A lot of people have defined social media as applications that have been installed on their phones or tablets, but the plain fact is that social media started as a tool used for communication on computers. Social media can be defined as websites and application that are initially designed for people to have easy access to information which they could also in turn share efficiently to one another within a given period. The misconception that social media is an app that is meant for phones, smartphones to be precise, arise from the fact that most users of social media make use of apps to have access to the various tools that they want to make use of.
In truth, the ability to have easy access to photos, events, opinions of others and other information generally within a short period has done a lot of good. It has helped to change the way people live their lives, and it has also contributed one way or the other to improve the businesses of people, the way to run their business to be precise. Retail traders that engage the services of social media as an essential part of their marketing strategy always get impressive results. We also know that the best way to successfully engage social media is to treat it equally without any extra attachment as the other forms of marketing are also addressed.
The History of Social Media
The development of social media started many years ago, evidence of which is seen in some sites of today such as Facebook. The roots of social media are quite deeper than anybody can ever imagine.
Before The 1900s
Letters were the earliest means of communication. It is a means that was used to communicate across long distances, and it is delivered through passing from one hand to the other. Postal services were developed as far back as 550 B.C. Though it may be considered primitive, this delivery system is on the verge of spreading wide even in centuries to come.
Another means of communication known as telegraph was introduced in the year 1792. This medium enabled the delivery of long-distance messages. It is a medium that is so fast that it was quicker than sending a horse rider to deliver. The only thing about this form of communication is that the information it could carry is usually short. The method was anyway a new revolutionary means for sending messages or information across to people. The technique is no longer common outside the banking sector, but it still made delivery of letters easy in the year 1855 through a pneumatic post. It transported capsules from one location to the other using pressurized air tubes.
The telephone was created in the year 1890 and a year later, which is 1891, radio signals were also produced. In the 1800s, there were two significant discoveries in the last decade. Though modernized versions have taken over their predecessors, these forms of technology are still in use. These methods, telephone line, and radio signals have helped people over the years to communicate at high speed to people in faraway places at a given time. These inventions are like a new experience for the whole of humanity.
Development of Social Media in the 20th Century
In the 20th century, technology took a new turn as changes were occurring rapidly. The invention of the first ever supercomputers was in the 1940s, and after that, engineers and scientists began to brainstorm on different ways to connect these computers in such a way that network is created between them. This new development led to the discovery of the Internet. The development of the early versions of the internet like CompuServe started in the 1960s. Baby steps were also taken towards emailing at this period. As at the 70s, there had been significant improvements in networking technology, and virtual newsletters were available as a means of communication among users of UseNet. It was created in 1979.
In the 1980s, the transition of computers into household items had begun as home computers were being installed in homes. Social media was also becoming more stylish. In 1988, IRCs were used for the first time, and its popularity grew well into the 1990s. Six degrees was the first social media site to be recognized, and it was created in 1979. Users had the opportunity to create a profile and meet friends on Six Degrees. The original blogs also became popular in the year 1999, and it did a job of creating a social media stir that is still popular until today.
The Present Day
The popularity of social media began to grow immensely with the aid of the invention of blogging sites. Sites such as Myspace and LinkedIn became prominent sites in the early 2000s, sites such as Photobucket and Flickr aided online photo sharing. The creation of YouTube in 2005 gave people a new experience. A unique experience that enabled people to communicate and share the news in both far and near places. Facebook and Twitter also became available to people for use all over the world, and these sites still retain their status on the internet as the most popular sites. Some other sites such as Tumblr, Spotify, Foursquare and Pinterest were also created to fill up specific spaces in social networking.
In recent times, so many social networking sites have been created such that they are now interlinked to one another. The result of this is that users can now reach as many people as possible or even as many as they want without having to breach the one-to-one relationship they are privileged within communication. The future of social media in decades and even centuries to come is quite not clear as speculations can only be made. The only clear fact about it is that it will always exist in one way or the other if human living is concerned.
Your Personal Branding
Your personal branding has to do with the way you package yourself. It is the combination of the unique way you do the things that you want the world to see about you, a combination of your skills, experience, personality such that it tells your story, portrays the way you comport yourself, shows your behavior, spoken words, written words, and attitudes. Your personal branding is what people use to judge your professional state. Your personal brand could be a combination of how people look at you in real life, the kind of things the media says about you, the type of impression that forms in people’s mind from the information they can get about you from social media.
You can choose to ignore your personal brand to enable it to grow naturally. By this, your personal brand tends to be disorganized and beyond your control. You can also choose to form your personal brand into what it is that you want it to be. Before the invention of the Internet, your business card was the only personal brand you have. The only people who were heard of by everyone or most people were those that have high profiles in the media, those who are referred to as hot cakes, also those who appeared as the face of advertisements. But in the world of today where there is no discreteness in social media; every piece of information is spilled, and there is a lower tendency for anonymity.
Why You Would Want A Personal Brand
Your personal brand can be a significant factor. It can be of crucial importance to your profession. It has to do with your presentation before potential and already made clients. It enables you to ensure that you are presented to people in the exact form which you want not in some other and probably detrimental way. It helps you to be able to know your strengths, your weaknesses, and your passions as well. It presents a kind of make-believe image that makes people believe they know you more than they do. It helps people to have a higher trust in you because they feel they know you; this applies to even public figures which they have never met personally. Clear evidence of this is noticeable during the period of election. A lot of people do not take their time to do their findings on the views of the candidates on issues that matter to them; they go directly for a recognized person. It should not come as a surprise that candidates with strong personalities irrespective of their political orientation succeed in politics. It cannot be argued for instance that Donald Trump has built a strong personal brand that helped a lot of people trustingly cast their votes in his favor.
