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The Evolution of Social Media Marketing: A History

by | 20 June, 2022 | Social Media Marketing

Social media has grown increasingly popular in recent years, and whether you want to connect with your family and friends, chat to a community about a common interest, learn about big and small businesses, or seek for enjoyment, social media is there to suit your needs.

 However, social media services didn’t always look the way they did in 2022. It’s hard to imagine that just a decade ago social media looked very different and many still didn’t think you could use social media for small business. 

But a lot has changed and evolved in the past 30 years. Let’s take a look back to how this all started. 

A history of social media marketing 

While the internet was invented in the 1970’s, its development started slowly. The first major milestone came in the 80s with the introduction of the browser Netscape Navigator. Following this, internet usage saw a massive increase to 70 million users from a virtually negligible number. 

Throughout the 90’s, email grew steadily in popularity, which gave businesses a new outbound marketing tool. With this, we also saw the creation of search engines like Yahoo and Google. Because of this, more companies and individuals saw the need to have their own websites, so they’re present when users look up their interests. 

This brought about two new trends: content marketing and search engine optimization. Content marketing meant companies had to create their own content through websites and blogs while search optimization meant stuffing keywords into that content, meta-tagging, and backlinks to make sure that they can be found. This new type of inbound marketing provided benefits to clients while also developing connections and increasing revenue.

It was only in the 00’s that we saw the start of social media services and networks the way we know it now. The first came in 2002 with the launch of Friendster, a U.S. social networking site. In the succeeding years until 2010, we saw the launch of the same social media sites we used today:

  • 2003 – LinkedIn
  • 2004 – Facebook
  • 2005 – YouTube
  • 2006 – Twitter
  • 2009 – Whatsapp
  • 2010 – Instagram

Each of these had their own USP that attracted their own audience. At launch, LinkedIn allowed employers and job seekers to post their profiles. Facebook was the first to let you tweak your visibility with privacy settings like “only friends,” “friends of friends,” and “everyone”. YouTube finally allowed video hosting and sharing while Twitter combined microblogging (sharing snippets of info) with social networking that let you reach a broader audience with trends and topics. 

Ultimately, all of these social media services would also incorporate marketing tools like data analytics and paid advertising. This empowered more brands and companies to use the platform not only to be present where their audience was, but also to learn more about their audience via studying their feedback while engaging with them.

Social media today has truly evolved into something more than a venue for friends to connect. Today, social media services are powerful tools that businesses small and large can use to engage with their audience, build relationships, and foster brand loyalty. 

Which social media platforms should I invest in for my small business? 

Today, social media has largely shifted away from simply being a place where friends connect and share to different kinds of platforms each with their own unique features, advantages, and audiences. With so many different social media services available for everyone, it can be hard to figure out how to leverage social media for small businesses.

Do people still use Facebook? Should we be on Instagram or TikTok? Is it worth advertising on Twitter? With social media marketing trends in 2022 changing every month, staying on top of your social media strategy is a challenge. Good thing for business owners, social media management online is easy with Top Results Consulting

The world of social media marketing, and internet marketing in general, is a vast space that takes time to master. That’s why Top Results Consulting is here to help you employ the right social media strategies for your small business. From SEO and content marketing to social media management, we can help your business succeed online and reach your target audience. Contact us and learn how we can transform your social media presence today!

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