Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram…. Sure you use applications like these every day, but do you know for sure what they are? What makes social media or social networks different from blogging platforms, forums, etc.? In this content we cover the subject in detail.
There is no society without the internet. Can you imagine without searching Google or staying connected to your friends and family during your day? Probably not.
The dominance of the internet and its influence on our lives is enormous, mainly with digital marketing and digital transformation so present. Currently more than 3.8 billion people worldwide are connected to the virtual world.
Now that you know the multitude of Internet users, ask yourself: What is your biggest reason to be online? Each person will give an answer, but it is very likely that the majority will answer that social networks. This is because there are currently 3 billion active users on social networks. And this number tends to grow more and more, with the dynamics of constant improvements of these platforms and the emergence of new ones.
That is why in this post I want to explain to you in a very clear way what makes a social network receive this name, how these spaces arose and what advantages they offer for business.
What are Social Networks?
Traditionally, a social network has been defined as a set of people who have ties to each other, whether for business, friendship, work, kinship, etc.
The “social networks” as we know them, allowed these groups of people to meet in a virtual environment, becoming websites made up of communities of people who have things in common. And, in its beginnings, websites only allowed one-way communication and very little interaction.
Today, social networks give prominence to users and the communities they make up . These sites facilitate communication between people, the exchange of information (such as photos, videos and more) and allow them to meet new people, further expanding their network.
Think about the groups of friends you have, be they from college, work or your family. Each of those groups is a social network that you have.
It seems little close to how we see social networks currently, does it not? Although this premise continues alive within the networks that we currently use.
In the end, the main function of a social network is to connect people within the virtual world, either to build new social connections or just to maintain existing ones. The success achieved by the social networks we know, such as Facebook and Whatsapp, is undeniable. We can hardly imagine our social interactions without their presence and that shows the strength of these platforms, which take over the world as we know it.
Social Media or Social Networks?
You probably already got confused between networks and social media. But it is important to clarify that they are not the same thing. Therefore, we are going to differentiate them right now.
As I already told you, social networks are the groups of connections and relationships that we have with other people. And social media are platforms that ensure that happens.
Still confused? It is clear when we understand that both can serve as platforms to maintain our relationship networks, however, social networks have this as their main characteristic and are within what we classify as social media.
While social media are platforms that have as their main function, the mass exchange of content and transmission of information, such as blogs, pages and even YouTube itself.
Summarizing all that, we can affirm that social networks are a category within social media. Places where we can interact with people we know, but in which we are exposed at all times to an immensity of content.
The History Of Social Networks
The human being has the need to relate. Therefore, social networks have always existed. But here we are going to show the history of social networks in the online environment.
And it was exactly because of wanting to find the people that social networks emerged.
Imagine managing to contact your friends at school easily online! What is currently super easy and affordable was a tremendous novelty in the 1990s. With this idea, in 1995, the world’s first social network idea, ClassMates , emerged that still exists.
But if we think of a social network like the ones we have today, with chat, exchange of opinions, profiles and publications, Six Degrees was the first, in 1997.
Although it was not as successful as Friendster, whose purpose was to help users find a partner and which became real in 2002. It achieved 3 million users in just a few months, having its end decreed by the server, which could not bear the overwhelming number of accesses.
In the same year, LinkedIn was launched , the professional social network that today is still the most popular.
In 2003 MySpace was born , which dethroned Friendster in a short time, and in 2004, Facebook emerged , which by 2008 had already taken the first place from MySpace.
Facebook emerged as a platform to connect students from Harvard University, USA, and today it remains undefeated as the most popular social network in the world. However, the other networks have managed to reinvent themselves, which has kept them in force until today.
Twitter, for its part, was born in 2006, Tumblr in 2007, Instagram in 2010, Snapchat and Google + in 2011.
What are The Types Of Social Networks?
We can classify social networks into two categories. I will show you some examples of each:
Horizontal Social Networks
They are aimed at the general public and do not have a specific theme. Its main objective is simply to promote connections between people. Among them are:
It is the fastest growing social network worldwide, allows you to connect and interact with friends, family and meet other people.
