Many social networks can be broken up into many categories and most networks fall into more than one category. Knowing what category a network is classed as is vital to plan out a social media management campaign and also to have a successful return on your social media efforts.
There are seven main types of social network and every social service can be categorised into at least one of these: Blogs, Social networking services, Social media sharing, Social bookmarking, Social news services, Location based networking and Community building services.
Blogs were one of the first forms of social media and have really evolved. Blogs are designed to allow easy content posting, and also easy commenting and sharing. Examples of blogging services are: WordPress, Type Pad and Blogger.
Social Networking Services
Social Networking Services were originally created for the soul purpose of two way communications and content sharing, e.g. videos, picture and information. Even with this category, there are three child categories: Full networks (Facebook/Google +) , Micro blogging (Twitter/Plurk) and Professional Networks(Linkedin/Xing).
Social Media Sharing Services
Social media sharing services are based around posting content such as videos and pictures, and sharing the content and also commenting on it. There are three types of these networks, video (YouTube/Vimeo), Photos (Flickr/Picasa), Audio (Podcast Alley).
Users of social bookmarking services can bookmark their favourite pages for other users of that network to see and enjoy. Recommendation sites (Stumble Upon/Delicious), Social Shopping (Kaboodle/This Next).
Social News Services
Users of social news services can favourite news for the rest of the network to see, these articles are usually voted on in some way. Examples of these services are Digg and Reddit.
Location Based Networking
Location based networking is something users have to help bring them closer together and explore their local area, examples of this are Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt.
Community Building Services
Community building services are mostly forum like networks such as Yahoo! And Google Groups, these networks can be very niche.
It is important to know exactly what category the network you are going to be using falls into, this way you can make the most of your social media agency and have the best return on your campaign. Whether you are using social media as an SEO company or even PPC.