What Is Social Networking and How Does It Work?

What is Social Networking?

The term “social networking” refers to the use of internet-based social media sites to stay connected with friends, family, colleagues, customers, or clients. Social networking can have a social purpose, a business purpose, or both, thru sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

Social networking is also a significant platform for marketers seeking to engage customers. As of Dec. 31, 2020, Facebook remains the largest and most popular social network, with 2.8 billion people using the platform on a monthly basis. Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and Pinterest are the next most popular, according to Statista.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Social networking is the use of internet-based social media platforms to stay connected with friends, family, or peers.
  • The most popular social networking sites in the U.S. include Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Marketers use social networking to increase brand recognition and encourage brand loyalty.
  • Social media can help connect people and businesses and can help promote brand awareness.
  • There are disadvantages related to social media, including the spread of misinformation and the high cost of using and maintaining social network profiles.

How Social Networking Works

Social networking involves the development and maintenance of personal and business relationships using technology. This is done thru the use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

These sites allow people and corporations to connect with one another so they can develop relationships and share information, ideas, and messages.

Family members who live far away might use personal social networking sites like Facebook to stay in touch. They can exchange images and information about what’s going on in their lives.

People can also connect with others who share their interests (especially strangers). Individuals can connect with one another through groups, lists, and hashtags.

Marketers frequently utilize social media to raise brand awareness and build brand loyalty. Social media marketing aids in the promotion of a brand’s voice and content by making it more accessible to new customers and more identifiable to existing ones.

A frequent Twitter user, for example, may discover about a firm for the first time through a news feed and decide to purchase a product or service.

The more exposed people are to a company’s brand, the greater the company’s chances of finding and retaining new customers.

Marketers use social networking to improve conversion rates. Building a following provides access to and interaction with new, recent, and old customers.

Sharing blog posts, images, videos, or comments on social media allows followers to react, visit the company’s website, and become customers.

Special Considerations

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing strategies. That’s because every business is unique and has a different target demographic, history, and competitive marketplace.

Because social networking companies want businesses to pay for their advertising, companies often restrict the number of reach businesses may receive thru unpaid posts. For example, if a company has 500 followers, those followers may not all receive the same post.

The constantly evolving nature of social networking makes it challenging to keep up with changes and also influences a company’s marketing success rate.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Social Networking

Social networking has the ability to affect both individuals and corporations—both positively and negatively. That’s why it’s important to weigh out both the advantages and disadvantages of using these social media sites.

Advantages

As mentioned above, social networking allows individuals to keep in contact with family and friends they would otherwise not be able to connect with because of distance or because they simply lost touch. People can also connect with other individuals who share the same interests and develop new relationships.

It also enables businesses to connect with both new and existing customers. They can also use social media to generate, advertise, and raise brand recognition through it. Client feedback and remarks are equally important to them.

The more positive reviews a company receives, the more valuable its brand authority becomes. This results in increased sales and a higher search engine ranking. As a result, social networking can assist in establishing a brand’s legitimacy, credibility, and trustworthiness.

A corporation can utilize social media to display its quality of customer service and to strengthen ties with customers. If a customer complains about a product or service on Twitter, for example, the corporation may respond quickly, apologize, and take steps to rectify the situation.

Disadvantages

On social networking sites, misinformation may spread like wildfire. After 2012, this became increasingly common. Rumors travel faster than facts when it comes to information. According to one study, misinformation is 70 percent more likely than true information to be shared on Twitter.

Social media networking can have just as much of a negative impact on businesses as SEO. On social media, brand criticism can spread swiftly. For a company’s public relations (PR) staff, this can be a nightmare.

Despite the fact that social networking is free, creating and maintaining a company page takes many hours each week. The cost of those hours quickly adds up. Before a social media marketing campaign generates a significant return on investment, businesses require a large number of followers (ROI).

For example, submitting a post to 15 followers does not have the same effect as submitting the post to 15,000 followers.

Pros:

  • Allows people to connect with others, including friends and family
  • Companies can reach new and existing clients as well as build and improve their brand name
  • Corporations can demonstrate their customer service

Cons:

  • Helps spread misinformation
  • Complaints about companies can spread and create public relations issues
  • Costs to advertise and develop corporate profiles can be high

Examples of Social Networking

Almost every product or service you use is backed by a company with a social media presence. It’s virtually impossible to think of any major corporation that doesn’t operate, market, and advertise on social networks.

Tapping into social media is not only a good business practice, but it’s also necessary if you’re going to succeed in the corporate world. Here are two examples of companies that are doing it right.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell, a popular fast-food company, has more than 1.4 million Instagram followers and nearly two million Twitter followers. The company knows how to engage customers on social media, publishing information on its menu items, workers, and restaurants.

Taco Bell also sends out humorous tweets and Instagram postings that receive thousands of likes, retweets, and comments. 

In 2014, Taco Bell started a petition on Change.org to get a taco emoji. The company used social media to spread the news. Taco Bell fans signed the petition with more than 32,000 signatures. When iOS 9 was launched in November 2015, Apple included a taco emoji. 

Kylie Jenner

You don’t have to be a corporation to know how to use social media. This is, after all, the age of the influencer. Kylie Jenner, has more than 217 million followers on Instagram, 1.7 million followers on Snapchat, and almost 37 million followers on Twitter.

The young influencer and reality television star uses her social media platforms to boost her image and brand name. She is also an entrepreneur who uses social networking to promote her business, Kylie Cosmetics.

The beauty brand earned her a spot on Forbes’ list of self-made women, young billionaires, and the Celebrity 100 of 2020. Want proof of her reach? The company’s lip kits sold out within 10 minutes of the star tweeting the link to her followers in February 2016.

FAQS

What Is the Purpose of Social Networking?

Social networking connects individuals with other people and businesses by allowing them to share information, ideas, and messages.

Companies also use social networks to create and increase brand recognition, promote products and services, and answer customer queries and concerns.

What Are the Main Types of Social Networks?

The main types of social media include big names like Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and Twitter. These are the most popular social networking sites in the United States.

Others include Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube. LinkedIn is another popular site, which helps connect professionals with coworkers, business contacts, and employers.

Why Are Social Networks Important?

Social networks are important because they allow people to develop relationships with others with whom they might not otherwise be able to connect. It also helps boost business productivity when used for public relations, marketing, and advertising purposes.

What Are the Top 10 Social Networking Sites?

According to Statista, the top 10 social networking sites are Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Messenger by Google, and Tumblr.

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