The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each

The 5 Types of Social Media and Pros & Cons of Each

Marketers commonly use social media to increase brand awareness, generate leads, and improve traffic. If you’re tasked with starting a social media strategy for your company, you might be wondering which type of platforms you should be on. Your platform choice will likely change based on your audience.

The list of social media platforms is growing, and well-known platforms like Facebook are always evolving and adding new features. With a greater and greater need for a social presence and an overwhelming amount of platform choices, it can be hard to pick which social channels to use.

You might not want to spread yourself too thin by managing a channel on every imaginable platform, but you also don’t want to miss great brand-awareness opportunities.

To help you make informed decisions about which platforms to use, this post will guide you through some of the core types of social media, examples of platforms within each category, and the pros and cons that each type might present. By the end, you should have a much clearer idea of what kind of social media strategy will work for your business.

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Social Networking

Examples of Major Platforms

Social networking is possibly the most traditional form of social media.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are often called “networking” platforms because they allow user accounts to interact with each other in a variety of different ways.

Professional Uses

If you’re a small business, like a restaurant, a platform like Facebook could be a great place to start your social strategy. With Facebook, you can build a business profile that includes links to your website and details about your menu.

Once your profile is all set up, you can post regular updates about your business, “like” other pages, and answer customer post comments or messages. Business profiles also allow other Facebook users to give you reviews.

For companies looking to offer a professional service, B2B or publishing companies, LinkedIn is another great way to grow your following. LinkedIn emphasizes career-related networking.

Brands looking to build an audience of professionals from a certain industry can create a business profile there, categorize it with an industry type, and then use posts and messaging to publish updates. They can also use messaging and comment features to interact with their audiences, or users who comment on their posts.

A Twitter account could be helpful to companies in a wide spectrum of industries, from entertainment to e-commerce. This platform similarly allows you to create a profile where you can list and link company information.

You can then use Twitter to post about company updates, tag companies or customers in posts, retweet positive customer tweets, and respond to customer questions via tweet or direct messages. Like Facebook, you can also post content like photos or videos.

On all three networks, users can easily communicate with others through simple actions like tagging, hashtagging, commenting, private messaging, reacting to posts, and re-sharing content.

Aside from social interaction, newsfeeds on common social networking platforms are designed to show off a mix of text and visuals, rather than one primary content type.

This flexibility makes social networking platforms easy to begin a social strategy on because you can experiment with different forms of content before branching out to platforms that require more specific content types.

Here’s an example of Facebook’s newsfeed:

Facebook newsfeed

For those who want to dabble in video or graphics, these platforms could be a great place to test this new content. With the growth of video marketing, many have begun to launch more advanced features like Facebook Stories and Twitter’s live streams.

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have also started to encourage native video and photo uploads more heavily. Recently, Facebook even adjusted its algorithms to favor live video and image uploads. This has caused these types of native content to gain greater user engagement.

If you’re still not sure where to get started, check out our beginner’s guides for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Photo Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Two of the biggest platforms that specialize in photo sharing are Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram offers a visual feed with posts showing photos and short videos followed by a caption. Users can also post live video or create Instagram Stories that disappear after one day. Like the social networking platforms above, users can interact with others through tags, likes, comments, or direct message.

Professional Uses

This platform would be helpful to companies like restaurants or stores that want to photograph and display and update followers about their food, goods, or products in a crisp, clean way.

Instagram has become a home to influencer marketing, as 93% of influencer campaigns took place on the platform in 2018. It also offers opportunities for advertising and ecommerce because of its highly-visual layout.

Unlike some social platforms, Instagram emphasize visuals and doesn’t allow link sharing directly in posts. Basic users on Instagram can only share links in their bio. Verified users, or accounts with over 10,000 followers, can post links in their Stories.

To show you how visual the platform is, here’s a look at Instagram’s search feed:

Instagram search feed

Although basic users have minimal linking options, Instagram has tried to make the platform even more friendly for ecommerce businesses with the addition of Shoppable posts.

