Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram…. Sure you use apps like these every day, but do you know for sure what they are? What makes social media different from blogging platforms, forums, etc.? In this content we address the subject in detail.
There is no longer a society without the internet. Can you imagine not googling things or staying connected with your friends and family during your day? Probably not.
The dominance of the internet and its influence in our lives is huge, mainly with digital marketing and digital transformation so present. Currently more than 3.8 billion people around the world are connected to the virtual world.
Now that you know the multitude of Internet users, ask yourself: What is your biggest reason for being 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 in a very clear way what makes a social network receive this name, how these spaces arose and what advantages they offer for businesses.
What are social networks?
Traditionally, a social network has been defined as a set of people who have links with each other, whether due to business, friendship, work, relationship, 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 the beginning, websites only allowed one-way communication and very little interaction.
Today, social networks give prominence to users and the communities that 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 today, doesn’t it? Although this premise continues to live within the networks we currently use.
In the end, the main function of a social network is to connect people within the virtual world, whether 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 are probably already 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 that 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 to an immensity of content at all times.
The history of social media
The human being has the need to relate. That is why 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 out of wanting to find people that social media emerged.
Imagine being able to contact your school friends easily online! What is now super easy and affordable, was a tremendous novelty in the 90s. With this idea came, in 1995, the world’s first social network idea, ClassMates , which 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 got 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 is still the most popular today.
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’ll 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 in the world, it allows you to connect and interact with friends, family and meet other people.
It also offers tools for businesses that allow them to bring brands closer to their public and boost 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 publishing posts of only 280 characters (initially 140), called tweets.
Users have their profile and can follow other profiles (including brands, media, politicians, etc.) to keep up to date on their updates.
Vertical social media
All specialized social networks fall into this category . There are professionals, academics, video, photography, tourism, music, to find a partner, etc. (Imagination is the limit!) .
Among the 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 customize your profile, upload videos, follow other channels and add their videos to your lists, comment, vote and share videos.
With 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 a month, including 9 million companies located in more than 200 countries.
Advantages of social networks
Companies and individuals can have great opportunities when 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.
- Increase your brand awareness. Almost all social networks offer functionalities for companies, which help them build brand communities, disseminate their messages, 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 helping to provide a better service, this greatly facilitates the relationship with customers and helps to listen to them 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 build 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 that 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 have probably already heard that Facebook is essential for your company, or that Instagram is the best to showcase products, or that if you want a more professional audience, invest in LinkedIn. Could it be that things are that simple?
I’m 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 dare 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. Get to know yourself
Who is your audience? What are your online habits? In what social networks are they present? How do they use these networks?
To choose well which networks to invest your effort in, you must be able to answer these questions.
Your person is the guide of your strategy, and every information about it is a very important insight.
Learn more about how to know, understand and create your persona with this ebook on the subject .
3. Analyze your competition
Yes, you need to know what brands do to compete for your customer . 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 it better and differentiate ourselves from what already exists.
4. Think about logistics
It is useless if you have a YouTube channel if you do not have the ability to maintain a frequent frequency of publications 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 in what you can do and have 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 they will help you a lot not to regret it later.
How to produce content for social networks
If you have a content marketing strategy , you probably already invest in social media as well. In the end, they are essential for the propagation of your content.
But aligning both strategies consistently requires planning and consistency.
Thinking about digital marketing strategies, your blog must 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 on 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 of publications that will perform well on social networks, such as:
- Texts about a topic 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 publication?
Probably not, so you need to think a lot about how to manage your content strategically, as we will see below.
What to do when creating an editorial calendar for social media
If you already have an editiorial calender for your blog, you are already one step ahead. Although, the editorial calendar for social networks is a bit different, as it includes different types of content.
As I mentioned earlier, your blog production is probably not going to keep up with the volume of posts on social media, and that’s normal. However, it is up to you to plan and distribute the content properly. 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. Either by spreadsheets or in a notebook, you need to do what is going to serve you and be scalable according to the growth of your strategy.
Either through a calendar downloaded from the internet or an Excel spreadsheet . Document everything you do!
2. Think again about yourself
There is no way, everything in social networks is related to you. Ultimately, it is the reason for everything you are doing. And now you need to have a redoubled attention with their habits within social networks.
At what time are you most present on your networks? How often do you check your networks? All of this will guide your publication days and times, the main elements of your calendar.
3. Use your creativity
Have you already seen any social media vacancy that didn’t have creativity as a requirement? And that’s true: whoever works in the area has to manage to get ahead and know how to face any situation, and the editorial calendar is one of them.
Create interesting content for yourself 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 just enough to arouse the curiosity of our readers.
Also, make publications focused on showing a bit of your company and who works there, that will be very useful to manage your brand image.
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 this is constantly evolving, your strategy needs to be too.
Therefore, it is necessary that you have the flexibility to change a publication of the schedule if a news item emerges, or even cancel content that may suddenly involve a 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 got this far without understanding the importance of data and results analysis for a social media strategy, I failed in my mission. But I’ll 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 post or stopped to read it.
So why is this important to you? Because it will help you understand how your publications are performing according to the Facebook algorithm.
Based on this analysis, you will be able to adapt your strategy and optimize whatever 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 lead 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 the true followers of your brand are 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 has been, in addition to helping you relate to your audience.
The bigger your fan base, the more people you have the possibility of reaching. But, this can be a treacherous number, as the growth of your channel is not always going to mean 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 make you happy, you should not feel guilty about that but they do not bring real results for your company.
Did your post have 5000 likes? Congratulations, you probably deserved it. But that won’t help you make any decisions and doesn’t provide insights on future actions. Then you can accompany them, just don’t spend so 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 with you wherever you go and consult it when you need it, I recommend you download our free social media checklist so that your profiles are complete and meet their objectives.