The list of social media sites providing people with platforms to communicate through is ever-growing. It is not news anymore that the bigger part of our day-to-day interaction has been on a gradual conversion to the digital world. We now get to know our news via social media, make new friends and know about the new restaurants in town. What’s even more important is that a huge portion of business activity has been taken to the social media arena. To keep up with these rapid changes, social media have become among the core platforms for any brand trying to gain exposure. There are social networks that have grown so big that it became out of the question whether to use them or not to market your brand or not.
The following list of social media sites will cover the major social networks that we have today.
Since its foundation in 2004, Facebook has become the undisputed kingpin of social media. The number of Facebook users exceeded 2 billion people worldwide this year. That is more than one quarter of Mother Earth’s entire population. Because of that, Facebook might be the only one in the list of social media sites which is totally indispensable. A business brand or a content creator stands no chance at gaining exposure without being on Facebook.
Almost every major global or local brand has its Facebook page where it communicates with its followers. Facebook ads are always undergoing updates that better the process of gaining wider exposure for your brand. There are businesses that run completely on Facebook with only the logistics taking place offline. The products are shown through the Facebook page and the orders are placed there. Also, anyone producing their own content now realizes the essentiality of a decent Facebook page for them to publicize their content through.
There is north of 300 million users on Twitter today. It is different from Facebook in that it is a micro-blogging social network. Most brands run accounts on both websites with certain uses for each. For instance, most brands targeting young demographics usually put more effort into Twitter because that is where the people under 40 spend more time. The Facebook user base has been shifting for the past couple of years to becoming the social network for seniors. Facebook users above 50 are consistently increasing, whereas Millennials take to other social networks, prime among which is Twitter.
Aside from the demographics, on average, Twitter users tend to follow brands more often. Also, the micro-blogging nature of Twitter allows the message to get through with a minimum amount of characters (140 characters). That eliminates the concern about people ignoring your message as is the case with longer Facebook posts. A lot of brands and even individuals run both their Twitter and Facebook profiles in an intertwined manner. Twitter is a good platform to deliver samples of larger content. You could then link your tweet to a more detailed Facebook post. There is a side analytical benefit to that. You have in effect added a “conversion station.” You can use that to measure the interest in your content by monitoring the number of people clicking the links after reading your previews.
When talking about B2B marketing, LinkedIn is the platform for that. With over 400 million users, LinkedIn is the largest professional networking site today. Aside from the millions of individual users, there are also millions of profiles run by brands or corporations. That means that it poses two opportunities for any brand or business. The first is that it brings together a very important and specific segment: professionals and executives. If that is your targeted segment, LinkedIn would be a much better place to spend your efforts than, say, Twitter or Instagram.
The other opportunity it offers is the ability to market your brand to other companies. Through LinkedIn, you can easily communicate with corporations that you want to strike deals or reach some sort of strategic alliance with. Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn has paid ad services that allow you to sponsor your content. It also has its own well-developed analytics tools.
YouTube comes second in our list of social media sites in terms of popularity, with around 1.5 billion users worldwide. There is something now called a “Brand Account” that YouTube made specifically for businesses. That is the type of account you can set up for your business. While Facebook, Twitter, or even LinkedIn provide good platforms for you to easily communicate with customers with some brief content, it is YouTube that allows you to truly entertain or inform them.
For example, what you can explain about a product in a 1-minute YouTube video would be a 10-minute read if you put it into a Facebook post. People are also growing more comfortable with video content than they are with written content. YouTube subscribers are also more likely to share your video content than Facebook followers would do with your posts. There are a plethora of major brands now running YouTube channels with thousands of subscribers. Some of them have even built a viewer base that is in part separate from its business customers.
Instagram users crossed the 700 million mark earlier this year. For the past few years, lifestyle and leisure brands especially value this platform. That is because its visual nature along with the simple tools it provides (ex: filters) allows them to glamorously portray the experience they offer their customers. Instagram also has an edge when it comes to quick browsing. An Instagram user is able to gallop through tens of pictures in a matter of minutes and only stop at those that grab their attention. It does not demand much effort from the user, and it gives you the opportunity to catch their eyes with appealing visuals and catchy stories. Hashtags are another handy exposure tool that Instagram provides.
Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing platforms right now, both in terms of individual and business use. It has become beyond question when it comes to targeting young demographics. Over 160 millions users worldwide watch more than 10 billion snaps a day. What gives it an edge over the rest of our list of social media sites is its engagement. Brands use this edge in all sorts of ways. For example, in the summer of 2016, Starbucks launched a campaign on Snapchat where they invited their customers to share their snaps with a Frappuccino filter that they added to the app. Such campaigns go viral in no time because Snapchat makes it easier than any other platform to get customers to partake in your campaign.
There are more than 100 million users active on Quora every month now. Quora’s concept differs from the other types of social networking. What is special about Quora is that it is solely a Q&A platform. The perk of being on Quora is your capability of customizing your content to answer the questions people are actually asking. You get to monitor your targeted segment’s most common inquiries and provide them with tactful answers. This certainly lessens the effort you need to spend on market research.
People and most of all customers are always curious. If you make yourself their source of rich content and valid answers to their questions, you automatically position yourself as an authority in your field. This is one of the most coveted positions for any brand.
How Many Social Media Sites Are There?
This list of social media sites only covered the major ones, but there are tons of different social media sites that we cannot cover in one list. The following are some of the other well-known social networks that are often used for business: