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Social Media Networks Roundup: Which Ones Matter to You?

Posted by Christine B. Whittemore on Oct 28, 2014 8:30:00 AM

This is a 9 minute read.

Social-Media-Explained-BaconSocial media and the various social media networks continue to morph rapidly. I hadn't realized how much until I undertook a research project focused on how younger users have embraced social media.

Social Media Networks Roundup Background

My research focused on 9 social media networks: Facebook, Flickr, Google+, Instagram, Meetup, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube. It included overview resources, which mentioned others, too.

Several of these networks are ones I have been immersed in since launching my first blog in 2006 - for example, Flickr is how I hosted or found images for my blog; I experimented on Twitter with the marketing bloggers I had connected with, and did the same of Facebook when it opened up to non-college people. Meetup is a fabulous resource for connecting with like-minded people.

Two are ones I have little experience with: Vimeo and Tumblr. I favor YouTube - where I created a series called 'A Foot's Perspective' in 2008 - for video content and Blogger for written content instead.

Instagram and Google+ are the newer kids on the block. Instagram is fascinating because it is the first mobile focused social network.

Insights Resulting From this Social Media Network Roundup

I'll be honest... I didn't expect this project to be as interesting as it wound up being. I didn't expect to be surprised, either. 

From a big picture perspective, Social Media Networks are becoming more mainstream as younger and older users get increasingly involved online (e.g., Facebook and Twitter).

At the same time, social networks are getting more niche and specialized - for example, Vimeo has a rich community of film makers; Tumblr is host to very focused groups. Instagram makes sense on a mobile device, not on a desktop.

To that point, the mobile experience matters. Although the Meetup desktop experience makes it easier to create events and scan through event photos, the Meetup app makes it easy to take photos during events. Few (no?) new social networks can survive without a mobile angle.

Flickr remains the most effective resource for finding Creative Commons images. It's also home to serious photographers. Value comes from getting deeply immersed with people who share common interests with you.

From a marketing perspective, it's important to appreciate how social media networks are evolving tools. Depending on which groups use them, they take on new meaning and features. For example, in the early days of Twitter, it was a magical place for meeting like-minded marketers. It's now a hip kid hangout where superstars can easily connect with fans.

As social media morphs, grows, and increases in number, it's increasingly impossible to effectively be on all networks at the same time. That means that it's critical to know your customer and where s/he hangs out. If you aren't sure, test and experiment. 

Finally, as social networks grow (both in terms of increased participation and new networks), the noise level increases. How then to find meaning? Readjust filters for increased relevance? Pay attention to other networks (I've recently heard of folks shifting from Twitter to LinkedIn for better quality interaction)? Prune your followers?  I think we'll hear more about this challenge.

You'll find my resources listed below organized by social media network. I've also added a link to Mary Meeker's 2014 State of the Internet presentation for added perspective about what to expect for the future. I welcome your thoughts and perspectives.

Social Media Network Overview Resources:

From Pew Internet:

From other sources:

I created this chart to put into perspective the various social networks in terms of their age, their overall registered users and their U.S. users. I find that, too often, the size of the network isn't accurately described in a way that is meaningful to what is happening in this part of the world.

Social-media-Networks-Numbers-2014_(600x336)

Facebook Data

Flickr Data

Google+ Data

Instagram Data

Meetup Data

Tumblr Data

Twitter Data

Vimeo Data

YouTube Data

Final Social Thoughts

Finally, I promised to share with you Mary Meeker's State of the Internet Trends Presentation for 2014. (Check out What Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report Means For The Future Of Content for added perspective.)

I realize I've given you more than plenty to digest. 

That said, I'd love to hear your take on the evolution of social networks. Which ones matter to you? Which ones do you no longer use the same way you did when you first started with them? Which ones can you no longer live without? How are you managing your networks for meaning? What are you noticing about how those around you - young and old - are using social media?

Thanks for reading and sharing.

C.B.

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Image credit: Social Media Explained

Topics: B2B Social Media, Digital Marketing

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