The types and number of Social Media platforms are constantly evolving. The latest one is Pinterest and rest assured there will be another one along in a few months.
Like print media, radio and TV; Social Media is another communication platform. What makes it different from the others is that it is a two-way communication. Social media gives the audience a voice and the ability to engage and share content of their own - which makes it a double-edged sword.
Types Of Social Media
Social Media Networks
Web-based platforms that allow individuals and entities to create networks and communities to communicate and engage with each other. The popular ones being Facebook | Google+ | MySpace | Linkedin
Blog (Short for “Web-Log”)
A Blog ia a public journal maintained online by individuals, companies, communities, etc., to keep their audiences apprised and elicit comments/feedback.
Microblogging: Twitter | Tumblr | Plurk | Pintrest
Is a “bite-sized” blog which almost always has a link to more detailed content. The most popular and best know microblogging platform is twitter which is primarily text based. Other content specific microblogging platforms are Instagram | Pinterest which is driven by images.
These are crowd-sourced online content/data management, the best example being wikipedia - the free online encyclopaedia
Allows users to bookmark, categorise and share websites they find useful online. Expamples of such sites are Diigo & Del.icio.us
News Aggregation & Sharing
Is where users aggregate share and vote on news stories. Best known ones are Digg & Reddit
Social Content Sharing
Is how users upload and share video and photographs with each other and communities. The most used content sharing platforms are Flickr and YouTube.
Is Social Media Right For Your Company
At the time of writing this article some of the bigger retailers were closing their facebook store-front, but they still maintain their facebook page. It simply didn't work for them, but that doesn’t mean that because it won't work for you.
Ultimately it comes down to what your overall marketing objectives are and which bits of social media can be leveraged to realise those objectives.