From a marketing/advertising perspective there are essentially four primary, yet distinct categories of social media platforms. The first of which being platforms designed for the purposes of social networking. Examples of current social networking sites included Facebook and Linkedin. These sites are designed with primary goal of allowing users to directly interact with one another in a virtual space just as if it were an in person interaction. While ultimately social media as a whole is about interaction these networking sites remain distinct in that these interactions are the primary purpose as opposed to sharing general info amongst larger groups. These sites are typically the most popular with sites like Facebook boasting an excess of 2 billion monthly users.
The second form of social media is known as microblogging. These sites are created to provide users an opportunity to express themselves and their ideas of a variety of topics as diverse as the users themselves. Sites like Twitter and Tumblr serve as terrific examples of microblogging pages. Unlike networking sites, microblogs are meant to be expressed to larger masses of people as opposed to being a specific interaction between individual users (although sometimes this can occur with aggressive people on Twitter). Microblogs can be useful for advertisers looking to provide more in depth product information.
Photo sharing sites such as Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest represent photo sharing social media sites which make up our third form of social media. These sites are much more reliant on visual communication rather than text conversations and direct personal interaction. These sites can be extremely useful in today’s marketing world as these ads are typically composed of a high quality image with a small amount of accompanying text. The concise nature of the ads on this platform make it easier for the modern consumer with a relatively short attention span to fully digest the message an ad is meant to convey.
The fourth and final social media platform is composed of video sharing sites such as Youtube, Periscope and Vimeo. This platform is relatively new when compared to the three other major platforms, however thus far video sharing has proven itself to be a valuable tool for the modern marketer. Similar to microblogging sites, this platform allows for more substantive product information to be conveyed to potential customers, while also incorporating the visual component of photo sharing sites.