Social media has revolutionized the way human beings interact with each other. Because of these platforms, we can connect and build relationships with people anywhere.
If you own a business, you know that social media is a valuable tool. But have you ever stopped to think about the different types of social media available to you? Not many people do, which is a shame because this knowledge can be very useful.
By understanding the types of social media platforms out there, you’ll be able choose the right ones for your company and ensure your marketing efforts are successful.
Keep reading to learn about the five types of social media you can use to grow your business.
1. Social Networking Sites
Social networks are one of the most popular types of social media. These sites allow users to connect with family, friends, and brands by posting their personal thoughts, commenting on others’ posts, uploading photos and videos, and sharing links to other content on the internet.
Examples of social networking sites include:
- Facebook: Facebook is the largest of all social media sites and boasts over 2.7 billion monthly active users. But its user base isn’t only large, it’s also incredibly diverse. Just about every age group, location, and income level is represented. Because of this, Facebook’s advertising platform is an amazing resource for business owners.
- Twitter: The main thing that sets Twitter apart from other social networking sites is the length of posts, AKA tweets, which are limited to 280 characters. But this doesn’t seem to be a problem for the platform’s 330 million monthly active users. In fact, the character limit helps stimulate conversations, which your brand can easily jump in on.
- LinkedIn: LinkedIn is the social networking site specifically designed for professionals. You typically won’t find random cat photos and cookie baking tutorials on this platform. Instead, LinkedIn’s 260 million monthly active users focus on industry-related content and meeting other folks who will help them advance their careers.
For business purposes, these types of social media platforms will allow you to reach your target audience via paid advertisements, engage them with stellar content, update them on important company happenings, and learn more about their preferences.
2. Media Sharing Sites
Like social networking sites, media sharing sites are another incredibly popular type of social media. These platforms are built around visuals and allow users to easily share photos, memes, GIFs, videos, and other visual content pieces.
Examples of media sharing sites include:
- Instagram: Instagram is a visual content creator’s paradise. Users are able to share photos, short videos, and even live broadcasts with the platform’s more than 1 billion monthly active users. Whether you’re looking to drum up audience engagement, produce user-generated content, or advertise your latest product via a shoppable post, Instagram can accommodate your needs.
- Pinterest: Pinterest is pretty unique when it comes to different types of social media. Rather than posting original content, most of the platform’s 440 million monthly active users simply “pin” images to their digital pin boards so they can easily refer back to them in the future. But that doesn’t mean original content is off-limits — far from it! Brands can post images with links back to their site to drive traffic.
- YouTube: Did you know that YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine? People from every corner of the globe visit the site to watch how-to videos, unboxings, funny skits, vlogs, and more. All in all, it’s a fantastic platform to grow and engage your brand’s audience, no matter what industry you happen to be in.
Because of their visual nature, media sharing sites are highly engaging. You can use this to your advantage as a business owner and build an army of raving fans.
3. Social Blogging Sites
Social blogging sites give folks a platform to express thoughts and ideas that might be too lengthy or complex for a standard Facebook Post or tweet on Twitter. A couple of the more popular options in this category include:
- Medium: Medium is a popular social blogging platform that’s open to both complete beginners and professional writers. The site covers a variety of topics and is a great tool for building authority and reaching new readers.
- Tumblr: While not nearly as popular as it was a few years ago, Tumblr still boasts nearly half a billion blog accounts. Users on this platform can share written content, as well as photos and videos. If your audience is on Tumblr, you should be, too.
If you’re serious about blogging, you should probably start a blog on your own website. This will give you more control. But sites like Medium and Tumblr are still beneficial because they have a built-in audience, ready to engage with your work.
One strategy that business owners have found success with is to write content on their own websites, and then syndicate it on these types of social media platforms.
4. Community Discussion Sites
A community discussion site is kind of like a new-age forum. People flock to them to share their opinions on specific subjects, ask questions, and learn new information.
- Reddit: This community discussion site is home to more than 2.2 million communities, known as subreddits, on topics ranging from pop culture to gardening. Users simply join, then participate in the many discussions happening on the platform.
- Quora: Whereas Reddit facilitates conversations of all kinds, Quora is singularly focused on answering questions. Users post queries and others give them feedback. Answers are then assigned up and down votes so the best ones are easily seen.
For business owners, sites like Reddit and Quora are goldmines for audience research. Spend some time on these types of social media sites and you’ll learn A TON about your target customers. But they can also be great marketing tools. By answering user-submitted questions in thoughtful ways, you’ll be able to promote your own brand as well.
5. Social Review Sites
When you think about the different types of social media sites, do you think of review platforms? You should! These networks allow users to share their opinions on restaurants, hotels, experiences, and more — opinions that thousands of other people will view.
Some of the top social review sites are:
- Yelp: Yelp is an online platform that empowers users to share their thoughts and opinions on various businesses. It’s incredibly popular and low scores on Yelp can really hurt a business trying to acquire new customers.
- TripAdvisor: TripAdvisor operates similarly to Yelp, but focuses on the travel industry. Because of this, restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions make up the bulk of their reviewed content. Also like Yelp, a poor TripAdvisor review can hurt your business.
Social review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor allow companies to learn what their customers think about them. These details are invaluable! With this knowledge, you can create better products, services, and customer experiences in the future.
Which Types of Social Media Will You Use?
As we’ve seen, there are many different types of social media sites available to you. The ones you choose to use will depend on your unique audience, business type, and marketing plan.
Take some time to discover where your audience hangs out online. Then join those networks and begin engaging with them. Just don’t spread yourself too thin. It’s better to succeed on one or two sites than it is to fail on many. Good luck!