Social Media’s Growth
As you will notice over the course of this blog, I am very interested in the subject of Social Media and its trends. Since last summer, I have been researching and learning more about Social Media and how it relates to Marketing. However, I have been involved in Social Media since probably around 2005 or 2006 through MySpace and shortly after Facebook.
But why is it that the use of Social Media in Marketing hasn’t been very big until much later than that?
I think I know the answer but first I need to share a little history of the trends of both Myspace and Facebook before social media got big.
The first social network I remember hearing about was Myspace, which I was part of for less than a year. It seems as though people became relatively disinterested in it pretty quickly though. The site was and still is good for those with bands looking to find a fan base. However, what really hurt the site, I think was influx of middle school-aged kids joining along with all the news reports about the dangers of the site. Needless to say, Myspace was no longer the “cool” place to be.
The next social network to make it big and has managed to stay big is Facebook. The site started as a social network that required a college email (@___.edu). This made the site somewhat special. Once Facebook opened up to everyone people of all ages became interested. By 2008, companies started to notice and pay attention to Facebook, but didn’t really seem to understand the potential or really use it until around 2009.
What took the Marketing industry so long to catch on?
The economy in 2008 was struggling. This meant spending was down. Companies had to find a new way to reach out to their costumers that was inexpensive. At the same time the amount of people joining social networks and using the internet was growing. Randall Rothenberg, CEO of The Interactive Advertising Bureau said “In this uncertain economy, where marketers know they need to do more with less, interactive advertising provides the tools for them to build deep, engaging relationships with consumers” in March 2009. At the same time, studies, such as the Nielsen Global Online Consumer Survey from 2009 (seen below) were being done that showed consumers listened more to their friends on the web than to typical advertising (i.e. print, TV and radio). Social Media had become the place to turn for companies to reach out to their costumers during the troubled economy.
Ever since, companies from all industries seem to be discovering more and more about the possibilities about what can be done with social media. They are no longer just using social networks like Facebook, but have spread to multiple locations like micro-blogging sites (i.e. Twitter) and blogs like this one. In addition, the age groups on these sites have expanded. Companies are able to reach out to costumers in different age groups including those of the baby boomer generation. It seems as though companies are still catching on and learning more and more about Social Media as the economy begins to pick up, so it will be interesting to see where it goes.
What are your thoughts?
Bandwagon Image Credited to Matt Hamm- Flickr