Types of Social Networks and How to Take Advantage of them for Your Business
When you start planning a social media strategy for your business, a few platforms probably automatically come to mind: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and maybe YouTube or Pinterest, depending on your industry.
However, there is a much wider variety of social networks out there. New networks are constantly emerging and existing ones are increasing their variety of functions and formats. Some networks are niche, while others have the potential to become the next Instagram or TikTok.
Over the years, social media has evolved from focusing on a single function (such as networking or posting images) to incorporating a wide variety of tools including live streaming, augmented reality, shopping, social audio, and more. plus.
So instead of giving you super-detailed descriptions of Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn (which you can find anywhere), we’ve decided to group a wide variety of platforms into nine broad categories that focus on specific use cases and show you what’s on offer. businesses can achieve using them.
How to choose the best types of social networks for your business
The number of social media platforms available continues to increase, and we know it can be overwhelming constantly having to ask yourself which ones might be worth your time.
However, if you let your social media marketing strategy guide your decisions, you won’t need to spend a lot of time studying the particulars of each new platform, since you’ll only join networks that align with your goals.
Follow these three tips to develop the criteria that will help you evaluate any new social network, no matter what it is and how it works.
Know your audience
The first question you should ask yourself before joining a new social network is: where is your audience?
It makes more sense to go where your audience already spends time than to join a new platform and try to bring your audience to it.
The second important point is to understand how your audience uses said platform. What type of content are they looking for? What kind of accounts do you follow? Are they passive consumers or content creators?
To learn more about how different demographics use social media, you can check out our 2022 Global Digital Trends Report.
Stay up to date with social media statistics
When a new social network emerges, it’s critical to recognize the difference between a passing fad and a fast-growing platform with the potential to catch on.
Although no one can predict the future, a good way to tell if a platform may be here to stay is to compare its statistics with those of other well-established social networks.
If you don’t know where to find recent statistics, here we solve the problem:
- instagram stats
- facebook stats
- Twitter Statistics
- youtube statistics
- Pinterest Statistics
- TikTok Statistics
Analyze what best aligns with your key business objectives
Ask yourself: Which platforms align best with my business goals?
For example, if one of your goals is to raise awareness of a new product or service that lends itself well to video tutorials, you should focus on specific video platforms (such as YouTube and Vimeo) or video formats available on video tutorials. Sites where you already have a presence (such as Instagram Stories, Reels, Facebook Live, etc.)
Types of Social Media Platforms and Formats You Should Know About in 2022
Social audio formats and networks
Examples: Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces, Spotify
What they are used for : Listen to live conversations on specific topics.
How to harness them in your business: New social audio platforms and formats (such as Clubhouse and Twitter Spaces ) gained traction during the COVID-19 pandemic, when people stayed home and had more time to join live conversations.
The most important advantage of social audio platforms and formats is the high level of attention and interaction that you can receive from those who decide to listen to you.
A dynamic, agile and interesting conversation can help you position yourself as a leader in your niche and introduce your business or products to valuable audiences who are interested in your niche topics (otherwise they would not connect to listen).
Video formats and social networks
Examples: YouTube, TikTok, Instagram Stories and Reels, Facebook Watch
What they are used for : Watching short and long format videos.
How to harness them in your business: Video social media platforms are great for capturing audience attention. Driving brand awareness, and bringing products to life in a way that photos can’t.
Any video content you post must be designed to entertain, educate and/or inspire your audience. Videos that are just looking to sell don’t grab viewers.
Ephemeral content formats
Examples: Snapchat, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, LinkedIn Stories
What they’re used for: Send ephemeral messages privately or post timely. Relevant content that your followers can see for up to 24 hours.
How to take advantage of them in your business: Ephemeral formats like Stories are suitable for publishing something new, limited edition articles or live events.
Most Snapchat Stories and content feels more authentic and less polished thanks to its 24-hour expiration time. Therefore, it allows brands to show their most human side.
Examples: Reddit, Quora
What they are used for: Asking and answering questions, networking, forming communities around topics of common interest.
