone Formula One races until 2020, numerous drivers began filming themselves using driving simulators on Twitch, which proved highly popular with spectators.
The Instagram algorithm has the following characteristics:
· Prioritizes posts with the highest number of likes
· Prioritizes very recent posts (created within minutes of a user logging on)
· Prioritizes posts from profiles that the user engages typically with
· Prioritizes posts from hashtags that the user follows
· Occasionally shows posts with great engagement from a profile and using hashtags that the user does not follow
· Is believed to treat brands' content and consumers' content equally
Updates for 2021
While there's always a concern that Instagram will start to downgrade content from business profiles, there's still evidence of this being true. In 2021, even more users see content by profiles that they don't follow (not in the Discover tab but their main feed). To increase your chances of that happening, focus on getting engagement from your core followers.
Profit from Algorithms in social media
If you just remember one thing from this post, let it be that algorithms can help rather than hurt. Some social media users see algorithms as cords that tie us to a precise set of rules, yet they also establish a road map for success. Learning to read that map will help you beat your opponents and ascend to the top. Whether you're utilising social media for your personal marketing or for a client, these sites are a huge help in terms of traffic and ROI. With a cheap overhead (they're free, after all) and a little time commitment, social media offers the potential to enhance revenue with little to no output. If you’re a marketer, then I suggest you move most of the people and budget that you’ve dedicated to creating branded content on Facebook into influencer marketing on Instagram and YouTube.
These are just some of the strategic insights that marketers can discover by looking at how social media algorithms work from an influencer’s point of view.