It also offers business tools that allow them to bring brands closer to their audience and enhance their growth. Today it exceeds 2,000 million users.
It is defined as a social network but also as a microblogging platform , since it allows the publication of posts of only 280 characters (initially 140), called tweets.
Users have their profile and can follow other profiles (including brands, media, politicians, etc.) to stay up to date on their updates.
Vertical Social Networks
All specialized social networks fall into this category . There are professionals, academics, video, photography, tourism, music, to get a partner, etc. (Imagination is the limit!) .
Among vertical social networks, some of the most popular are:
The largest video sharing website on the Internet. Many do not see it as a social network, but the truth is that, by allowing users to connect and share information with each other, YouTube is classified as a social network.
This site also allows you to create and personalize your profile, upload videos, follow other channels and add your videos to your lists, comment, vote and share videos.
At 15 years old, Linkedin is the most used professional social network in the world. Its objective is to promote labor relations by putting people in contact with companies and companies with each other.
It has 500 million active users in one month, including 9 million companies located in more than 200 countries.
Advantages Of Social Networks
Companies and individuals can have great opportunities by using these means in an organized and structured way. Here we list some of the main advantages of social networks .
- They help increase traffic to your website, as you can generate content that leads to your site. You can also share information directly from your site on your social networks.
- They increase your brand awareness. Almost all social networks offer functionalities for companies, which help them build brand communities, make their messages more widely known, etc.
- They generate new connections in general. As I already mentioned, social networks help us to make new contacts, which may be new clients, suppliers, partners, etc.
- They favor direct communication with users. In addition to contributing to provide a better service, this greatly facilitates the relationship with customers and helps them to listen better to know how to adequately attend to their needs.
- They help increase sales. Especially small and medium businesses can use the tools offered by various social networks to sell directly through them.
- They are a tool for social listening and getting to know users better.
How To Assemble a Social Media Strategy
Now that you have read about what social networks are, which are the most important and their benefits, it is time to understand how this can be implemented in your strategy. So here we go:
How To Choose a Social Network For Your Company?
I imagine you already know the importance of investing in social networks. However it may be going through your head: How to choose a social network for your company?
You probably already heard that Facebook is essential for your company, or that Instagram is the best for displaying products, or that if you want a more professional audience, invest in LinkedIn. Could it be that things are that simple?
I am going to show you some essential steps to be accurate in your choices.
1. Study Each Social Network
You are already on the right track after everything you read here. But I challenge you to go further! Only then will you know what is best for you. Read the suggested links, read the e-books and look for other references.
In this way you will be able to understand the functionality of each platform, how to invest in it and which of its main benefits will be more aligned with your objectives, with your investment in social networks.
2. Know Your Person
Who is your audience? What are your online habits? What social networks are they present on? How do they use these networks?
To choose well in which networks to invest your effort, you must manage to answer these questions.
Your person is the guide of your strategy, and every information about him is a very important insight.
Learn more about how to know, understand and create yourself with ebook on the subject.
3. Analyze Your Competition
Yes, you need to know what brands do to compete for your consumer . What social networks are they on? Do they do a good job?
The intention here is to make a critical analysis of the presence of other brands, and of course, always try to do better and differentiate yourself from what already exists.
4. Think About Logistics
It is useless to have a YouTube channel if you do not have how to maintain a frequent publication frequency or the necessary resources so that your videos have quality.
In Content Marketing we follow the idea: do what you can with what you have and where you are.
However, we know that many times it is not worth entering a social network just to be there. Manage your efforts on what you can do and focus.
Surely you need to take into account other variables to choose the social network that will bring the most results for your company. But these four steps are essential and will help you a lot so you don’t regret it later.
How To Produce Content For Social Networks
But aligning both strategies consistently requires planning and consistency.
Thinking about digital marketing strategies, your blog should adopt good practices to be shared on social networks. We are going to tell you some of them:
- Produce specific images of your blog posts with your keyword in creation, this helps your readers to immediately understand what to expect when clicking on social media.
- Update the title of your publication on social networks, always thinking about how to attract attention to make your post more interesting.
- Plan an attractive description that will appear as a description of your post, this serves to prepare the reader for the content.
