Social Networks Examples: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Why people use these networks: To connect with people (and brands) online. How they can benefit your business: Let us count the ways. Market research, brand awareness, lead generation, relationship building, customer service… the list is pretty much endless.
Media Sharing Networks Examples: Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube Why people use these networks: To find and share photos, video, live video, and other media online. How they can benefit your business: Like the major relationship networks, these sites are invaluable for brand awareness, lead generation, audience engagement, and most of your other social marketing goals.
Discussion Forums Examples: reddit, Quora, Digg Why people use these networks: To find, discuss, and share news, information, and opinions. How they can benefit your business: These networks can be excellent resources for market research. Done right, you can also advertise on them, though you’ll need to be careful to keep your ads and posts separate.
Bookmarking & Content Curation Examples: Pinterest, Flipboard Why people use these networks: To discover, save, share, and discuss new and trending content and media. How they can benefit your business: These networks can be highly effective for driving brand awareness, customer engagement, and website traffic.
Consumer Review Networks Examples: Yelp, Zomato, TripAdvisor Why people use these networks: To find, review, and share information about brands, products, and services, as well as restaurants, travel destinations, and more.
Blogging & Publishing Networks Examples: WordPress, Tumblr, Medium Why people use these networks: To publish, discover, and comment on content online. How they can benefit your business: Content marketing can be a highly effective way to engage with your audience, build your brand, and generate leads and sales.
Interest-Based Networks Examples: Goodreads, Houzz, Last.fm Why people use these networks: To connect with others around a shared interest or hobby. How they can benefit your business: If there’s a network devoted to the kind of products or services you provide, these networks can be a great place to engage with your audience and build brand awareness.
Sharing Economy Networks Examples: Airbnb, Uber, Taskrabbit Why people use these networks: To advertise, find, share, buy, sell, and trade products and services between peers. How they can benefit your business: If you happen to offer the kind of products or services traded here, these networks can be another channel for bringing in business. (For example, if you operate a bed-and-breakfast, Airbnb could help you find customers.)
Anonymous Social Networks Examples: Whisper, Ask.fm, After School Why people use these networks: To gossip, vent, snoop, and sometimes bully. How they can benefit your business: They almost certainly can’t. Steer clear. Last—and least—are anonymous social networks. While major social networks are making increasing efforts to hold users accountable for their social activity, these sites go the other way and allow users to post content anonymously. CBS New York described Whisper as “the place to go these days to vent, come clean, or peer into other people’s secrets,” saying the site focuses on “turning confessions into content.”