When I talk to people about social media marketing, the overwhelming majority of people only think about Facebook. They think social media equals Facebook. Although that makes sense given the ubiquity and widespread adoption of this social network, it is NOT the only lemonade stand on the block! Social media has proliferated and evolved into many new shapes and forms and there might be some hidden gems waiting for you and your business.
So what is social media?
Since the term “social media” was first introduced into our lexicon in 2004, the rapid changes in technologies and fragmentation into various forms of social media has been beyond belief. This evolution makes defining social media a bit slippery. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary the definition of social media is “forms of electronic communication through which users create online communities to share information, ideas, personal messages, and other content”. Alright, that makes sense so let’s take a look at all of the different types of social media platforms that fit this definition.
List of social media platforms
- Social networking sites– Facebook, Google Plus, CafeMom, Gather, Fitsugar
- Micro-blogging sites– Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous
- Publishing tools– WordPress, Blogger, Squarespace
- Collaboration tools– Wikipedia, WikiTravel, WikiBooks
- Rating/Review sites– Amazon ratings, Angie’s List
- Photo sharing sites– Flikr, Instagram, Pinterest
- Video sharing sites– YouTube, Vimeo, Viddler
- Personal broadcasting tools– Blog Talk radio, Ustream, Livestream
- Virtual worlds– Second Life, World of Warcraft, Farmville
- Location based services– Check-ins, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Yelp
- Widgets– Profile badges, Like buttons
- Social bookmarking and news aggregation– Digg, Delicious
- Group buying– Groupon, Living Social, Crowdsavings
Consider social media tools for business
As a small business owner you may feel overwhelmed with all of the options. Take a deep breath…and know that you should NOT be active in all of these social media platforms for your business. Consider your business objectives and develop a targeted social media marketing strategy while being realistic about the time and energy you are willing to expend in your social media efforts.
The main message is that there might be social media marketing alternatives to Facebook and other social networking sites that could give you a considerable business advantage. With Facebook moving to the Facebook Timeline format for all business pages (which many consider a disadvantage for small businesses) looking at alternative social media marketing platforms may be more important than ever. Before you launch your presence on any platform consider the options and what works best for your unique business. Remember, strategy before technology!
Can you think of any social media platforms that I’ve missed? Thanks for commenting!