The 5 Types of Social Media
With everyone being on their phones nowadays, odds are, you probably have some form of social media account. We all know the major ones: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube. These accounts can benefit your company in engaging customers and boosting sales. What you might not know is that there are hundreds of social media platforms that fall under five specific types of social media.
These types of social media cover written content, visual content, blogging, reviews, shopping and more. To better engage existing clients or get new ones, try to mix and match as many of these social media types as possible. You can also use these types of social media to create leads and sales for your company.
1. Social Networking Sites
The most traditional form of social media is social networking sites, or relationship platforms. These sites exist so users and brands can connect and network one another. They often let users post and share knowledge and visual content (pictures, videos, polls) and respond to each other in messages and comments. They also allow users to create communities where they can discuss relevant topics. The most popular forms of social networking sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Social networking sites target users of all ages, genders, class and locations. They can be used for private or professional needs. For example, LinkedIn connects professionals and helps users find jobs or recruit candidates. Twitter helps businesses complete quick customer engagement. Facebook allows business owners to post updates regarding products or services. Overall, social networking sites can help businesses with branding, customer engagement, customer service, lead generation and market research.
2. Media Sharing Sites
Media sharing sites allow users to create and share visual content (pictures, infographics, illustrations, videos, etc.) and engage with other users through comments or messages. Visual content is generally more digestible than long blogs or articles. An upside to media sharing sites for businesses is that they can create an entire social media campaign based on what they think will get customers engaged. As such, media sharing sites are great tools for audience engagement, brand awareness and lead generation.
There are two main types of media sharing sites: image sharing versus video sharing. Image sharing sites include Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Imgur. Here, users create visual content like pictures or illustrations and share them. For example, on Pinterest, people share their creative ideas on boards. Image sharing sites have led to the creation of “selfies,” hashtags and Instagram influencers. Businesses can utilize image sharing sites by showing off their products and encouraging customers to then share that content.
Video sharing sites are where users share only videos; this is where YouTube, Vimeo and TikTok come into play. The videos can entertain or educate viewers with how-to’s, tours, demonstrations or even vlogs. Businesses can promote brands, products or services on these sites by hopefully creating a viral video or by showing ads.
A new part of video sharing sites includes live videos; Facebook live is an example of this. Another unique feature is Snapchat’s video stories that disappear after 24 hours. This entices people to watch the video before it goes away forever.
3. Social Blogging and Community/Discussion Sites
There is a lot of unpack here, so bear with us. Social blogging and community/discussion sites have many purposes, but the ultimate one is to share written content, such as blogs, or Q and A’s to entice conversation and discussion among users. People find, share and discuss the information posted, which can range from opinions to hard news. As one of the oldest examples of social media, these sites have been around for a while, and they cover hundreds of industries all over the world. Some examples include Medium, Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, Reddit, Quora and Digg.
Some users utilize these sites to educate others, but most businesses use them to engage the audience, build brands, gain a good reputation and generate leads or sales. For example, a business might push a specific product or service while answering a question or concern.
One way to achieve this is through rated answers. Some sites, like Reddit, let users up-vote or down-vote answers. Up-voted answers appear before down-voted answers, so you want to make your response better than everyone else’s.
Another benefit businesses have when they use these sites is for customer or market research. People can ask what others think of a particular product or service and get honest feedback. Reddit is composed of thousands of subreddits, or niche communities that focus on a specific topic. Businesses can go to these subreddits and engage users.
4. Social Customer Review Sites
Unlike other types of social media, this one is 100% run by the customers; the businesses can’t really manipulate what happens. On social customer review sites, users find and review products, services and brands so that potential customers can then learn about your product or service through the reviews. Reviews are notorious for influencing potential customers because they usually trust previous customers and their experience. These sites include TripAdvisor, Yelp, FourSquare, Zomato and Glassdoor.
Businesses can use these review sites for many reasons. The main one is to have positive reviews so more customers buy from their business. It goes beyond qualitative reviews, though. Having a high number of positive reviews helps build credibility; wouldn’t you rather buy from a business that has 100 good reviews versus only one?
Another goal is to understand customers’ opinions so the business can then either continue what they are doing or improve the product or service. Additionally, this provides a chance to address any negative reviews or experiences left by customers. Attempting to resolve negative reviews usually looks good on the company’s end and can, therefore, increase positivity.
5. Miscellaneous Types of Social Media
As mentioned before, there are many types of social media. After you learn about the big four, it comes down to a miscellaneous bunch that includes bookmarking sites, interest-based networks, sharing economy networks and social shopping networks.
Bookmarking sites let users discover, save and share links to online resources and websites. They are particularly helpful with trends and can help businesses with brand awareness and customer engagement. Examples are Pinterest and Flipboard.
Interest-based networks are exactly what they sound like: they connect people with similar hobbies, interests and niches. These sites make it easy for businesses to find customers with a single area of interest and engage with them and build their brand. Interest-based networks include Goodreads, Houzz and Last.fm.
Sharing economy networks, or collaborative economy networks, bring together people who have a good or service and people who need that good or service. These sites include Airbnb, Rover, Uber and TaskRabbit.
Social shopping networks are online shopping sites; think of Etsy or Fancy. These networks help businesses create brand awareness, boost sales and increase customer engagement. It is also a good way for businesses to spot trends. Typically, social shopping networks are good for small businesses and startups, as the sites are built around a combination of social experiences and shopping experiences.
Promotion LA and Types of Social Media
With all these types of social media, we understand that it can be overwhelming trying to understand them all, let along create accounts. Engaging customers, addressing reviews, building brand reputation – it is a lot to handle on top of your everyday business needs
That is why Promotion LA offers social media management. We can help your business blossom on social media easily. Call us today to discuss setting up a social media management service with your company.