The Different Categories of Social Media for Your Business

It won’t be news to many small and medium sized businesses that social media marketing is big business. In fact, among ‘professional marketers’ (the type employed full time in the role by another business) a survey shows that 97% are using social media to build connection with their audiences.

That audience and connection building should be for one goal: getting more paying customers and clients. So while it might feel great to get a lot of likes on a photo or have plenty of people share an article that you’ve written, it’s important to remember the main point of social media for business is to… well, get more business.

With that in mind, here’s the major ‘types’ of social media platforms and how they might fit in to your marketing mix.

The Social Networks

The large social networks are probably the most common types of social media that people think of when they think of the category. In fact, there’s even a movie about the largest and most dominant of them, Facebook called ‘The Social Network’.

Other examples of the genre are the microblogging platform Twitter and the more professionals-focussed LinkedIn.

Each of these can fall loosely into the ‘networking platform’ bucket. That’s because they are biased towards helping people find like-minded or similar people in their professional lives (LinkedIn), personal lives (Facebook) or both (Twitter, Facebook).

For customer facing businesses, Facebook is a great option as it allows business pages and interest groups to form, and because Facebook’s business model is ad-driven, it also has built some strong tools to help businesses do paid marketing. LinkedIn is better suited for professional services businesses who have employees that are able to showcase their professional skills (such as design or writing) as a way to build the brand of the business they work for.

The Photo and Video Boards

Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest are younger than Facebook, but are arguably just as big and influential now. In fact, Facebook bought Instagram several years ago for over a billion dollars to capture its fast-growing user base.

Businesses that have a ‘visual’ product like the food at restaurants or the end result of a home renovation done by a local builder are well suited to these platforms. In addition, trades-based businesses can do very well on YouTube and Instagram by posting helpful ‘how-to’ videos and walkthroughs.

Interactive Networks

Arguably the least understood and utilised of the social media platforms, Snapchat and TikTok are the newest entrants to the social media landscape. The demographics for these apps skew much younger than the others, and as a result, are better suited to businesses that appeal to this demographic such as fashion and travel. Both platforms focus on short, sharable content, usually in the form of videos that last less than 30 seconds.


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