What are social networks and which are the most important?

Social networks have been part of our daily lives for years. It is estimated that more than half of the world’s population uses them, which means more than 4 billion people.

For marketers, social networks are an unbeatable opportunity to publicize a brand among customers and target audiences. But would you know how to define what a social network is and how it differs from social media? How can you choose the best one for your brand? What are the most popular social networks and what are their advantages in marketing? We tell you everything in this article!

What are social networks?

Social networks are digital platforms that connect people with common interests, activities or relationships (such as friendship, kinship or work). These platforms allow contact between the individuals that compose them and function as a means to exchange information. The information published by a user can be public or private.

The 10 most important social networks

1) Facebook

Although in recent years some think that it has gone out of fashion, the truth is that Facebook’s dominance in terms of active users is overwhelming: it exceeds 2.5 billion active users worldwide.

As it is a general social network, it can be adapted to the strategies of a wide variety of brands, especially B2C. Another of its great advantages is its demographic breadth, since it has a very broad user base. Of course, it may not be the most appropriate to connect with the younger audience.

2) YouTube

YouTube has more than 2 billion active users and more than 1 billion videos are watched every day on this platform. Without a doubt, it is the world leader in the video format, which in turn is one of the most interesting types of content in online marketing.

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3) WhatsApp

WhatsApp is the most popular social messaging network worldwide and has around 2 billion active users. It has had a great influence worldwide, to the point that it has changed our way of communicating.

The great strength of WhatsApp in online marketing is its speed and convenience as a customer service channel. Users positively value being able to contact brands through WhatsApp and quickly solve their problems. In return, as it is a messaging app, it is not the most suitable for strategies based on sharing content.

4) Facebook Messenger

With an active user base of more than 1.2 billion, Facebook Messenger is the second most used instant messaging application in the world. It should be noted that it is integrated with Instagram messaging.

At the level of marketing on social networks, Facebook Messenger is a channel with a lot of potential for brands that have a Facebook page. In particular, Messenger chatbots allow you to automatically perform a series of actions, such as placing orders or answering customer questions, which helps us improve the user experience while freeing up team time and resources.

5) Instagram

Instagram is the fifth social network in the world in number of active users, since it exceeds 1.2 billion.

It is a social network very marked by the phenomenon of influencers, since it is one of the most used platforms to promote brands and in which this type of content enjoys more acceptance by users. Today, the trend is more towards micro-influencers, with a smaller community of followers but higher rates of influence and interaction.

It should also be noted that it shares the same Facebook advertising platform, which gives us many possibilities when launching social ads campaigns.

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6) Weixin/WeChat

WeChat is a relatively unknown Chinese social network in our country, but it also has a base of more than 1.2 billion active users.

It has multiple functionalities, including a messaging service, geolocation, official or verified accounts, options to share images, statuses, links and other elements to selected contacts, a payment system and even a version for professional use similar to Slack.

For brands, WeChat can provide many interesting options, both for online marketing and for managing the internal organization. In order to use it, you need to have a Chinese company or at least a foreign business license.

7) TikTok

We come to the trendy social network, TikTok, which has more than 600 million active users and is based on sharing short video content, often in “playback” format. Its popularity exploded especially during the lockdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

8) QQ

In eighth place we have QQ, which also has more than 600 million users and is one of the most popular in China. In recent years it has been losing steam compared to WeChat, but it is still an option to consider for companies doing business in China. In addition to messaging, it offers a variety of services such as online games, music, shopping, movies, and voice chat.

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9) Doujin

Douyin is around 600 million active users. It is often referred to as “Chinese Tik Tok” because, like this network, it allows you to create and share short music videos.

Its relevance in our country is closely linked to the world of football, since in 2020 it signed an agreement with La Liga whereby Douyin commits to offering quality content from Spanish content and its clubs, increasing its reach beyond our borders. Many LaLiga teams have official profiles on Douyin, including Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

10) Sina Weibo

Closing the top ten is the Chinese social network Sina Weibo, with more than 500 million active users. It has quite a few features in common with Twitter, such as the 140-character limit per message, the use of the at sign to mention other users, the use of hashtags, the options to republish content and add it to favorites lists, and the verification of accounts of Famous people or organizations.

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