Pinterest is well-suited for ecommerce companies, such as those who sell home goods, and businesses that would like a place to share crisp standalone product images with links.

It similarly offers a photo-based feed with posts that can include a photo and short description. Unlike Instagram, it allows all users to link directly to websites or product landing pages in posts.

One interesting aspect of the platform is that users can heart posts from others, or assign them to a themed “board.” For example, users might make boards centered around topics like “Inspirational Quotes” or “Bedroom products.”

Once a board is created, other users can also follow it. A business could potentially make a board with their own product posts, or find their products on another user’s board.

Here’s an example of what a board looks like:

Pinterest Home and DIY board

Before getting started on one or both of these platforms, you’ll want to determine whether your goal is to gain brand awareness or link-based traffic.

While Instagram and Pinterest can both be helpful tools for product shots and brand awareness, Instagram’s active audience is much larger than Pinterest’s. Instagram has also hosted over 25 million business profiles.

When choosing a platform, you may want to consider your content-related bandwidth. Both require visual imagery, but you might also need to include video creation within your Instagram strategy. Here’s a great guide that demonstrates what it takes to gain followers on Instagram.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Platforms like Instagram help with brand awareness. Approximately 60% of people say they’ve learned about products or services on Instagram.
  • Pinterest and Instagram provide an outlet for showing off visual content or product shots.
  • Platforms like Instagram also allow you to experiment with visual or short video content

Cons

  • Upkeep on these platforms might require a photo budget or dedicated production time.
  • Some platforms, like Instagram, require you to post from a mobile app.

Video Sharing

Examples of Major Platforms

Professional Uses

Roughly 88% of marketers say video gives them a strong ROI and 90% feel the level of video competition has increased. Adding a video platform to your social strategy could make your brand look relevant and keep you up to speed with your competitors.

Video can be helpful to a wide range of industries. While a restaurant could have a vlog with cooking tips, a technology company might focus its video strategy around product demos.

To help you pin down a strategy that’s right for your industry and service, check out our video marketing guide.

When it comes to long-form video, Youtube and Vimeo are the leading platforms. While Youtube has the bigger audience base and better SEO capabilities, Vimeo’s smaller platform is very community driven.

Youtube also seems to have better opportunities for advertisers and monetization, while Vimeo offers viewers the perk of no pre-roll ads.

For a longer list of similarities and differences, check out this head-to-head piece where we compare the business capabilities of Vimeo and YouTube.

Along with Youtube and Vimeo, the more traditional social networking platforms have also begun to embrace video marketing more aggressively. In the last few years, Facebook launched Facebook Stories and Facebook Live, and added a tab on their mobile app dedicated to video. Meanwhile, Twitter has allowed users to launch live video streams which are powered by its Periscope software.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Interactive Media

Examples of Major Platforms

Apps like Snapchat and TikTok allow users to share photos and videos, they also have a variety of unique interactive and highly experimental features. These two apps include AR/VR filters, musical overlays, and interactive games. Their audience bases are also prominently Gen-Z.

Professional Uses

Because mainly large companies are just starting to experiment with these new applications, marketers who are just beginning a social strategy don’t need to prioritize these interactive apps before traditional social networking platforms.

The large companies on these platforms tend to produce high production-level content. Brands with large followings might also publish Snapchat Stories, or videos that are curated from fans. Without a high-budget or giant online following, these strategies might be difficult for a company that’s just starting out on social.

Brands and influencers on these apps tend to cater their content to the platforms’ younger audiences. For example, on Snapchat, you might see stories that present beauty tutorials, wellness tips, news, or trendy new products.

If you’re really interested in interactive media, there are still a few viable ways you could get involved with Snapchat or TikTok.

While major brands, like VICE and BuzzFeed have become Snapchat Discover partners, the average business can still create a Snapchat business account that can be searched and friended by users. This account allows you to send publish temporary stories, just like individual accounts can. However, those with a business account can also purchase ad space.

