When was the last time you checked your Facebook page? This morning? 10 minutes ago? Many people today don’t realize how much the evolution of social media has impacted their lives on a daily basis.
The Evolution of Social Media
In the late 1990’s, AOL kicked off the social media movement with their online messaging program that allowed people to communicate instantly with just one click. In 2002, Friendster launched what is officially known as social media today, and the evolution of social media began. Soon after, other virtual communities like MySpace and Facebook launched in 2003 and 2004, respectively. This was the world’s first look into virtual communities. Since then, other social media communities and photo sharing websites have hit the web including Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest.
Here are five areas of our lives that have been impacted by social media.
Social media has drastically changed the dynamics of marketing and advertising. It has enabled marketers to reach consumers on a much more personal level. Unlike traditional marketing, social media allows you to target specific groups and people. Social media is one of the most cost effective ways to instantly reach consumers about product info, company news, and more. Two great social media vehicles for communicating products are Facebook and Pinterest.
Here are some good examples of companies utilizing Facebook and Pinterest.
- Target on Facebook. Target uses Facebook to remind their fans that Father’s Day is coming up and suggest products that might be great gifts for your dad.
- Francescas Collections on Interest. This trendy clothing boutique uses Pinterest to feature new products. Users can learn about the available items and then re-pin items they like with their friends.
Social media can be great tool for learning. In the article, “Schools Use Facebook Timeline for History Lessons” you can see how teacher have begun incorporating social media into their lesson plans. This new style of teaching has increased student engagement and enabled teachers to show current events and link to topic experts. Social media has also created another great way for parents and teachers to directly.
Today’s headlines travel as fast as someone can type, click, and share. You don’t have to read the paper, turn on a TV or visit a news website to read the latest news stories anymore. Thanks to social media, millions of people are logging into their profiles to read the latest headlines from their friends. Social media is also a great real-time tool to use when a disaster strikes. With the recent Tornadoes in Oklahoma, The Weather Channel used Twitter to inform Oklahomans about tornado warnings.
Social networking has enabled people to stay connected around the world. People are using their cell phones for sending text messages and accessing online profiles instead of actually calling. Anywhere you go, you will find people buried in their cell phones sharing status updates and finding out what their friends are posting.
Social media has greatly improved engagement of young people with politics. Politicians are using social media to create policy awareness to young people. During presidential races Facebook and Twitter even encouraged their users to register and participate in voting. In 2008, Barack Obama was the first presidential candidate to leverage social media. His active role on social media contributed to his appeal to young voters and helped him win that demographic by a large margin.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Many wonder what impacts social media has on a business bottom line and how it’s measured. Profits can be measured by a user’s online behavior according to the recent Forbes article by Natalie Burg, “How To Measure Your Social Media Return On Investment.” Companies can compare the average cost of Pay Per Click campaigns per person to the number of visitors gained from free social media placements. Profits can then be calculated by the increased traffic measured from Facebook, Twitter, etc. Most social media sites provide additional metrics that can be used to further analyze your ROI.
It’s no question that social media has changed the world. Facebook and Twitter are technology disrupters that have accelerated change and will continue to help speed up societal change in the future. Only time will tell what the lasting effects are throughout the evolution of social media…
Katy Ellquist is the Social Media Specialist for Parallel Interactive. She provides original content and manages the day to day of social media campaigns.