What Are Social Networking Platforms? (Plus Uses And Types)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 December 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Social media networking is a common way for people to interact and connect with each other. Individuals, businesses and other entities use such platforms to communicate with others and promote themselves. Learning how social media networking works can help you understand it better and determine if you want to make a career in this field. In this article, we define social networking, discuss different types of social media platforms and share information about top social media jobs.

Related: The Benefit Of Networking (And How To Network Effectively)

What Is Social Networking?

Social networking is the practice of connecting with friends, family, colleagues and other important people, like customers and clients. Today, the term predominantly refers to using social media websites to accomplish this goal. With the use of technology platforms, social media networking helps develop, sustain and maintain personal and business relationships. Social media websites also allow an exchange of ideas, information, content and messages.

People may use social media technology to stay connected with friends, family members and other people, like colleagues. Most social media websites allow sharing photos, videos, text and other forms of media. People may also use their social media profiles to connect with people outside their immediate network and interact with strangers who have similar interests. Businesses and brands use social media networking to engage their audience, improve brand recognition and promote their products and services. They also usually use such networks to collect customer feedback and resolve their queries.

Related: How To Build A Successful Social Media Marketing Strategy

Uses Of Social Networking Platforms

Social media networking can have a personal, creative or business purpose. Many marketers consider social media-based networking to be one of the most effective forms of promotion. Here are the different uses of social media networking websites:

Interact with family, friends and acquaintances

The initial and foremost goal of nearly all social media platforms is to help people connect with their family members, friends, colleagues or other people like celebrities they like. Social media websites can be particularly helpful for family members who do not stay close to each other or frequently travel due to work commitments. These platforms help people sustain friendships and relationships by helping them share updates, life events, pictures and videos with their loved ones.

Promote brands and businesses

Businesses use social media platforms to promote their products and services, engage customers and share company updates. This is particularly important for customer-facing companies as they can directly interact with their consumers and clients. Many businesses also have dedicated customer service social media channels that respond to queries and complaints and help customers with their orders. The increasing importance and popularity of the role of social media managers indicate that businesses consider social media marketing to be vital.

Related: What Is A Social Media Manager? Skills And Qualifications

Generate leads

Social media marketing can help businesses generate leads and connect them to relevant prospects. Business and customer-facing organisations can benefit from running targeted promotional marketing campaigns on social media platforms. They can also run paid ad campaigns on these platforms that allow a larger reach and engagement with the target audience. Expert social media strategists and advertisers can help businesses generate leads from social media and increase revenue.

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Improve online viewership and reach

Businesses may use social media platforms to augment their existing marketing strategy and assets. For example, a digital marketing company may promote their blogs, white papers and reports using popular social media platforms to increase their viewership. Similarly, news organisations can use social media platforms to disseminate information and improve the readership of their website.

Related: Digital Marketing Job Description (With Job Examples)

Find like-minded individuals

Many people join social media platforms to interact with people who share their interests. Most social media websites have features that allow users to view the profiles, comments and updates of strangers and other people you do not know personally. Online discussion forums, chat groups, lists, hashtags and communities are spaces where people can find like-minded individuals.

Related: Top 7 Networking Skills (How To Develop And Highlight Them)

Look for job opportunities

There are special media networking websites dedicated to professional networking and job search. These platforms help individuals look for employment opportunities, connect with peers, follow industry leaders and apply for relevant jobs. Many informal groups and forums also promote full-time and freelancing job opportunities.

Purchase, sell or exchange products

In the past few years, social media websites have become marketplaces that allow the sale, purchase and exchange of commodities. For example, people can list something they want to sell or post about their purchase requirements to connect with the right buyer. A popular example of this is how special groups with local members help facilitate the renting and leasing of apartments.

Develop a personal brand

Social media platforms can help working professionals, individuals, and marketers develop their personal brands. Many people post content to engage viewers and increase their following. There is a wide variety of content ranging from entertainment to skill development that can help people cultivate a specific brand and image. This is usually how many influencers and online celebrities begin their careers.

Related: What Is Business Networking? (With Benefits and Types)

Types Of Social Media Platforms

A variety of different social media platforms have become popular over the last decade. Here are some of them:

Personal connection social media platforms

These platforms primarily focus on helping people connect with their family, friends and acquaintances. They also have businesses, celebrities and other entities that people can follow. Facebook is the most prominent example of such a platform.

Visual social media platforms

Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and YouTube are examples of platforms that focus on image and video sharing. People can post their videos and pictures on these platforms to share with their acquaintances or the general public. Businesses also use such platforms to create more engaging marketing content.

Microblogging social media platforms

Twitter and Tumblr are popular microblogging websites that allow people to share short text-based posts. Such platforms usually have a limit on the length of the post. For example, Twitter allows a maximum of 280 characters in a single post or tweet.

Content aggregator and review social media platforms

Many platforms allow users to share content from across the internet and help create communities around interests. Reddit is a popular example of a content aggregator platform. There are also many dedicated review platforms that contain authentic user experiences and reviews.

Professional social media platforms

Professional social media websites have a business, employment or networking purpose. LinkedIn is a popular example of such a platform. The focus on such platforms is to connect with colleagues, business clients, employers and prospects.

Top Social Media Jobs

With the increasing use of social media for business purposes, roles that require the expertise of such platforms have increased. Here are some popular jobs in this industry:

1. Social Media Specialist

National average salary: ₹18,705 per month

Primary duties: Social media specialists strategise and implement engaging social media campaigns to improve customer engagement and promote the products and services of the company. They help organisations use social media platforms to communicate with their target audience effectively. They are usually experts in increasing the reach, impressions and analytics of social media posts.

2. Digital Marketer

National average salary: ₹20,388 per month

Primary duties: Digital marketers work with the sales and marketing team to execute digital marketing campaigns that generate leads, engage audiences and promote the company's products. They ensure that the brand messaging is uniform and consistent with the organisation's values. Digital marketers use different marketing strategies, like social media and content marketing, to make their campaigns effective. They require strong communication, analytical and technical skills to do their job effectively.

3. Social Media Coordinator

National average salary: ₹17,839 per month

Primary duties: Social media coordinators usually manage the operational aspect of social media posts and activities. They coordinate with different teams, creative professionals and the marketing department to ensure that the company's social media profiles have regular posts and engagement. They usually supervise a team of copywriters, designers and video editors. Social media coordinators may require skills like communication, organisation and creativity to succeed in their role.

4. Influencer

National average salary: ₹24,802 per month

Primary duties: Influencers are a type of affiliate marketers who promote certain products or services to their followers. They generally specialise in one type of content and collaborate with businesses operating in the same domain. Influencers may charge a fixed amount for every post they make on their social media profile or have a commission-based payment arrangement. Influencers with a large social media audience can earn higher payments and commissions.

Related: What Is A Brand Ambassador? Definition And Job Description

5. Influencer Marketing Manager

National average salary: ₹26,761 per month

Primary duties: Influencer marketing managers usually supervise and manage influencers exclusively. They generally have a team of influencers to manage and search for suitable collaborations with different brands and businesses. These managers may also specialise in managing influencers of particular interests or industries. They typically require strong communication, time management, persuasion, collaboration and creative skills to excel in this role.

Related: How To Write A Social Media Influencer Resume (With Tips)

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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