Here’s a comprehensive video that explains how to use Snapchat:

If you’ve set up an account, check out this guide to getting started on Snapchat.

TikTok, an app based around short, repetitive clips — similar to Vine — offers five types of advertising options for businesses. While large businesses may find value in all five, smaller businesses may lean more towards “In-Feed Ads.” These ads are 9-15 second clips that can be skipped by the user.

Guess is one notable brand that has used its account to create trending campaigns with trendy hashtags. Universal Pictures has also had influencers create posts to promote its films.

If you do test out these platforms, you might want to make sure your industry and content fits in with the young age demographic. You should also try to properly estimate the time and money that might go into keeping these accounts up to date and relevant.

Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

  • Producing regular content could be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Business accounts aren’t promoted up-front on the Snapchat interface. You may want to promote your channel on your website or other social channels because users will need to search for you with your Snapcode or username.
  • Snapchat and TikTok are limited to mobile and aren’t as easy to use.

Blogging/Community

Examples of Major Platforms

Tumblr and Reddit both allow users to post about interesting niche topics, like memes, events, politics, and pop-culture. When users publish a post, these platforms allow other users to share them or add to the conversation with their own commentary.

Professional Uses

Both blogging and community building platforms could be helpful to those who want to encourage discussion around very niche industries or topics. For example, on these platforms, you might see discussion about anything from alternative health to machine learning.

By blogging, you can write posts about topics in your company’s industry and link them to your product or site. While many people have a blog on their website, platforms like Tumblr might be great to use if you haven’t set this feature up — or just want to see what others in your industry are blogging about.

With a discussion site like Reddit, you could share a link or a post about a specific topic on a discussion board related to your industry and see how users respond. You could also start your own board if a topic you’re looking to encourage discussion on doesn’t have one yet.

These two platforms specifically encourage web chatter and post shares from users that care about the same topics.

Both also allow users to follow you or subscribe to your blogs or Reddit boards so your content could show up on their feeds. Here’s an example of what Reddit’s feed looks like.

Reddit feed

When someone publishes something on Reddit, other users can up-vote or down-vote it. Up-voting makes a post show up higher in Reddit feeds while down-voting does the opposite.

On Tumblr, the feeds are organized by time. However, a post can show up higher when it is re-shared by other users. When a user shares or interacts with your Tumblr content, they give it a note. When they reshare, they have the option to post a comment with the post that gets added to a thread.

Here’s an example of how notes and threads can be used to encourage discussion:

Tumblr music recommendation thread

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Both platforms allow you to share text posts, photos, and videos about your business, brand, or individual thoughts.
  • These platforms enable you to start conversations about a topic.
  • Both platforms allow linking to outside websites.

Cons

  • Longer blog posts might take time to craft or write.
  • Getting downvoted on Reddit or no reaction from Tumblr users means your posts may go unseen.
  • Your audience might be too niche or limited to just those on the specific platform you use.

A Few Things to Consider

Before you start logging in and setting up your accounts on a bunch of platforms, be sure to consider these factors:

  • How much time do you have to devote to strategizing around a social platform?
  • Do you have resources for creating graphics or videos?
  • Do your goals involve boosting brand awareness, or traffic and revenue?
  • Will you need an additional staff member to run this platform, or will it be easy to maintain?

Once you’re on a platform or two, be sure to stay in the know of how it’s changing and what marketers are doing. For a current outlook, check out our Ultimate Guide to Social Media Marketing.

social media content calendar

9 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2021 [Data + Expert Tips]

9 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2021 [Data + Expert Tips]

As we near the end of 2020, one thing is certain: We’ve spent a lot of time on social media this year.

But, our increased connection to social media isn’t at all shocking.

In March, as countries implemented stay-at-home orders due to the global pandemic, Statista reported a 21% uptick in monthly social media usage.