In addition, it is interesting to think about publications that will perform well on social networks, such as:
- Texts on some subject of much debate in the media
You may ask yourself: Shouldn’t I just share the content I produce for my website?
Despite being an important part of your strategy, this is not the only thing that should matter to you.
In a hypothetical scenario, in which your blog produces 3 weekly texts, what would you do with your social network the other days of the week? Would you leave them without any posts?
Probably not, so you need to think a lot about how to manage your content strategically, as we will see next.
What To Do When Preparing an Editorial Calendar For Social Networks
If you already have an editorial calendar for your blog, you are one step ahead. Although, the editorial calendar for social networks is a little different, since it includes different types of content.
As I mentioned before, the production of your blog is probably not going to be able to follow the volume of publications on social networks, and that is normal. However, it is up to you to plan and distribute the content appropriately. That is possible with a good editorial calendar.
I am going to tell you some important steps to create one:
1. Choose The Format That Works For You
That’s right, this is perhaps one of the most important steps. Whether by spreadsheets or in a notebook, you need to do what is going to serve you and that is scalable according to the growth of your strategy.
Be it through a calendar downloaded from the internet or an Excel spreadsheet Document everything you do!
2. Think Again Of Yourself
There is no how, everything in social networks is related to you. After all, it is the reason for everything you are doing. And now you need to have a double attention with your habits within social networks.
At what time are you most present in your networks? How often do you check your networks? All this will guide your publication days and times, essential elements of your calendar.
3. Use Your Creativity
Have you already seen any social media vacancy that did not require creativity? And that is true: whoever works in the area must succeed and know how to face any situation, and the editorial calendar is one of them.
Create interesting content for your person in addition to what your blog offers, create small content videos and give advice on your profile.
One of the ways we seek to diversify our posts is through small infographics that give a preview of what the text is going to show. But only enough to arouse the curiosity of our readers.
Also, make publications focused on showing a little of your company and who works there, that will be very useful to manage the image of your brand.
All this will complement your content strategy and help you with the results.
4. Make Adjustments When Necessary
You will notice that social networks need to accompany the world around them. Just as it is constantly evolving, your strategy needs to be there as well.
Therefore, you need to have the flexibility to change a schedule publication if a news item appears, or even cancel content that may suddenly involve controversy.
This is necessary and being very rigid with your calendar is not going to get you anywhere, but be disciplined with it.
Top Social Media Metrics
If you made it this far without understanding the importance of data and results analysis for a social media strategy, I failed in my mission. But I will solve this by showing you now what metrics you need to track to ensure your success. Join me a little more:
Reach is what will show how many users your post reached. This does not mean that they interacted with the publication or stopped to read it.
So why is this important to you? Because it will help you understand how your posts are performing according to the Facebook algorithm.
Based on this analysis, you will be able to adapt your strategy and optimize what is necessary for your publications to reach your audience .
If your social networks are not somehow bringing traffic to your website or blog, you are doing something very wrong. Understanding how you carry a user through the funnel of your company is essential and social networks have a very important role: that of acquisition.
It is here that you see who are the true followers of your brand and who is willing to interact with you. But what does interest really mean? It is the number of likes, shares and comments that your publications have.
It will mainly show you how relevant and attractive your strategy is, as well as helping you to relate to your audience.
The bigger your fan base, the more people you have the chance to reach. But, this can be a treacherous number, because the growth of your channel will not always mean a growth in interest or reach. This will totally depend on your efforts to make that happen.
When talking about treacherous, we need to talk about vanity metrics. Do you know what they are? Basically, they are numbers that will surely leave you happy, you should not feel guilty about it but they do not bring real results for your company.
Did your post have 5000 likes? Congratulations, you probably deserved it. But that will not help you make any decisions and does not provide insights on future actions. Then you can accompany them, just don’t spend as much time with them.
If you made it this far, congratulations! We hope you can take advantage of everything you have learned to take your social media strategy to another level and multiply your results.
But as we well know, it is never enough and surely you can still discover more about this incredible world of social networks.
To always carry this knowledge wherever you go and consult it when you need to, I recommend you download our free social media checklist so that your profiles are complete and meet their objectives.