Why you need to study Social Networking sites

If you want to be successful with social media marketing then you need to get to know the sites themselves. You need to climb inside the heads of the founders and understand the missions that drive their decisions. With Facebook, for example, it makes it much easier for you to understand what their next big move is likely to be if you understand that their goal is to connect the world.

Of course, it also helps to understand that the site’s business model revolves around monetising its users’ data and selling targeted advertisements to marketers. There was a time when you could maintain a successful presence on the world’s most popular social networking site without ads, but those days are over and if you want to reach people then you’re going to need to pay.

But while Facebook is a major player, it’s not the only social networking site that’s worth studying. Twitter is a great example of a social networking site that follows a different approach, for better or for worse. As marketers, even in the field of B2B marketing, it helps to understand how the site is placing ever-increasing emphasis on sporting events, music and other live events.

If nothing else, it shows how Twitter can be a great fit with conferences and experiential events. It’s made for living in the moment.

WHERE TO LEARN ABOUT THEM

You can find out a surprising amount about your favourite social networking sites by reading their mission statements and visiting their press areas. Many of them even provide usage statistics and other metrics that can help you to understand the bigger picture. After all, it’s easy to make the mistake of assuming that you know everything there is to know about a site when all you really know about is your own little corner of it.

Now that social networking is much more mainstream, you can also find plenty of written articles and even video documentaries that dig into how these sites work and what makes them tick. There are also loads of books out there, like Stephen Levy’s In the Plex and David Kirkpatrick’s The Facebook Effect, which dive into specific sites and social networks and cover how and why they were founded.

But ultimately, one of the best ways to get to know a social networking site is to use it. The important thing here is to use them on a personal level in your spare time so that you can see both ends of the spectrum. As a marketer, it’s easier to sell to a user if you’ve walked a mile in their shoes and you know what it’s like to use a site for fun.

CONCLUSION

Every social networking site is different, and they all have their own communities surrounding them. On YouTube, for example, there are thriving gaming and beauty communities, but there are also smaller communities like the BookTube and AuthorTube communities which focus on reading and writing. These sites are so large now that no matter what your product or service is, you can pretty much guarantee that there are people out there talking about it. Now you just need to go out and find those people. Good luck.

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Dane Cobain is a published author, freelance writer, book blogger, poet and (occasional) musician from High Wycombe, UK. Before going freelance, he worked as a social media marker, now specialising in writing about publishing, technology and marketing.