Social network sites (SNS)

Social network sites (SNS)

If you are researching social media marketing, in academic papers, social network sites are sometimes known as Social Network Sites (SNS), but this acronynm isn’t widely used in industry where they are collectively termed ‘Social Networks‘.

The main social network site are the big six platforms relevant to most businesses, which are:

  • Facebook (including Facebook Messenger)
  • Instagram (owned by Facebook)
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube (owned by Google)

The latest statistics on the popularity of the social networks

Each of the social networks support direct and group messaging and of course, there are many dedicated apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Snapchat. These are also offering more opportunities to reach audiences as is nicely shown in this interesting social network / messaging platforms infographic similar to one I used as a visual 10+ years ago in our Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice book to prompt readers to think that size matters, but size isn’t everything and you can’t be everywhere at on once and should tailor your message …

The best single source for these is DataReportal , A source showing latest compilation of the popularity of social media created by Simon Kemp and the team at Kepios and partners Hootsuite and We Are Social.


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Dr Dave Chaffey is co-founder and Content Director of digital marketing advice site Smart Insights. We’re a publisher and learning platform that helps our 150,000 active members in over 100 countries plan, manage and optimize their digital marketing activities by applying the actionable advice in our planning templates, guides and interactive e-learning tools.

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