THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is relatively younger than other marketing processes, yet it is essential to integrate into your strategy to compete with your competitors. Social media has blown up and gained importance that we decided to dedicate this month to social media. We will get practical and guide your business to navigate through social media in an impactful way. Here we dissect where social media was, where it currently stands, and what to expect down the road.
Social Media Throwback
It is easy to think knowing where a platform currently stands is the most critical information, but seeing how each has evolved over time will allow your business to understand the speed and depth of change social media goes through. It can also correct any standing knowledge of how social media may have worked to where it actually is now.
In 2002, the site was established and focused on professional members-only networking that you had to subscribe to with a membership fee. It connected people with business and school contacts. The network became free in 2011.
Facebook began in 2004 as an exclusive social media site for Harvard students that quickly spread to other Ivy League schools. The platform opened to everyone in 2006, surpassing MySpace as the most visited site in the world. Facebook Ads were announced in 2007. A 2007 press release described the Facebook Ads as a platform with three parts: “a way for businesses to build pages on Facebook to connect with their audiences; an ad system that facilitates the spread of brand messages virally through Facebook Social Ads™; and an interface to gather insights into people’s activity on Facebook that marketers care about.”
Twitter was created in 2006, distinguishing itself with limited 140 characters, striving to be a microblogging service. The character limitation is a policy that they kept until 2017, when they bumped it to 280 characters.
Instagram launched in 2010, separating itself as an app-only platform. The focus was exclusively on photo and video sharing. The restriction of only posting photos in a 1:1 ratio (square size) was lifted in 2015.
Currently, in Social Media…
Social media’s current features are not only essential to know but also to implement within your business. Staying on top of the social media platforms your business is a part of will make an impact on awareness and engagement with its audience. Here are a few ways people use social media.
Unlike other social media platforms, LinkedIn has kept its primary purpose since it’s the establishment: career social networking. According to Hubspot, over 122 million people have received an interview through LinkedIn and has become a vital tool for companies as it hosts over 20 million job listings. LinkedIn has followed a similar shift as other platforms by emphasizing more photos and video content. When someone considers your business, what presence do you want to have? How is your business presenting yourself on LinkedIn?
Despite all the new and popular social media platforms that have grown over the years, Facebook is still the largest and most successful, with 2.38 billion monthly active users. It helped that their demographic expanded from college students. Facebook is adapting so they are thriving. This is a great mentality to have for your business too. Facebook Ads are viral and where most marketers spend their marketing budgets, along with Google and Amazon Ads. Along with basic audience targeting and page analytics, Facebook Ads allow you to launch ads around a handful of objectives, like website traffic or e-commerce purchases. If you’ve never dived in, it’s worth searching into what all can be done on Facebook targeting ads. Facebook also is more business-friendly now. Their Business Page offers Facebook insights for analytic information and Creator Studio to schedule posts.
The Twitter feed now emphasizes photos and videos more than its original intentions.
It has become more personalized to each user. Twitter algorithms take data into account (including who you discover, follow, and engage with) to prioritize content that users might enjoy on the feed. Twitter made the statement that “previously, all of the work was on you to figure out the best way to keep up with what’s happening by following certain accounts, searching for it, or looking in the Explore tab for the latest. Now, you have the option of seeing the most relevant and interesting Tweets about what you care about with a single tap, and the conversation will come to you.”
Instagram Stories are a great feature that allows you to post videos that tell a story about your brand. If you have a verified business account or more than ten thousand followers, you can link IG Stories to your website’s content. People want to see things as they happen and they will connect with you if they feel like they’re invited behind the curtain. The IGTV feature allows brands to upload or stream longer live content. It was a great option that has only been around for two years, especially since regular Instagram posting only allowed thirty-second to one-minute video content.
The Shoppable Posts feature allows brands to tag posts of product photos with a link to the product listing in the Facebook Marketplace catalog. This is different from Instagram Story swipe-up links because the shoppable feature can be accessed by any Instagram business account that is linked to a Facebook Marketplace catalog.
A Look Into the Future
Social media is growing and evolving to provide a better user experience. Adjust your business approach to effectively reach your business’ audience, create trust, and ultimately convert prospective customers into loyal customers.
Shift in Function
Social media is no longer solely used for peer interaction. According to Digital Marketing Institute, users want more control over what they see and seek more user-focused, less ad-focused ways of being entertained and interacting with peers. Because of this, the key to running ads is to present them in a non-advertisement way. It should flow within the feed and captivate your business audience. Facebook is also introducing a new newsfeed option (“Explore”) that separates social feed and ads. There is more video-watching and less socializing within social media platforms, so implement video content in your social media strategy.
Personal blogs, websites, and instant messaging has declined in popularity for online interaction. Your business needs to keep an eye on the shifting ways that social media platforms are choosing to incorporate explicit advertising strategies, as well as understanding new ways to collect customer information implicitly to direct their strategy.
Digital media is changing faster now. It is important to be in the know of social media platforms and how they are evolving. A successful social media strategy begins with understanding where social media is and where it is headed. From there, a strong plan can be developed to reach your target audience, engage, and create loyalty with them.