Throughout the year, consumers have not only continued to use social channels to catch up with loved ones, but they’ve also embraced them for product research, the latest news coverage, and hours of mindless entertainment. 

Now, as the world hits 3.6 billion social media users and continues to deal with the pandemic, brands aren’t just wondering how they’ll engage huge social media audiences next year. They’re also asking, “What social media trends should I expect in this constantly changing landscape?”

To learn more about what brands can expect next year, I spoke with HubSpot’s Social Media Manager Kelly Hendrickson and dug through research including HubSpot and Talkwalker’s Social Media Trends Report.

Below, I’ve compiled nine expert or research-backed trends social media marketers should watch or leverage in 2021.

Download Now: Social Media Trends in 2021 [Free Report]

1. Brands will continue to take a “less is more” posting approach.

This year, many brands spent less time churning out social media posts and more time producing only content that felt thoughtful, valuable, and in-touch with the world around them.

According to Hendrickson, the trend of “less is more” is likely to continue in 2021. 

“COVID-19 had brands starting to ask a question they may have never asked themselves before: ‘Does my audience even want to hear from me right now?’,” Hendrickson says.

“I expect we’ll see brands being more thoughtful about when they post. This may even mean posting less — regardless of algorithms — because it’s the right thing to do,” Hendrickson explains. “There will also be more thoughtful ad buys and partnerships.”

“Never before has ensuring your audience obtains true value from your brand meant so much,” Hendrickson adds.

2. Content value will beat production quality.

When many businesses were forced to go completely remote in 2020, social media and video marketing teams needed develop scalable production processes that could be done from home

When consumers still continued to engage with videos, live streams, and other social media content that was clearly made from home offices, marketers realized that content with lower production quality can still be engaging — if it provides value. 

“COVID19 forced many brands to get scrappy when it came to producing content, especially video work,” Hendrickson explains. “Without a production studio or tons of equipment available, production value became a bit more lo-fi and in the end, but also a bit more human.”

“The exciting thing for brands is that — generally — audiences loved it. If anything, they saw themselves more in the work,” Hendrickson adds. “They too were on Zoom, filming things with their phones, or stuck in their homes.”

Hendricks predicts that “we’ll see bare bones productions in 2021. But, audiences will continue to appreciate it.”

3. Conversational marketing will change its tone.

Conversational marketing isn’t new. In fact, most of the big brands we know and love allow you to connect with them via social media messaging channels at any time. 

But, in 2021, with more messaging channels than ever — and consumers needing more information to make a worthy investment —  the tone of digital conversations might change. 

For example, while past conversational marketing tactics centered around promotions and making sales as quickly as possible, 2021’s conversational marketers might be more focused on helping a user with something, educating them about a product, and nurturing them to conversion with a more thoughtful or empathic tone.

“Brands need to be more human on social media, inviting the world to your dinner table for a meaningful and engaging conversation,” says Aaron Kaufman, Director of Social Media at Square Enix in our Social Media Trends Report. “You are your fan’s greatest fans and need to embody that no matter what social media channel you live on. Emote, respond, recognize, relate, be engaging. We’re not robots.

So, how will brands deal with more demand for thoughtful conversational marketing? A mix of AI tools and human interaction could help. 

A healthy combination of AI and human interaction could enable brands to run efficiently on social media while still giving consumers the authenticity they need to see to trust a brand and make a purchase. For example, a bot could handle quick message queries, while sales, service, or community management reps could respond to more complex questions and concerns. 

To learn more about scaling up your conversational marketing strategy, check out this guide to building a chatbot or learn how HubSpot increased qualified leads with by mixing human and bots in our conversational marketing.

4. Consumers will crave snackable content.

In 2020, we saw the rise of TikTok and Instagram Reels, continued engagement on Stories content from Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, and brands creating other short-form or “snackable” pieces content to educate consumers about their brand. 

