The advantages of using Social Media A look at the more popular Social Media sites

Social media has changed the world that we live in. Our thoughts have become condensed into 140 characters and we now have an outlet to post any picture or video of ourselves (no matter how embarrassing) online. Social media has also opened up all kinds of new avenues for marketing and commerce and we hope that you are taking advantage of those avenues. Today we briefly look at some of the more popular social media sites and what it is that they do.

Facebook

Facebook is something that most of us use every day and for some we use it far too much. You’re probably familiar with the story of its beginnings, after all they made a movie about it. In 2004 Mark Zuckerberg and his Harvard roommates Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes opened it first to Harvard students and expanded it to the world in 2006. It’s meteoric growth, surpassing then-giant MySpace in 2008, led to one of the most anticipated IPOs in recent history in 2012 and it became the fastest company in the history of the S&P 500 to reach a market cap of $250 billion. It is the most popular social media site on the planet with 1.86 billion users. Facebook is headquartered in Menlo Park, California with Zuckerberg as CEO and is the third largest company in the United States after Amazon and Google. Users can set up a page as either a business or an individual and it allows for an easy way to reach interested people and share photos or do simple advertising and it is accessible through every medium from a desktop to a smartphone. If your business does not have a Facebook account you should get one asap.

Twitter

Twitter is another social network that many of us cannot live without and can provide a valuable tool to reach potential and current customers. Launched in 2006 by NYU student Jack Dorsey and entrepreneurs Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams it has over 319 million users. Users tweet, or send messages no longer than 140 characters in length. Growth was fast with over 100 million tweets a quarter in 2008 and its surging popularity led to an IPO in 2013 which valued the company at around $31 billion. 2016 brought users the ability to send tweets longer than 140 characters but growth has slowed after reports of a takeover. Dorsey remains the CEO and the company is headquartered in San Francisco. Despite perceived struggles Twitter is still an easy and cost-effective way to reach potential and current customers quickly and efficiently. It is still the fastest way to release breaking news to the world as was demonstrated during the late presidential campaign when 40 million tweets were made. Twitter is available for use on every medium so if your business is not on Twitter you had better #getontwitter.

Instagram

Instagram is a photo-sharing service released in 2010 for the iOS operating system. Designed by Kevin Systrom and Mike Kreiger it lets users upload and share photos and videos and more recent updates allow users to add digital filters and geotags. Images and videos can be edited and uploaded to other social networking sites. It has been gradually expanded to other platforms like Android and even to Windows 10. The service was an instant hit gaining one million users within two months and ten million within a year. They were acquired by Facebook in 2012 for one billion dollars and stock options. Today Instagram has over 200 million active users with over two-thirds of them being female. Accounts are separated into personal and business accounts and it provides a quick and easy way to market any goods or services that a company does.

Snapchat

Along the same lines of Instagram is Snapchat. Originally developed as Picaboo for iOS in 2011 by former Stanford students Evan Spiegel, Bobby Murphy and Reggie Brown. Designed as a photo sharing service its uniqueness was that the images would disappear after a set amount of time and it also included a chat and messaging service. It was originally available only as an iOS app but despite this by November 2012 over one billion photos had been shared through it. At the end of that year short videos were allowed to be uploaded but they would be removed after one viewing. Three years later over six billion videos alone were being sent daily with 156 million worldwide users. Users can also create their own stories. The main demographic using Snapchat is millenials and many use it not necessarily because of the privacy it offers but because they find it fun to use and enjoy the community. The company has entered into many partnerships including prominently with the NFL and with NBC for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Snapchat has placed a priority in living in-the-moment rather than accumulating friends and statuses and if used properly with the right business it can be very effective at reaching a target audience.

Pinterest

Pinterest, like Snapchat and Instagram, was founded as a photo sharing site. Founded by Ben Silbermann, Paul Sciarra and Evan Sharp in 2010 as a “catalog of ideas” rather than a social network. It is popular as users can be matched up if they share the same interests like arts and crafts or fashion. Growth in the site was slow and it wasn’t until the release of its iPhone app in 2011 that interest began to grow. Thanks to the app the site was averaging over 11 million unique visits a month and with this surge users were allowed to create profile pages followed shortly by an expansion onto the Android operating system. Users upload images, known as pins, and post them on their board for others to browse, who can use the pin-it feature to place it on their board. A feature also allows a user to mark a copyrighted image so it cannot be pinned to another board. Business pages are allowed and function as a storefront that never closes. As of April 2017 Pinterest had 175 million active users with heavy growth seen in Germany and Japan. Pinterest is headquartered in San Francisco and Silbermann is its CEO. It should be obvious that a service that matches people with the same interest could be a boon to any business and with an expanding international base the world could be your oyster.

