Despite the rants you (ironically) see on Facebook, about how social media is a ‘plague’ that removes us from reality, social media is now an integral part of our lives and has undoubtedly reshaped our social interactions. It’s changed how we keep up to date with friends and relatives, how we plan our birthday parties and how we find, and connect with, people that share our interests. It’s also brought out the voyeur in some of us (if you’ve spent an hour scrolling through the page of a ‘friend’ you never talk to, then you know what we’re talking about).
Our digital specialists tell us which of the social networks they have a soft spot for, and why:
Active users: 313 million
Best for: Keeping up to date with news and opinions, promoting offers and interacting with customers.
USP: Users can post instantly to their network of followers, and connect with a bigger audience using hashtags.
You may not know: 5,700 tweets are sent every second.
Why Account Executive, Ross Tyson, loves Twitter
“I like how Twitter can be different for everybody. It can be tailored to be whatever you want it to be. I mainly use it to keep up with football gossip, but for others it can be a site for fashion inspiration or a way to keep track of their favourite comedians.”
Active users: 400 million
Best for: Posting selfies, your dinner and if you’re a small business, promoting your products and expanding your market.
USP: It’s not the only platform you can use to post photos, but on Instagram photos take centre stage. Its filters allow simple photo editing, so even the most ham-fisted photographer can garner those #likes.
You may not know: Selena Gomez had the most followers in 2016, with 69.5m.
Why Event Executive, Liberty Kefalas, loves Instagram
“Instagram is great for sharing my favourite pictures and memories with friends, as well as following my favourite celebs! Unlike Facebook or Twitter, where statuses and tweets can become boring, Instagram lets you simply scroll through images, so it doesn’t take much time to keep updated!”
Active users: 15 million
Best for: Introducing millennials to profile, rather than chat-based social networking. Nowadays it’s used mostly by aspiring musicians.
USP: Myspace was one of the original social networks. 90s kids were tempted away from MSN messenger by the opportunity to share albums of photos and create an internet page that was uniquely theirs.
You may not know: You had a friend in Tom! When you registered your Myspace profile you automatically became friends with Tom Anderson, co-founder of Myspace.
Why Director, Heather Jones, loves Myspace
“Myspace was the first social network I ever joined. Being able to create a page with a personalised backdrop that played my favourite song was really cool. Plus, as a too-cool-for-skool rocker, Myspace was all about planning my gig calendar and exploring new music. I loved being able to visit band pages, chat with other fans and ogle photos of my favourite rockstars. When Facebook arrived, it took me a very long time to make the move away from Myspace. I felt like a sellout. But times change and so do social networks.”
Active users: 1.79 billion daily active users
Best for: sharing activities (pictures or statuses) with your friends and liking, loving or sharing other account’s posts. Facebook messenger is one of the top two messaging apps in the world, with 900 million people using Facebook messenger every month.
USP: Facebook, as the Oscar-winning film telling its story is named, is ‘The Social Network’. While it wasn’t the first, Facebook is often seen as the benchmark when it comes to excellence and continued innovation social media networks.
You may not know: Cristiano Ronaldo has the most Facebook likes (119,692,144 likes).
Why Director, Elinor Evans, loves Facebook
“I went to university in Nottingham and it was one of the first UK universities on Facebook. It used to be our main forum for planning social events and sharing updates around campus. It’s obviously come a long way since then, but is still such a great tool to keep in touch with people and finding out what’s going on, both locally and all over the world. As a marketer, Facebook also provides incredible opportunities to target users with tailored advertising campaigns, giving us great insights and tangible results which we can share with clients.”
Established: 2011 (Picaboo) 2012 (Snapchat)
Active users: 158 million
Best for: Sending funny, kooky pictures to your private network of friends.
USP: Upon launch, Snapchat’s messages only lasted for up to 10 seconds and were then permanently deleted. Changes have since been made, but this unique approach captured attention and millions of users.
You may not know: Snapchat was originally named Picaboo.
Why Account Manager, Rhian Rogers, loves Snapchat
“Snapchat’s facial recognition filters are not just good fun, they can seemingly transform even the most unsightly selfie into an airbrushed artwork! Plus, there’s always a reason to revisit the app with an ever-changing suite of filters and daily Snapchat stories from your nearest and dearest (including your top celeb Snapchatters, of course).”
Active users: 467 million members
Best for: Networking, headhunting and sharing news and information about your business.
USP: LinkedIn was the first site to successfully fuse the worlds of business and social networks. The advantages of being able to add and chat with contacts instantly online, without the drawbacks of them being able to see your most wince-inducing holiday snaps, filled a huge gap in the social landscape.
You may not know that: 1 out of 3 professionals are on LinkedIn.
Why Communications Co-ordinator, Jamie-Lee Cole, loves LinkedIn
“LinkedIn is my go-to for professional inspiration. I love reading articles by professionals discussing workplace culture, climbing the career ladder or starting a business. It’s also a chance to keep up with the personal development of your peers, creating a bit of competition to push yourself further.”
Have we missed out your favourite? Let us know!
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