Social media is used by almost everyone now, from individuals capturing those magic moments and sharing them with friends to big businesses promoting their services. We take a look at the way that various forms of social media have evolved over the years and at the way different users and businesses have discovered them and adapted to them….
Those of a certain age will remember the rather elitist beginnings of Facebook, or “The Facebook” as it was originally known. It all began with Ivy League American colleges and soon made its way to Oxford and Cambridge. Since then it has become far more democratic, taken a turn for the universal and is in fact now a global phenomenon. Another interesting development since those early days is the way that Facebook’s users have gone from just students and individuals to include businesses.
A typical, small, independent restaurant such as Dulwich Tandoori in South London is as likely to have a Facebook page these days as a website and many will have both. It makes complete sense as it offers all the facilities that a website does –opportunities to increase awareness of the establishment and a platform from which to promote new dishes—as well as providing the ability to make hundreds of connections.
Slightly higher up the business chain, larger B2C companies will not hesitate to use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about their latest deals or products. An online casino such as InterCasino for example makes great use of these forms to go beyond the reach that it would have using more traditional methods or marketing.
It’s not just classic marketing that’s being done through these channels though-it’s the more subtle art of content marketing. Partly this is comprised by what you might think of as advertorials for the digital world- pieces that are somewhere between an article and an advertisement. Partly though, content marketing is simply about companies creating an ongoing presence in the lives of their customers or potential customers. It’s done by establishing rapport through Twitter, sending seasonal well-wishes to followers on Instagram and interacting with “friends” on Facebook.
A different side of this phenomenon can be seen in B2B companies using services such as LinkedIn to generate leads and Ernst and Young is a great example of this. It’s a very different way of working that suits the different nature of these companies. LinkedIn has revolutionized the job market because as well as making everything far more open, with the ability to search for pretty much anyone and see their CV and employment history, it has created what is in effect a 24/7 networking event in which everyone is connected to everyone else.
As our software and applications keep on evolving, different businesses keep on finding new ways of utilizing the technology. From reaching hitherto untapped markets to streamlining the recruitment process, the business world has made great use of social media so far. As this nascent field continues to improve, we can only watch this exciting space to see where it will take the business world next.