Foursquare

Chances are the your have looked online for recommendations for where to go for dinner or to shop. Guess what, there’s an app for that. Foursquare was introduced in 2009 by Dennis Crowley and Naveen Selvadurai and was designed so users could search for local venues of interest and leave ratings. Users check in at a venue, can rate it or leave tips about the venue. The venue is rated through a series of questions and scores are added up and compared to other venues. Foursquare is available through iOS, Android, Windows Phone and as wearable tech. Users can follow different brands and receive specials from those brands and are also able to link their account to Twitter and Facebook. Foursquare was boosted in 2011 when Barack Obama joined with the intention of having his staff post tips about the places he visited. The app was completely redone in 2014 with the introduction of a companion app Swarm, which would handle the social networking side and a complete redesign of the app to remove check-ins and instead focus on local searches. There are approximately 45 million users with nearly half in the United States and an almost 50/50 split of male and female users. You couldn’t ask for a more even target audience. The company is headquartered in New York City with Jeff Glueck as its CEO. Foursquare offers a suite of tools for businesses to develop their pages and it should go without saying that positive reviews and rankings can only help a business succeed in today’s world.

Google+

When your name becomes synonymous with something you know you are doing something right. Like Xerox and Kleenex, Google has become not only synonymous with internet searches but has become a way of life. It is only natural that they should enter into the realm of social media and they did so with Google+ in 2011. We all know that Google was founded by Stanford students Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998 as a way to reimagine internet searching and one has to wonder if they had any idea their company would grow into the giant it has become. Google had tried to enter the world of social media before, three times to be exact, and had retired their offering every time. Google+ would be different. The usual stuff like posting photos and videos would be included but they made it possible to form different communities and created a multi-person text and video chat called Hangouts. Users can create an animated gif with Auto Awesome, play games, edit and share photos and many more things. With the acquisition of Youtube the account let users comment on videos. Within a month of launch 25 million users were onboard, though there is some debate as to whether they are using the services or just got them by signing up for something else like a Gmail account. There are about 111 million active users with most being male and nearly one third in the 25-34 age group. Commercial accounts are available so it offers another way to connect with potential customers not only in the US but around the world. Google is headquartered in Menlo Park, California with Sundar Pichai as its CEO and it is the second most valuable company in the United States behind only Amazon. This should be obvious as to why a business would want to get a Google+ account but where is the first place people go to find out about a business or venue? It’s probably Google and a positive ranking (as well as a high search result) there will do wonders.

Tumblr

Tumblr is a bit different than the other social media sites. Founded in 2007 by David Karp as a microblogging and social network site it allows users to post short blogs and multimedia content. The site was an instant hit garnering 75,000 users within two weeks and today hosts over 340 million blogs and over 500 million monthly visitors. A dashboard allows users to view content, comment, repost it, upload media and connect to other social media services. It is accessible on most mobile platforms like iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone and even Google Glass. Tumblr was sold to Yahoo in 2013 for $1.1 billion but Karp remained onboard as the CEO and the company remains headquartered in New York City. The site has drawn criticism for the amount of adult pornographic content with approximately 16% of all blogs having pornographic content which has led to the site being blocked in some countries around the world. A tag was introduced giving the ability to mark some sites as “not safe for work” but Tumblr will not remove the blogs. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, John Mayer and even Barack Obama use Tumblr which has boosted its popularity. It is an easy way to reach people and its sites are indexed by the major search engines so it can help with your SEO as well.

These are the most popular social media sites in the United States but are by no means the only ones. Social media presents an avenue to attract new customers or just to get your message out. If used effectively it can be a boon to any business or movement. With millions of potential customers only a few clicks away social media is becoming a necessity rather than a luxury for anyone who wants to get their message out. Not everyone has the time to do so though but at Nicely Done Sites we can help.

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