It’s difficult to remember a time before social media existed. Sharing images with friends and family and making new connections online seems as if it’s always been a part of society. However, while the internet has been around since the early ’70s and video sharing, live journals, and chatrooms have been available since 2003, a lot has changed over the years.
As audiences have become smarter, so have social media platforms. And this has led to a lot of innovation in terms of marketing. Let’s discuss a few ways in which social media marketing has evolved over the years. Specifically, what’s the difference between then and now?
1. Building Connections and Communities
Initially, social media marketing was about making people aware of your products and getting your brand name out there. It was about having the budget to ensure that your advertisements were seen by as many people as possible. The more people recommended your company to their social network, the more successful you were.
While these aspects are still important today, marketers eventually started to notice that their customers were interested in building connections. Not only do they want to get to know the people in their social group, but they also want to know more about the brands they support. It’s not enough for them to patronize a brand, they also want to feel as if they’re a part of a community.
As a result, social media marketers have switched their focus. Instead of spending all of their time and effort on promoting their business, they’re building relationships. They’re becoming a helpful resource for their followers. They want their customers to view them as a friend instead of the average service provider.
They’re also taking the time to learn more about who their audience is, their interests, and what their challenges are. This way, they can craft content that resonates with them on a personal level. And this has proven to be a great way to create a community.
2. Tapping Into the Influencer Culture
Not only have businesses become interested in building relationships and forming communities, but they’re also tapping into the influencer culture. In the past, it could take several months or even years to build a loyal community of followers. However, as social media platforms have taken over more of our everyday lives, it’s given rise to influencers. These are individuals who have the ability to affect the purchasing decisions of a large follower base.
Marketers are now paying influencers for product placements and endorsements. This helps to cut down on the amount of time that it would take to organically grow their follower base. Not only that, but it creates brand awareness between various audiences. The marketer simply outlines your goals and content guidelines and allows the influencer to create an authentic narrative. Ultimately, this results in brands reaching millions of people at a time.
Years ago, Facebook was considered to be a one-stop-shop solution. No matter who your target audience was or what services or products you had to offer, this was the ideal platform. With over a billion users, it’s easy to see why marketers focused much of their attention here. However, in recent years, it’s become important to diversify.
Marketers are realizing how risky it can be to depend solely on one social media platform. This was especially evident when Facebook started to make changes in its algorithm and ad platform. Not only is it less risky, but it’s also better for businesses that want to reach a younger target audience as Facebook is no longer the ideal hang out spot.
Younger audiences are spending more of their time on platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. The earlier social media marketers embrace the newest platforms, the further ahead of the competition they’ll be. Diversification also allows companies to experiment with what works best for them. It allows them to get to know the habits of their target audience.
4. Content Curation
At one time, marketers felt the need to fill their feeds with information that originated from their own company. However, things have changed. Business owners now realize that the key to being seen as an authority in their industry is to make sure that their audience is always provided with the most accurate and up-to-date information. And in some instances, this information comes from other businesses.
From round-up pieces, quotes, stats, case studies, and tips, there’s no shortage of information that can be shared with your audience. Not only does this help to educate your followers, but it also ensures that your feed remains engaging and exciting.
Some marketers have even started to make use of user-generated content. This includes things like testimonials, images and blog posts. Asking your followers to share their content with you and then reposting it is an excellent way to show appreciation and boost loyalty.
One of the best things about social media marketing is that it can evolve and within such a short period. Something barely noticeable ten years ago is now considered to be somewhat of a necessity. We now understand social media platforms to be free digital marketing real estate.
It’s a place where you can build a community and genuine connections. It allows you to collaborate with influencers from top niches. It encourages you to think ahead and diversify your efforts. The key is to be strategic when crafting your social media presence.
As these platforms continue to grow and evolve, marketers must make the needed adjustments. This is the only way to ensure that you always get a great return on your investment. If you’re interested in creating a strategy that works for your business, then it’s a good idea to work with experienced professionals like Surgeon’s Advisor. Surgeon’s Advisor can offer insight into the best ways to reach your target audience and get the most out of your social media presence.