Evolution - a term coined by Charles Darwin, has become synonymous with change and progress. And in the world of marketing, evolution is a constant occurrence. One of the most significant changes that have taken place over the years is in the realm of social media marketing. Where did it begin? And what lies ahead? Let's take a step into the evolution of social media marketing and explore its journey over the years.
The Emergence Of Social Media Platforms
The evolution of social media started way back in 1997 when Six Degrees, a social networking site, was launched. The idea behind Six Degrees was simple - six-degree connections. Users list their contacts and invite nonmembers to join. A user could message first, second, and third-degree connections.
After Six Degrees came Friendster in 2002. This was probably the nearest precursor to the modern social media platforms we know today. Friendster allows users to create profiles, share content, and connect with friends.
In 2003, MySpace entered. This social media platform became the top networking site between 2005 and 2008. Its ability to embed music and YouTube videos into a user's profile made it the go-to platform for music lovers.
However, it wasn't until 2003 that modern, widely used social media platforms came into existence and gave social media marketing a whole new meaning.
LinkedIn was the first social media platform to be launched in 2003. It focuses on connecting professionals for networking, job searching, and recruiting. LinkedIn B2B marketing is still prevalent today, with over 700 million active users. It has evolved to include features like company pages, job postings, and targeted advertising options.
The launch of Facebook in 2004 provided businesses with a new way to connect with their target audience. Companies could create free business pages and post about their products and services. However, it wasn't until 2007 that Facebook introduced Facebook ads (targeted advertising), revolutionising social media marketing.
YouTube is the second-largest search engine after Google, making it a crucial platform for businesses to market their products and services. In 2005, the platform was launched, allowing users to upload videos and share them with others. YouTube marketing has become an essential tool for businesses, creating video content to increase SEO rankings and reach a wider audience.
With the launch of Twitter in 2006, the world of social media changed forever. The platform introduced the concept of microblogging, allowing users to share short snippets of information or thoughts with their followers. This gave businesses a new way to interact with their audience and promote their brand.
In 2010, Instagram entered the social media scene, focusing on visual content like photos and videos. It quickly became a popular platform for businesses to showcase their products visually and connect with their target audience through hashtags and influencer marketing.
In recent years, one of the most significant evolutions in social media marketing has been the rise of TikTok. Launched in 2017, this platform allows users to create short-form videos with music and filters, making it a hit among younger generations. Businesses have quickly caught on to this trend and are using TikTok as a way to reach a younger audience and showcase their brand's personality.
The Meaning Of Social Media Marketing
The meaning of social media marketing can be summed up in two words - promoting and selling. It is the practice of using the abovementioned social media platforms to connect with your audience. The importance of social media marketing cannot be overstated enough. It helps businesses to build brand awareness, increase sales, and drive website traffic.
But how do social media marketing managers or business owners do this? Well, they use a variety of techniques, such as:
- Creating content that engages followers
- Running paid advertising campaigns
- Influencer marketing
- Social media contests and giveaways
- Engaging with followers through comments and direct messages
How Does The Future Look For Social Media Marketing?
Nobody knows for certain how the future will look for social media marketing. Still, one thing is for sure - it will continue to evolve and adapt as new technologies emerge and consumer trends shift.
A few predictions, according to ReachFirst, are:
- Video content will take over
- There will be a rise in influencer marketing
- Content will focus on storytelling rather than direct selling
- New social media platforms will rise. (Threads, for example, is a new Instagram Text app.)
- Social media platforms will start to integrate with e-commerce
- Augmented reality and artificial intelligence will play a bigger role
Grow With The Evolution Of Social Media Marketing!
As seen in this post, the evolution of social media marketing has been quite extraordinary. But how can businesses keep up with these constant changes and adapt accordingly?
With knowledge, implementation, and skills.
If your business wants to grow with the ever-changing social media marketing landscape, contact Starbright today!
We are a professional social media agency in Pretoria, South Africa that specialises in creating and executing effective social media strategies for businesses of all sizes.
Don't let your business fall behind in the constantly evolving world of social media marketing. Embrace change and see your brand's online presence thrive!