Anything that connects people in a certain way can be considered social media. However, if you look closer into the various types, you will realize that many specialize in a specific niche of communication and thus, can be separated in groups or individually. We have personally found 8 different types of media that have their own features and purposes that can be used for different marketing purposes:
1. Social networks
Examples: Facebook & Twitter
Social networks, sometimes called “relationship networks”, help people and organizations to connect online and share information and ideas.
Now, and especially with the rise of the mobile Internet, these networks have become centers that transform almost every aspect of modern life – from reading the news to sharing photos from vacations to finding a new job – into a social experience.
2. Photo & Video Sharing Networks
Examples: Youtube, Instagram, Snapchat
Like basic networking, these sites are invaluable for brand awareness, lead generation, audience engagement, and most of your other social marketing goals.
The lines between image sharing and social networks are blurring today as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter add live video, augmented reality, and other multimedia services to their platforms.
While most posts on relationship networks contain text, posts on networks such as Instagram and Snapchat begin with an image or video to which users may choose to add content such as captions, mentions to other users, or filters.
3. Discussion Forums
Examples: Quora & Reddit
These networks can be an excellent resource for market research. Done right, you can also advertise in them, though you will need to be careful to save your ads and posts.
Take a look at the wide reach and number of forum users on Reddit, Quora, and Digg and you will see that the thirst for collective knowledge and wisdom remains unmistakable.
4. Bookmark & Content Networks
These networks are a pillar of creativity and inspiration for people seeking information and ideas, and by adding them to your social media marketing plan, you will open new channels to build brand awareness and engagement with your audience and customers.
Bookmark networks like Pinterest help people discover, save, and share visual content. An easy first step to getting started with Pinterest is to make your website easy to bookmark. This leads to the optimization of titles and images on your blog and / or website for the feeds these networks use to access and share your content.
5. Consumer opinion networks
Examples: Yelp & TripAdvisor
These are the types of social media you go to when you are uncertain about a specific service or you need to find something suitable for yourself, for example, a place to eat. This is where you can find honest customer opinions and also leave your own.
If you have your own brand or product, you can utilize these websites to engage with your customers and also see what improvements you need to make.
6. Blogging & Posting networks
Examples: WordPress & Medium
These types of networks provide us with the ability to publish encouraging content that stimulates sharing and commenting. There are several variations in these networks – from the commonly-used platforms like WordPress that give you endless opportunities, to the more interactive publishing platforms like Medium.
If your marketing strategy involves content marketing (and if not, you may want to consider it), your business can gain visibility by maintaining a blog. A blog helps raise awareness of your business and generate more engaging content for your social channels like Facebook.
7. Social Shopping Networks
Examples: Etsy & Polyvore
These types of networks provide a more engaging and interactive shopping experience by adding the social element. Of course, the elements of e-commerce appear in many other types of social networks. For example, Pinterest has purchase pins, and Instagram provides call-in tools such as “shop now” and “install now”.
However, the more niche-focused social shopping networks do it better. They are a focused integration between social experience and shopping. Services such as Etsy allow small businesses and individual craftsmen to sell products. Polyvore is another good example of a network designed to integrate social experience during the buying experience.