15th July 2022
How social media marketing has evolved, stems from the social media platforms themselves and how users would digest the content. In this blog post, we will explore how the various aspects of social media have moved with the times.
- The early days of social media
- From content to marketing
- The future of social media marketing
- How social media has evolved – My conclusions
The early days of social media
The average person checks their phone around 150 times per day so, it comes as no surprise that social media has quickly become a place for audiences to be informed, entertained and connected. How social media marketing has evolved presents various opportunities for businesses to evolve online.
The evolution of social networking platforms has offered businesses the opportunity to be part of the consumers’ daily scroll and part of their community.
Social media giant Facebook may only be 18 years old, but with 2.9 billion users to date, the impact of a platform this size cannot be underestimated.
Other platforms began to appear in drips and drabs over the years following Facebook’s initial launch, such as YouTube in 2005 and Instagram in 2010. My personal favourite TikTok was launched in 2017, gaining mass popularity over the course of the global pandemic in 2020.
From content to marketing
In the early days, social media platforms gave users and brands somewhere to post content for people who followed you or were “friends” with you. It presented an opportunity to measure popularity through likes, follower count and share numbers per post.
As brands began offering paid ads Facebook quickly realised it needed to offer a section for professional businesses. So they established a business profile dedicated to this and in turn created the birth of in-app analytics tools.
How social media has evolved means that today almost every platform has free analytics tools available to businesses to boost their social media strategy.
Analysation tools allow a user to:
- See what content works
- Develop products based on what people are saying
- View competitor performance
Granting businesses the power to share their content within their online community for their users to view, for free, and monitor what people are sharing, mentioning and engaging with on the brand profile.
This offers small businesses the power to track and manage their social media without feeling overwhelmed by masses of data coming at them from all directions. While also giving them a better understanding as to who their audiences actually are, where they are, and how/when they engage.
The future of Social Media Marketing
It is becoming increasingly evident that key social media platforms are depriotising brand posts as they set precedence for “meaningful content” and limit ad numbers.
This doesn’t mean the end of social media marketing, as the doomsday marketers, would have you believe. It actually signifies a change in trends and how we choose to manage content.
Visual content already makes up 82% of content online but as videos extend longer than 2 minutes there is a significant drop-off.
Content now only has 3 seconds to catch the eye of a user before they scroll on. A number which is likely reduced by short-form video outlets such as TikTok or Instagram Reels with a 15-second cap on content.
Video content can now be used on all socials and as a way of showcasing your brand personality, humanising the business to consumers, subsequently increasing both community and loyalty to the brand.
Influencers are individuals who create content relevant to a specific audience, and in terms of marketing 63% of users say they trust an influencer’s opinion over that of a brand. As “meaningful content” comes to the forefront influencer marketing has a highly influential effect on their audiences, so publishing brand content through them can build both you and their platform.
In 2019, Gymshark partnered up with 6 popular fitness and dance TikTok influencers to take part in their #66daychallenge. This challenged participants to “form positive habits to last a lifetime”.
The hashtag gained over 45.5 million views and using the 6 influencers allowed them to connect with the influencers’ network as well as grow their own followers.
User Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is content being posted by customers with the business in mind. This can all come in the form of posts, shares, stories or hashtags.
As algorithm changes make it difficult to reach the ideal audience, UGC can expand the overall reach and the branches of reach come from people already engaged and connected to the business organically.
As much as the creation of UGC is cheaper, brands have no control over what, where, and when content is published; therefore content must be moderated consistently to maintain brand integrity and reputation.
Brands may have UGC curated without the need to ask a prime example may be Love Island UK which annually generates thousands of memes based on contestants’ characters and phrases. This boosts the show on all socials and may drive new viewers to watch based on the memes created and shared through Twitter, Instagram or Facebook groups.
— amber 🦋🚫 (@iguessikstuff) July 14, 2022
How social media marketing has evolved – My conclusions
The evolution of social media has given a new lease of life to how businesses reach and interact with their customers, building communities and networks of people with common interests.
Social media platforms can be tricky to maintain in terms of changes to their algorithms and guidelines, which they will change without notice or warning, and do it frequently.
I think a lot can be learned from how users interact and engage with a brands content, especially regarding loyalty and reputation, making it imperative that where social media is used, it is used and maintained well.
Social media as a marketing tool is an extensive and everchanging task offering opportunities for your business to develop and grow your existing marketing strategies.
Don’t worry if digital marketing is a task bigger than you can manage yourself.
Here at ROAR, we offer a range of services to elevate your business.
Check out our Digital Marketing Consultancy page for information on how ROAR can help you.
Written by Georgia Smith