Social media is constantly evolving. From new guidelines to fast-moving trends to complex algorithm updates, it can feel impossible to keep up, especially when you’re also running a business. Finding the time to do both well is a battle. But the benefits of using social media can make the battle worth it, especially when it comes to connecting with your audience.
Regularly sharing content across multiple platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, can help build stronger audience relationships, a more defined brand persona, widen your business network, and create a space to share achievements or promote products.
But where to begin with social media?
Navigating platforms, regulations, hashtags, and followers (to name a few!) takes significant time, effort and understanding. There are numerous online courses available to introduce you to the basics of social media. They will help you to build a solid foundation of knowledge, but we all know that when it comes to business, there’s no time to lose and you can’t risk drowning amongst your competitors pages.
When looking back at the history of social media and the progress of the technology, it’s no surprise to see that it has today become a key element in digital marketing.
The History of Social Media and Marketing
According to The History of Social Networking, online communications through emails, bulletin board messaging and real-time chatting was introduced in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
This was the catalyst for the earliest social media networks. Six Degrees was the first in 1997, followed by Friendster in 2001, which rapidly gained millions of users and began the boom of online networking. For businesses, this opened the door to direct online promotion and advertising.
In 2002, a social media platform designed specifically for businesses stepped onto the scene – LinkedIn. Initially founded as a professional networking site for career-minded users, it is now one of the fastest growing platforms online. By 2022, the platform reached over 830 million users. Today, the platform has evolved for the use of professional digital networking and job seeking. Six people are hired through the platform every minute, and professional ads are said to reach 14.6% of the world’s population.
The less professional, and more personal, platform Myspace launched in 2006 by Tom Anderson and Chris DeWolfe, quickly becoming the most visited website on the planet. Users could post music on their page, along with sharing photos and adding friends. However, come 2008, Facebook outgrew Myspace and took the spot as most popular. The platform, founded by Mark Zuckerberg and college friends, is still to this day the number one used social site, with over 2.936 billion users.
Twitter was launched onto the digital scene in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and others, giving a name to microblogging. With a current total of 395.5 million users worldwide, Twitter has a reputation of social commentary from both businesses and individual users.
Four years later in 2010, Instagram was founded by Stanford graduate Kevin Systrom as a photo sharing website. Not only does Instagram boast more than 600 million users, but over 25 million of those are business pages.
As social media has boomed, digital marketing has evolved, and businesses are using the tool to engage with willing audiences, sat at the other end of the digital line. Business advertising has now become synonymous with these sites. Companies can place paid ads and post promotional links.
However, despite the glaring benefits, many thousands of companies still do not have a suitable online presence. Could this be due to the complicated world of social media? Or perhaps due to time, energy, and budget?
We believe it’s a bit of both. But with the right help, harnessing social media can be easy.
So, why should small companies use social media to build their business?
- It can humanise your brand and build trust in your company
- It can lay the foundations for a more personal relationship
- It can help your brand stay at the front of your audience’s mind
- It can increase traffic to your website and services
- It can reach new and existing customers
- It can boost sales and customer interaction
There are so many benefits to using social media as a small business, but it can prove time-consuming, fall to the bottom of the list of your priorities as a small business owner, or have a negative impact on your mental health.
At Octima, we work alongside SMEs to help give them the tools and support they need to thrive in this busy, digital marketing space. Our experienced team work flexibly alongside you, to suit your requirements, and requests. We can manage your social media presence for you, schedule your posts, create content, share videos, engage with your audience, and measure the impact of all such efforts. Our knowledge becomes your knowledge, and our expertise is there for you when you need it.
Whether it’s for a single campaign or regular monthly support, we can help you to cut through the noise.