Social media has changed the way we connect and interact with each other. Its evolution is immense, from being a direct electronic message exchange, to a virtual gathering space, to a retail platform, to a 21st-century marketing tool.
But first, let’s see how it all began.
You can count the year of 1844 as the beginning of social media. This is when the first ever electronic message was sent by Samuel Morse, co-inventor of the Morse code. The message was constructed by typing a series of dots and dashes on a telegraph. With that message, the scientist probably wouldn’t have thought that his invention would still live on to this very day. Did you?
More than 100 years later, the invention of the ARPANET acted as an early digital network. It allowed scientists from different locations to share data, software and hardware. The very first message sent through this network from computer to computer was in 1969. Following that came the internet and shortly after in 1997, the first social network was launched.
Launch of Social Media
In the 1980s and ‘90s, advancing technology introduced various online services. These services allowed digital communication through email, board messaging and real-time chatting. These digital services formed a foundation for platforms such as Feindster, LinkedIn and MySpace, that started in the 2000s.
More and more network platforms started to pop up that turned into the fast growing, modern platforms we know today. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and Twitter are amongst the most popular online platforms attracting billions of people.
Ask yourself here: Did you think back then that any of these platforms would be able to help your business?
How It Helps Business
The experience from desktop and laptop soon shifted to mobile phones, when the market of smartphones exploded. Customers now could take their communication anywhere they wanted and be able to access it more easily.
The shift liberated the focus from online communities to mobile. Businesses took this as an opportunity offering simpler ways of interacting with its customers.
Quickly, technological advancements in the camera quality of smartphones shifted the focus again from mobile to images and videos. And as the users of social media platforms were rapidly growing, so were customer data lists of businesses.
Trackable user data was being collected by businesses and suddenly, social media marketing became a thing. Besides creating targeted ads, businesses realised the potential of cultivating their own engaged online presence.
Whereas social media advertising is a form of paid marketing, having your own active account is free and valuable for many factors, including:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Nurture and strengthen customer relationships
- Generate leads and increase conversion rates
- Analyse the market and competitors
This form of organic marketing combined with paid marketing evolved into the social media marketing known today.
Social Media Marketing
By now, you hopefully recognised that YES, you do need an active online presence. With so many platforms out there, how do you identify the best ones for your business?
Before you start creating content, posting it amongst various channels or running ads, the most important step that you have to take is: Creating your social media marketing strategy.
This is THE most important step to ensure you will get the most out of your social media marketing. How do you build your strategy and what do you have to consider? Which channels should you use? What should you share with your customers?