Our summer intern Audra Harris takes a look at the evolution of social media as a method for marketing, developing a brand’s identity and connecting with consumers.
Ten years ago, the Internet was completely different than it is now. MySpace, AIM Instant Messenger and a lengthy dial-up connection were what dominated users’ online browsing experiences. Posting on a wall meant teenagers covering up every blank space in their dorm room with pop singer posters, the hashtag symbol was merely the pound key on phones that no one ever used, and the technology for taking pictures on your cell phone barely existed. Fast forward to 2014, and the social universe has exponentially expanded.
So what effect has this had on the marketing world?
Since the explosion of social media in 2007, marketers and consumers alike began utilizing the different platforms in the hopes of connecting and reconnecting to expand their networks. Advertisers saw this as a great way for companies to directly establish relationships with consumers, and over the next couple of years, brands were slowly beginning to experiment with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
By 2010, a brand having a presence on social media became more than just experimentation. Because of the growing numbers of potential consumers on these media, it became necessary for marketers to ensure that connections were being made. Brands were obligated to interact with their customers so that the customers felt a personal connection to that brand. Not only was social media necessary to maintain a brand’s identity, but it was also a means of building customer relationships. Social networking became a way for companies to put themselves at the same level as their consumers and also a way for their consumers to have a voice.
Social media has also created a desire on both ends for participation. This notion has become a driving factor for advertisers to create campaigns that encourage consumers to communicate on various social platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. Participation has become the currency that keeps the marketing world turning, and sharing on social media is a growing trend that advertisers urge brands to take advantage of. According to Research Now, when people trust a brand, they are 83 percent more likely to recommend it, and what better way to recommend a brand than sharing it to networks on social media?
Today, a strong social media strategy is an essential aspect of every marketing plan. Since its advent in 2007, its use has evolved from experimentation to obligation, and now past obligation to participation. This trend has caused a duality in marketing – the voice of the consumer has become equally as important as the brand’s message. By acknowledging their audiences on social media, brands have the ability to further establish their identity, differentiate themselves from competitors and create relationships with consumers that other advertising media can’t offer.
Looking for assistance with your social media strategy? Give us a call.