What is social media?
According to Kietzmann, et al, social media operates on mobile and web-based technologies to create highly interactive platforms via which individuals and communities share, co-create, discuss and modify user-generated content. (Jan H. Kietzmann, 2011)
Social media has been around for as long as I can remember. Facebook was launched in 2004, over a decade ago, and I have been regularly active on it since 2009. The timeline of social media stretches all the way back to 1978. Ward Christensen and Randy Suess were responsible for the creation of the first computerised bulletin board system (CBBS) to make announcements and plan meet-ups with friends. (Glenn, 2012)
Today, social media is a powerful mechanism that has shaped the internet and changed the ways of over a billion people throughout the world. (Newton, 2015) The average American spends thirty seven minutes a day on social media sites. It is estimated that 52% of online adults spend at least two hours or more on social media sites. The number of social media users only continues to increase, and popular sites such as facebook are even beginning to attract many OAPs (Over 65s). (Preite, 2015) This gives business owners and entrepreneurs enormous potential to connect with their target market anytime, anywhere.
Google+ is at the top of the leaderboard when it comes to registered users, but in August, 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that facebook had achieved over one billion active users in a twenty-four hour bracket (Newton, 2015), which adds to the fact that facebook still remains the most dominant. Other popular platforms include LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. For small and medium sized businesses, the ability to maximize growth, stability, efficiency and effectiveness is higher now than it has ever been before, all due to the use of social media. (Preite, 2015)
When and how did social media become a part of business?
There are many ways in which businesses can integrate social media into their operations, marketing being the most common functionality. It has been over twenty years (1993) since the first online advert was sold (Bourne, 2013) , and similarly to other technological journeys, internet marketing has come a long way since, and the facts above show exactly why. Marketers collect data on their target market and advertise on social media accordingly.
Douglas Karr posted some staggering statistics in relation to social media for business. One of which stated that 46% of web users turn towards social media when making a purchase (Karr, 2014). Jeff Bullas also stated that 89% of 18-29 year olds are active on social media. Could this mean that over 41% of all 18-29 year olds may use social media to aid their decision making when making a purchase? – No wonder social media has become such a huge part of marketing.
Other functionalities that social media offers to business include customer care, communication, headhunting, online conference meetings, news & publication and for enhancing business-to-business (B2B) & business-to-customer (B2C) transactions, all of which will be discussed in detail in later blogs.
Bourne, J. (2013, 09 11). Online advertising: A history from 1993 to the present day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: http://www.marketingtechnews.net/news/2013/sep/11/online-advertising-history-1993-present-day-infographic/
Glenn, D. (2012). The History of Social Media from 1978 – 2012. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from adweek.com: http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/the-history-of-social-media-from-1978-2012-infographic/90816
Jan H. Kietzmann, et al. (2011). Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from http://busandadmin.uwinnipeg.ca/silvestrepdfs/PDF06.pdf
Karr, D. (2014). 2014 Statistics and Trends for Businesses on Social Media. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from Marketing Tech: https://www.marketingtechblog.com/2014-statistics-trends-businesses-social-media/
Newton, C. (2015). Facebook draws 1 billion users in a single day. Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from The Verge: http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/27/9217607/facebook-one-billion-daily-active-users
Preite, G. (2015). Social Media is Causing a Home Business Revolution! Retrieved 10 20, 2015, from linkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/social-media-causing-home-business-revolution-greg-preite