Since the advent of broadband internet, social media platforms have been one of the most significant technologies to emerge. Social media is vital for any business today and forms a core part of digital marketing.
What Was The First Social Media?
There is some debate about what the earliest example of social media is – there are several potential contenders. For example, Usenet emerged in the early ’80s and was first cited in the late ’70s. Usenet enabled users to share articles and news with other likeminded people and was a precursor to RSS feeds.
Others would argue that the Bulletin Board Systems of the late ‘70s were closer to social media as we know it today. BBS was the first website that enabled users to create accounts so they could log on and interact with one another socially. However, the social tools that BBS offered were quite different from those on social media platforms today.
After BBS came instant messaging through IRC. Instant messaging is an essential feature for any social media platform, enabling users to talk to one another in real-time.
The first true social media site by most people’s definition would be Sixdegrees, which was launched in 1997. This was the first website that resembled the social media platforms that we know today and had one million members at its peak, an impressive feat for the time. Between its launch and eventual shutdown in 2001, numerous similar sites appeared, albeit none as successful.
Friendster was the first social network that advertised itself as such. It was launched in 2002 and managed to amass more than a hundred million registered users. It was very popular in Asia but was eclipsed over the next few years by the rise of MySpace and, ultimately, Facebook.
You may even be surprised to learn that in actual fact LinkedIn was launched before Facebook.
What Is A Social Media Influencer?
A social media influencer is someone on social media who has a significant number of followers and whose updates and content are guaranteed to be seen by a large number of people whenever they post. As a result, getting a product or brand mentioned by the right influencer can completely transform its fortunes overnight.
As the name suggests, social media influencers wield significant influence over the purchasing decisions of their followers. Given how many users the largest social media platforms have, the potential value of an influencer is enormous. Businesses today put a lot of time, effort, and money into their social media marketing. Influencers are an important part of that, enabling marketers to achieve results that would otherwise be out of reach. A mention of your product or link to your website can send literally millions of users your way in a matter of hours.
There are different types of social media influencer out there. While the number of followers is always an important metric when determining an influencer’s value, it is not the only measure. The type of content that an influencer produces and the niche that they specialise in are also important considerations. Niche audiences are smaller, so influencers catering to niche markets shouldn’t be expected to attract quite the same user numbers.
What Is A Social Media Manager?
Social media managers are responsible for overseeing a business’s use of social media. This means that they take responsibility for decisions made regarding social media marketing and the way that their social media channels are used to promote the business. As many businesses have learned the hard way, taking the wrong approach to social media management can have a number of negative consequences for a business.
Managing social media for a business can be challenging and requires a deep understanding of social media platforms. Smaller businesses might have a single individual handling their social media for them, but this can scale up to a team of people for larger businesses. Fortunately, there are now numerous automation tools available that make it possible for just one or two social media managers to easily manage regular content and marketing updates for their pages.
Because things move fast in the world of social media, social media managers have to regularly review and update their strategies. Whereas many marketing campaigns will take place over a period of many months, most social media managers will evaluate and refine their campaigns every 90 days or so. Of course, this will vary according to the specifics of the campaign in question.
What Is an Algorithm In Social Media?
Most people are aware that algorithms are somehow important to social media platforms, but there are many misunderstandings about exactly what they are and what purpose they serve. For any marketer who works with social media, understanding how these algorithms work and how they can be exploited is a central part of their job.
For most social media users, the primary function of the platform’s algorithms is to keep serving up content that they will be interested in. Irrespective of anything else, social media platforms aim to keep their users on the platform for as long as possible. As long as users are scrolling through their feeds and occasionally clicking on buttons, the social media platforms are happy.
Over the years, there have been numerous changes made to these underlying algorithms, and these algorithm changes alter the platform as a whole in a number of important ways. These algorithms analyse users’ past behaviour and use that data to make predictions about the kind of content they are want to see and are most likely to interact with.
The need for these algorithms is obvious. With so much content being added to social media platforms constantly, they need a way of sorting through it and deciding which content their users are going to want to see the most. The longer users spend on the platform, the more it can learn about their behaviour, and the better it can understand them. Ultimately, after a user spends enough time on the platform, it is able to very accurately predict the kind of content that they are going to respond best to and can generate their feeds much more effectively.
What Is A Successful Social Media Campaign?
Just like any other kind of marketing campaign, every social media marketing campaign is started with different objectives in mind. Among the most important aspects of devising any marketing strategy is establishing what the goals are, what you hope to achieve by the end of it, and how you will measure your success. The strategy that you construct should be mindful of all these considerations.
Because the underlying objectives of marketing campaigns differ from one another, exactly what a successful social media campaign looks like will vary as well. However, there are a relatively small number of objectives that are certain to form at least part of what a business wants to achieve with its social media campaigns. For example, it is almost certain that any business is going to want to see user engagement increase as a result of their campaign. That means more users visiting their social media pages and liking and sharing their content.
Failing to clearly define your objectives and key performance indicators beforehand is going to make it much harder to assess the progress of your campaign once it is underway. On the other hand, if you set yourself SMART goals, goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-limited, your goals are more measurable. Their value to your business from achieving your objectives should also be clearly defined.
What Will Happen To Social Media?
The world of social media moves very quickly, and major platform updates are a relatively frequent occurrence. These updates can radically alter the nature of the platforms, not always for the better in everyone’s book. Making predictions about the future of social media with any kind of certainty is very difficult, but by looking at some of the existing trends, we can make some pretty good guesses as to what sort of changes we are going to see the platforms make in the near future.
First of all, we expect content algorithms to become much more sophisticated and better at identifying high-quality content. Not only is this beneficial from the perspective of the platform’s users, but there is increasing legislative and regulatory pressure for social media platforms to take misinformation and fake news more seriously. Updating these algorithms would be an important part of combating both of them.
Local content is also likely to become more important in the future as social media users increasingly look for ways of integrating these digital tools into their real social lives. Social media makes it possible to connect with people around the world, but for many people, the primary purpose is still to facilitate their offline social life.
What Is The Cost Of Advertising On Social Media?
Costs vary enormously, depending on how big a company’s budget is and whether they use a manager to run their campaign. There are also differences across the different platforms, with Instagram charging as little as 0.50p for impressions.
Small companies may only spend a dollar a day, but large companies can easily commit thousands of pounds per month on social media advertising.
Social media platforms are, when all is said and done, highly sophisticated marketing platforms. The goal of social media platforms is to keep users on the site, and scrolling endlessly through their feeds, seeing ads as they go. This makes social media platforms important for websites, businesses, and individuals who want to promote themselves.
So social media plays a central part in many organisations marketing strategy but few are really optimising on turning connections into clients and there is a huge potential to generate leads and in turn profits from your online communities.
Find out where you are on your journey and how influential you are in the online space for your brand or business – Take the ‘Are you a Digital Superhero Quiz’ now and see how you score!