Often the terms “social media” and “social networks” are used indiscriminately to designate the different sites and the multiple social functionalities of the web. But this confusion often leads to prejudicial approximations: how to define a legible and lasting strategy of Inbound Marketing without precisely controlling the vocabulary used?
Distinguish social media and social networks
Under the term social media are gathered different sites and social features of the web. These include publishing content such as articles, briefs, photographs, videos, PDF files, giving opinions or dialoguing with other users, contributing to participatory projects, To aggregate information and then restore it. Social media therefore brings together a nebula of sites, applications or functionalitieslinked to the development of conversational and social interactions between Internet users, with more or less reciprocity.
A social network designates a site whose primary vocation is the linking of users to each other. According to the social network, the notions of sharing or networking can be put forward. Social networks are just a part of social media, but they are not summarized: blogs, discussion forums, or wikis, for example, belong to social media but differ from social networks.
Different types of social networks
Social networking features
Social networks, in order to encourage interaction between users, offer a set of functionalities that make it possible to identify them:
- A presentation space that the user appropriates. He specifies his profile, publishes elements varying from one site to another: editorial publications, photographs, videos, articles, links …
- A research tool to identify members sharing areas of interaction (passions, professional life, school curriculum, family ties …) and expand its networks.
- Solutions for sharing and sharing with the community, such as internal messaging, or the possibility to comment or love a publication.
- Collaborative tools often widen the scope for interaction between members of the same social network. Groups allow for example to exchange on a common subject, to build a debate, while the pages can federate around a project.
From social networks to original economic models
Social networks are very popular, and many sites try to exist by adopting an original, clearly differentiating economic model. In the current diversity of social networks, we can distinguish two main trends that polarize the majority of social networks:
- The social networks of contact rely on the formation of circles of knowledge. They offer sharp tools to search for other members and interact directly with them. Facebook, with its many interactive features, falls into this category: a member can comment or like the publication of another, identify a person in a photograph or video, post a message on a friend’s wall, Send messages and / or use instant messaging to group …
- Social content networks promote the publication of original content, intended to be shared with the community. To exist in a highly competitive environment, content social networks often adopt an original positioning: Twitter, for example, has focused on publishing short messages, while Pinterest bet on the image.
The main social media families
Social media lists a heterogeneous set of sites and applications. Nevertheless, for the sake of clarity, we can propose a nomenclature by distinguishing different families according to their purposes. In order to carry out this ranking, we draw our inspiration from the proposals of Fred Cavazza published on the site Mediassociaux.fr :
- Social media publishing include blogs and participatory sites such as wikis.They generally affect a broad community of readers.
- Social media p arting brings together many social content networks. Their aim is to propose content that is shared by the community.
- Social media r éseautage are mostly represented by social contact networks. Internet users who want to interact directly with other users and broaden their knowledge circles for personal or professional purposes.
- Social media chat rooms include chat rooms and instant messaging. Conversations are usually organized around personal affinities or for professional purposes.
As the landscape of social media evolves rapidly, including the explosion of mobile applications and connected objects, this panorama has only indicative value , intended to give you greater legibility.
So, is the difference between social media and networks now clearer?