How has the Social Media revolution fundamentally changed the way in which we communicate, and businesses market themselves?Social Media is an ever-growing, powerful tool used, not only by individuals looking to share their homegrown videos of cats, pictures of adorable children, and copious amounts of food-related photography, but also by businesses the world over to capture potential customers, drive traffic to your website, and keep existing customers returning; but how has the Social Media revolution changed the way in which we all communicate?
The humble beginnings of Social Media
Arguably, Social Media began with something called ‘Friendster’ back in 2002; Friendster was an online community that connected people through friends of friends, for dating and making new friends.
However, it wasn’t until 2003 and the advent of LinkedIn that the Social Media revolution started to awaken – taking the idea of online communities decidedly more seriously, and giving professionals a place to connect with other professionals, to share business ideas, thoughts, advice, and for employers to learn more about potential employees.
Today, LinkedIn is still a popular professional networking platform, seeing over 300 million users logon regularly.
Now, any mention of a Social Media revolution wouldn’t be complete without exploring the Social Media giant that is Facebook.
Facebook as the leader of the Social Media revolution
Facebook is has undoubtedly been the leader in the Social Media revolution; beginning its journey back in 2004 as a platform specifically for Harvard University students, Facebook was opened to the public in 2006, and today boast around 2 billion active users the world over.
There’s lots of debate around how and why Facebook has been such a success – is it the undeniable fact it’s incredibly easy to use? Is it the millions of dollars pumped into it by bigwig investors to get it off the ground? Or is it the highly targeted and sophisticated advertising model? Well, we know what we think, but regardless, Facebook is the biggest Social Media platform available today.
So, with this in mind, let’s have a look at what Social Media – particularly Facebook – has given us over the years…
What has the Social Media revolution achieved?
- A way to reach people we wouldn’t otherwise find: online communities gave us a way to find people we wouldn’t usually interact with; which is a huge plus, not only for individuals looking for new friends, old friends, and to stay in touch with distant family members, but also in providing professionals and businesses an avenue through which to connect with potential customers who may otherwise not find them.
- Traceability: moving online gave businesses a way of tracing and measuring the engagement received from visitors and potential customers. Wonderful tools such as Google Analytics gave us a way of understanding what visitors to our websites were doing and how they were using our sites, which takes our Social Media platforms into account. But, Social Media also has its own analytics – Facebook, for example, has ‘insights’ which gives you all sorts of useful information like how many reactions you’ve had on your individual posts and how many people have clicked through from your posts onto your website.
- Highly targeted advertising: Social Media advertising is an incredibly powerful tool for businesses; giving you the ability to target individuals based on specific demographics; locations, interests, job titles, relationship status… all available thanks to the personal information individuals willingly provide on their personal profiles. You can even target people you know have already visited your website and taken specific action; this is known as ‘remarketing’.
- Access to information, instantly: Social Media, and the apps that go with them, give individuals access to information instantaneously; which, in turn, gives businesses a way of communicating with your customers ‘in the moment’ – if you’re at an event, you can Tweet about it there and then, and if something particularly relevant to your field of business is happening in the news, you can comment on it straight away – showing your followers, those potential customers, that you’re at the forefront of your industry, and you’re plugged into current affairs.
- Cost efficiency unlike traditional print advertising, which is incredibly costly in space and design time, as well as long in lead time – adverts often becoming outdated by the time they’ve been released – and without any real idea of how they’re performing, online advertising comes at a comparatively low cost; Facebook adverts, for example, costing as little as £5 per day, and providing you with real-time stats on how it’s performing, which gives you a greater return on investment.
- Personalisation: Social Media has given individuals a platform to truly be themselves; share all of their likes and dislikes, comment on wider issues, keep in touch with family & friends, and generally express themselves. This, in turn, laid the foundations in business marketing not only for highly personal advertising, but also to communicate with your customers on a personal basis – understanding them better, and allowing you to tailor your content appropriately.
Our thoughts on the Social Media revolution
Well, there are probably another 6 or even 12 points we could make about Social Media and how it’s fundamentally changed the way we communicate, and the way we market our businesses, but these are probably the most important parts to cover right now.
Our lasting thoughts on the Social Media revolution are this: never underestimate the sheer power within using Social Media platforms to promote your business, drive traffic to your website, reduce your advertising costs, increase your ROI, and monitor your brand reputation…
Luckily, these are all elements we can support businesses with – businesses like yours – to ensure you get the best out of your Social Media presence. Our Social Media Marketing services include: management, advertising, channel branding, and brand reputation.
So, if you’d like support with any of your Social Media activity, contact us today.