There are almost as many social media users as Internet users. Over 4.48 billion people use different social networks every day. We have to admit that in a few years, social media has become an integral part of our lives. We check messages first thing in the morning, watch videos during our lunch break, and use social media apps to share events of our lives with family and friends.
Social media is powerful. A campaign can make or break a business and grow recognition and reputation. Moreover, the number of active users is growing, with younger generations joining earlier every year; just look at TikTok's user base.
What gives social media so much appeal? It’s variety. There is a network for every type of user and interest. You can group the tens of social media apps into six main categories:
1. Social Network
Social networks are designed to build a community around a common interest. This type is the most popular among social media networks. Most social media users are on one or two social media networks.
Examples of social media networks include:
Facebook: The first popular social media network and the origin of the industry, Facebook is still going strong after almost two decades. Its goal is to connect people, and most users use it daily to share their lives with friends and family. Many businesses use it to create communities and groups of interest.
LinkedIn: Created to be a professional social network, it has maintained its business profile thanks to its users' careful curation. Career-oriented people use it to generate business, find new jobs, and create personal brands.
Twitter was initially intended to be a social network for short messages. It is designed to simplify communication, although it has recently become more of a discussion network.
2. Media Sharing
You can use a social video app to discover trends, interesting places to go, and people to meet. These types of social media are designed to share rich media, such as videos and images. Most people use it to share news, fun, and interesting content (think TikTok) with friends and family. An increasing number of users upload videos for professional and business reasons.
Examples of media-sharing networks include:
Who can imagine life before YouTube? This social media network provides various types of videos, from entertainment to educational videos, businesses, and everything in between. Companies often use YouTube to post explainer videos.
The teens’ favorite network is not for the young anymore. More people and businesses are flocking to TikTok to make short videos and promote products, content, and services. The platform was the fastest-growing social media channel in 2022.
Instagram: Now owned by Facebook, this social media platform was the first to emphasize photo and video sharing via a mobile app. Users react to each other’s content via shares, likes, and comments. It competes directly with TikTok with its reels and short stories.
Image source: TikTok iOS app
These sites enable users to save and organize content and links to online resources. Users can create interest boards, tag links, and share with other users and followers.
Examples of bookmarking sites include
The platform helps users create inspiration boards. You can find recipes and housework hacks. I use it to learn travel and packing tips. Recently, Pinterest added videos to the former image-only platform. So, you can take advantage and be one of the first video influencers on Pinterest.
This content curation website allows you to create your own “magazines” by picking topics that interest you. It could be news, technology, entertainment, design, and more. Your magazine consists of a custom version of the stories you pick. Flipboard also curates magazines with news and trends from reputable publishers, like The Telegraph, Forbes, The Guardian, etc.
Image credit: Flipboard iOS app
4. Discussion Network
Where people can write to their heart's content about interesting or controversial topics, from history to current events, entertainment, and house tips, you can ask and find answers on these networks. They are the place for more extended debates.
What are the advantages of publishing on these networks for organizations?
- Engaging your customers in conversations
- You can create topics and post answers to questions that help with your content marketing.
Examples of discussion networks include:
Reddit: Its topics and threads are commonly used by content marketers to spread brand awareness and help build trust.
Quora: More varied. You can start any topic and answer almost any question you know. With support in multiple languages, there is no question you cannot find an answer to in Quora.
5. Social Review
A review on Tripadvisor often saved me from booking a terrible place for my vacation. Indeed you check on Yelp before trying that new restaurant. These social networks help users share their reviews on products, services, places to eat, and travel. A positive review can increase sales, and a bad review can do the opposite.
Examples of review networks include:
Yelp: Whether you are checking a restaurant, a bar, a clinic, a florist, or a hairdresser, in summary, any public-oriented business is likely to be on Yelp. Users can filter reviews according to what they need, for example, a restaurant for families with small kids.
Tripadvisor: This network enables you to travel confidently on your next trip. You can read reviews, tips, and travel advice from people who have been there.
6. Sharing Economy
Websites like Lyft and Kickstarter don’t function only as commercial exchanges but as examples of a sharing economy. Those networks connect people who have something they want to share and people who need it. As a peer-to-peer (P2P) activity, it offers convenience to users. That’s why they’ve become so popular in recent years.
Examples of sharing economy networks include:
Airbnb: If you thought about travelling or have an extra room in your house, you have probably heard of or used Airbnb. This community marketplace enables people to list or book accommodations around the world.
Lyft: This ride sharing network matches drivers with passengers requesting rides through the smartphone app. Passengers can pay directly through the app. It is fast, affordable, and a good option for people wanting to ride share.
Regardless of your interests and needs, there is undoubtedly a type of social media for it. You can use it to grow an audience, connect with people, or for business. As people find new ways to connect and share information, more types and social media apps will appear.