How to take advantage of them in your business: Genuinely support your customers by sharing your experience and answering questions related to your industry (even better if you can share information about your brand and products in your answers, without that being your main goal of participating in forums). discussion).
Important note: On Reddit it is very frowned upon for brands to self-promote in replies. If you’re posting as a business, be sure to answer the original question and only link to your products if they’re truly helpful. Before posting to a subreddit, review the rules to see if adding links is allowed.
While Microsoft did not create the /r/XboxOne subreddit account, once the company realized its popularity, it began engaging with Redditors and hosting ask me anything sessions with game developers.
Functions and social networks for the purchase of products
Examples: Product Pins on Pinterest, Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, TikTok, Shopify, Douyin, Taobao
What they’re used for: Researching brands and buying products directly through social media platforms.
How to take advantage of them in your business: Use the functions of mobile applications to allow your audience to easily buy your products without having to leave the social network.
Features like Pinterest Product Pins, Instagram Shops, and TikTok Shopping allow you to connect your product catalog directly to your profile in each app.
Even if your followers don’t like to shop on social media or have longer shopping trips. Shopping features let you tag products, add additional information, and drive traffic to your website.
Live broadcasts on social networks
Examples: Twitch, YouTube, Instagram Live Rooms, Facebook Live, TikTok
What they’re used for: Stream live video to many viewers. Live broadcasts can range from a single person showing what he is currently doing to professional panels with multiple speakers.
How to take advantage of them in your business: The popularity of live video exploded during the pandemic, when people were stuck at home with little to do.
However, you don’t need a global pandemic for people to want to watch your streams. There are plenty of ways to make compelling videos worth connecting for, from celebrity guest interviews to product reveals to ask me anything sessions.
Live videos also give the audience the opportunity to interact with the hosts. So monitoring and engaging with comments during the broadcast is extremely important. Read more tips on this in our guide to live streaming on social media.
Social networks for companies and professional relationships
Examples: LinkedIn, Twitter
What they are used for: Connect with professionals in your industry or potential clients.
How to take advantage of them in your business: Social media platforms focused on professional relationships offer many potential uses: recruiting and hiring talent, developing B2B relationships, and connecting with other professionals in your niche.
Platforms like LinkedIn are ideal for B2B purposes, allowing brands to connect with new audiences in a space that they use to expand their professional network.
LinkedIn is not the only social network focused on the corporate world and business. Twitter also offers businesses the ability to find relevant conversations and join them in a meaningful way. A great example of this is Adweek, which hosts a weekly chat for digital marketers called #AdweekChat.
There are also communities on Twitter that are built around industry-specific hashtags, such as #MarketingTwitter and #FreelanceTwitter.
Closed social networks or for private communities
Examples: Discourse, Slack, Facebook Groups
What they’re used for: Create communities with the ability to require pre-registration or other filters for new members.
How to take advantage of them in your business: Companies can use private groups to bring members of their community together and establish a bond by sharing common challenges, answering questions and fostering a sense of belonging.
As the group admin, your company can set rules around certain things, like self-promotion. Many groups (especially on Facebook) require members to answer a few questions before joining to prevent spam or hackers. But you can also use these fields to ask members to sign up for your contact list to receive marketing materials.
A good example of these types of groups is the Instant Pot Facebook group. Which the brand started in 2015 and has grown to over 3 million members. Who enjoy sharing recipes and product tips.
Inspirational social networks
Examples: Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, blogs
How to take advantage of them in your business: Curate your content and inspire your target audience with information and visual elements focused on their preferences and insert your own products when relevant. Use collections, playlists, tags, and guides to group your content and create topics that align with your audience’s interests.
Inspirational social media platforms like Pinterest and YouTube are optimized for search. Which means your posts should include keywords, hashtags, and images related to what your audience typically searches for. Also check Pinterest Video Downloader
Travel bloggers are very good at optimizing their YouTube posts and videos for searches like “What to do in [destination]” and “Travel guide in [destination]”.
Whether you’re building a community or evaluating new platforms for your brand. There are different types of social media you can use. Some of them are practically mandatory for any business. While others are only worthwhile if they align with your niche or specific uses.
Whatever your needs and goals, you can always find a way to use social media to benefit your business.