As social media attention spans continue to shrink and more people scroll endlessly through feeds while bored at home, don’t expect snackable content to lose steam anytime soon. 

To learn more about four types of snackable content your brand should leverage next year, check out this helpful post. 

4. Video will continue to take center stage. 

Early in 2020, HubSpot’s Not Another State of Marketing Report found that video was the most commonly used marketing content — and the second most engaging content type on social media. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 2.59.58 PMImage Source

As major platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn increasingly amp up their video capabilities, marketers can expect high video consumption to continue and grow in coming years. 

5. More brands will go live.

In 2019, one in five Facebook videos were live. In May of that year, YouTube users cumulatively spent 284 hours watching live video.

In 2020, as many brands were forced to take conferences, events, and other marketing experiences online, it’s not shocking to think that 2020 live stream numbers could be higher. 

At the moment, many brands are using Facebook, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter to live stream events, Q&As, tutorials and other types of content. These types of content keep your followers engaged with your brand by bringing an event they otherwise might not be able to attend directly to their screens.

For example, each year, INBOUND interviews some of its noteworthy speakers and guests in live INBOUND Studio episodes on Facebook. This allows followers who can’t join us to get live tips from experts. It also allows followers of interviewed experts to learn more about INBOUND and HubSpot.

To learn more about going live online, check out this guide to live streaming, as well as these tips for marketing your next virtual event

6. Social media platforms could double as shopping channels.

As many brands learned how to do business completely online, platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and TikTok raced to develop more online business marketing solutions.

While TikTok and Snapchat expanded business marketing offerings in 2020, Facebook and Instagram actually brought shopping capabilities directly to their apps. 

With Facebook Shops, Instagram Shoppable posts, consumers can buy a product seen in a post without even leaving the app they’re on.

For consumers, this adds convenience. For brands that couldn’t build their own ecommerce store, the online shopping tools noted above are providing new opportunities to effectively sell products online. 

8. Social media users will embrace gaming and VR.

In the last year, the number of social media users who identify as “gamers” increased by more than 10 million — or 32%. Our Social Media Trends Report reveals that the highest uptick in gamer identification happened in COVID-19’s heaviest lockdown months.

Now, with Facebook’s company, Oculus, launching new VR products, Twitch continuing to expand online game-streaming capabilities, and platforms like Snapchat launching mini-game apps, it’s clear that gamification and social media will continue to go hand in hand in 2021. 

As a small to medium-business marketer, gaming-related promotions might be inaccessible now, but with Facebook and other major platforms continuing to launch brand tools around their newest features — it’s not shocking to think that more social media in-game advertising opportunities could be possible in the future. 

Brands should keep an eye out for game-related promotions in 2021.

Even if advertorial game content becomes available to big brands but not smaller companies, marketers can still watch what bigger companies are doing and hit the ground running with fresh ideas if gamified promotion become more scalable.

9. Authenticity will be vital.

This year, consumers and brands faced a global pandemic, uncertain financial times, and a number of major events that paused nations in front of news channels.

Now, consumers need more than just great deals to trust, identify with, and invest in a brand. At this point, many brands have taken notice by embracing authenticity and their human side on social media.

While some brands have spoken directly about their thoughts related to COVID-19 or other news items, others have shown authenticity by zoning on their customers through user-generated content or customer testimonials. 

When done authentically, both strategies can help brands gain trust from their audiences while boosting awareness as a company that cares about people.

“We will continue to see the growth in creators in
the social media space. Influencers will continue
to be present, but accountability, authenticity,
and transparency will be the areas brands and
companies will use to determine who to partner
with, and who to pass on,” says Karen Freberg in our Social Media Trends Report. “Empathy and advocacy will be elements that will be integrated within messages and purposes for creator campaigns. The days of ‘faking it till you make it’ without any experience other than having lots of followers are over.”

In 2021, expect authenticity to take center stage on social media as successful brands continue to build trust from their audiences.

Navigating Social Media in 2021

Today, the world around us is constantly changing. And, although we think we know what to expect with social media, this list of trends is likely not exhaustive of what we’ll see in 2021.

As a social media marketer, the best thing you can do is to continue to research trends, online consumer behaviors, and your team’s social media data to determine which trends or strategies to lean into or how to navigate unprecedented online scenarios. 

One great place to start doing this research could be our HubSpot and Talkwalker’s recent Social Media Trends Report.

Along with insights and quotes from social media experts, our Social Media Trends Report walks through all the major 2021 trend predictions to know about and data on how COVID-19 could impact social media marketing. to see the free report, click here or the banner below.

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RedTrack Review: a True Affiliate Tracking Platform for the Expert Media Buyer?

RedTrack Review: a True Affiliate Tracking Platform for the Expert Media Buyer?

Lithuania based affiliate tracking platform has the goal of helping media buyers and affiliate marketers get higher ROI in their campaigns. The platform supports various kinds of data deployment such as SaaS, Cloud, Web, and many more. 

Many people applaud RedTrack not just for its high-quality affiliate tracking and analytics platform but also for its top-notch customer support. Aside from the swift response of the team, RedTrack also provides training materials for new customers to help them in the onboarding process. 

Quick Summary

Here is a quick summary of the things you can do with RedTrack:

  • Fast click redirects
  • Get instant reports
  • Access advanced analytics
  • Smart links optimization
  • Access a high-loaded interface and custom dashboard

Although RedTrack doesn’t share the exact same level of popularity as Binom and Voluum, it does receive a lot of good props from former clients. Let’s take a look at its features to see if it’s really as good as people say it is. 

Let get a quick overview of what RedTrack is before we dive into the features.

Fraud Detection

RedTrack is integrated with FraudScore which is an AI-powered fraud protection platform. With that, you will be protected from bots-induced traffic that reflects as part of your traffic spend. 

To avail of this service, you would just need to add an extra fee to your plan. You could also test out this feature in the trial version but know that fraud detection does not automatically foreplay in your account unless you ask customer support prior. 

Cookieless Era Tracking

With privacy concerns now being a hot topic because of the Zuck himself. Tracking was solely dependant on cookies. But browsers such as Safari and Firefox are disabling cookies for their consumers. RedTrack evolved fast and now has cookieless tracking.

This makes tracking a bit harder as cookies are like a kid that had too much chocolate chips cookies, you know he was in the chocolate chip cookie jar. Without cookies, RedTrack now uses no reference data to properly track your clicks.

Quick Features to Point Out

The campaign tracker comes with an instant start. Even without servers, you get fast redirects anywhere in the world. You’ll get your reports in real-time.

RedTrack is integrated with AI technology which will help you gain better ROI. Each click that has been based on past performance will be distributed through data Al-based algorithms and this is what will lead to your maximum ROIs. 

This pertains to the use of LP tracking pixels in conducting rotation offers as well as split testing. 

Using an AB Test to a complex ruling system, you can boost traffic distribution through smart streams based on custom parameters and presets. 

RedTrack lets you group data across several variables that you can easily save. The advantage of using custom dashboards is that you are able to efficiently drill-down reports to find winning combinations of these data. 

This platform is equipped with an advanced and powerful infrastructure that will support all of your campaigns with performance indicators across various GEOs. 

  • Multi Access With Settings

You can share access to your RedTrack account with the rest of your team. The best part is that you can customize the settings so that you only give them access to certain data. 

  • Traffic Source Management Automation

This feature lets you automatically  do the following:

  1. Pause campaigns
  2. Blacklist placements
  3. Update costs
  4. Pause creatives

RedTrack Pros And Cons

RedTrack is a decent affiliate tracker alternative for BeMob, Voluum, and Binom. While it lets you enjoy a lot of excellent features that you won’t find anywhere else, it requires you to have a willingness to really explore and master RedTrack since most of these awesome features are well-hidden.