The Importance of Social Media in Personal Branding
To be influential in today’s world, you need to create a solid personal brand. Having a personal brand is important because it makes you different from every other person in your field. Your personal brand can help you show off your knowledge and skills in that area. It gives people something to remember you for and separates you from the multitudes surrounding you.
Modern people dislike advertising on a general level; neither do they trust the brands that make them. However, they like and trust people that they feel they know. This observation has influenced how businesses think to market themselves and has led to the popularity and general success of influence marketing today.
Personalizing the main people in a business is now a trend. But while this is easy for small businesses run by sole proprietors, it is difficult for larger companies. Some of them have mastered it well though.
It is logical that before trying to sell a company’s message, the owner or manager should first establish a relationship with the potential market.
Observe the following on how social media improves personal branding:
Social Media Helps You Announce to The World What You Have to Offer
By function and features, you should note that social media helps you spread the word out about your business. As a result, by not being actively involved in social media, you are significantly limiting your business’ chance of getting a good exposure.
Through social media, you can gain brand recognition, develop the brand, and build a likeness for it. On social media, you can create a loyal customer or fan base. More importantly, you can develop your relationship with your target market.
People you engage with on social media including followers and fans will do business with you and refer their friends within and outside social media to you for future business.
Social Media Helps to Enhance Your Search Engine Visibility
Search engine optimization (SEO) works in increasing visibility of contents in search engine results. Many factors influence the search engine ranking of your website and having a social media presence is one of them. Other important factors include mobile optimization of your site, page load speed, linking relationships, and web content. You will have more visibility due to a higher rank in the search engine. Rankings of 95% and usually land on the first page of the search result.
You can maintain a constant social media presence when you always post good content that resonates with your audience. Doing this will have a positive impact on your search results and create more linking relationships. In short, you can’t ignore social media if you want high visibility for your business.
Social Media Helps You See into The World of Potential Customers
In every business and every industry, knowing about your potential market is a big priority. Without knowing your audience and understanding what resonates with them, you can’t create and deliver the kind of content that they need to see to be willing to patronize your business.
You have the option of conducting research through focus groups and administering surveys, but these can be costly, frivolous, and ineffective in the long run because they can’t be done frequently enough.
On the other hand, you can take advantage of social media which encourages interaction on mutual grounds and exchange of information. You get to learn more about your market while they can also explore your social media pages to learn more about you.
No doubt, when used properly, social media is a cheap, fast, and effective way to get information about your audience. You can use that information to grow your business.
Social Media Can Increase Your Web Traffic
Social media is an excellent way for you to be found online and another avenue to invite people to your website. Your every activity on social media is a potential way to lead people to your business website. Therefore, the more you engage your social media pages and your followers, the higher the chances you have at bringing traffic to patronize your site.
The way this works is that your social media will raise curiosity about and your business and in trying to find out more, your audience will do find their way into your website. Social media gives a good return on engagement and will be worth the time you invest in it towards your business. You can create the kind of image about you that you want your audience to see.
Social Media Is Very Popular in The New Age
It is common knowledge to even non-tech readers or fans and marketing novices that social media is very popular among customers of businesses and products.
Recent research at Pew Research Center shows that 65 percent of American adults are active users of social media networks. What this implies is that almost every customer that visits you is a social media user.
The Facebook network currently has a record of 1.7 billion active users in a month. For small businesses, this is easily an excellent place to start getting involved with social media marketing.
Facebook is developed in such a way that there is hardly a business that will not benefit from establishing and managing a presence there. It is very dynamic in function, user-friendly, and provides a broad and extensive audience, considering the massive number of users. Facebook is such a friendly place to start that extending from there to other social media networks will be very easy for you.
Social Media Is More Budget Friendly
Most big social media networks offer advertising packages that are easy on the budget. As a small business owner, you can take advantage of this to reach your audience and provide them with your content. These services are a good bargain for the low prices because social media networks now filter what gets to each user’s feeds and your generic content may be drowned in the mix.
Traditional advertising costs more than social media methods, so this is good news since you no longer must break the bank to reach out to the public, grow your audience, and increase your business.
Social Media Encourages Two-Way Communication
On social media, you can receive feedback from your audience and learn about their interests and preferences.
You can get to know your customers better by asking questions that encourage them to share their thoughts and ideas with you. On your part, you can also give them quick responses without going through the hassles of using the phone or thinking about whether they will get your answers or not.
Social Media Users Are Consistent
One interesting thing to note about people who use social media is that they mean it in every single essence when they say they use social media. Reliable statistics have shown that in the USA alone, the average social media user checks his account 17 times in a day to catch up on news feeds.
It implies that they are more likely to receive your social media contents several times in a day and be updated on your business, even while they hardly pay any visits to your on-site location.
You Can Reveal More About Your Business on Social Media
These days, social media websites are where potential customers search when they want to learn more about a brand or a business. It is not surprising because these sites have a design that allows the business owners to share the most recent information about everything they offer from products and services to upcoming events.
Also, when someone is searching for something related tonight you offer, your business can come up as the answer to the search. It is made possible by the tools on social media that can index your activities and information by the search engines.
Social Media Is an Excellent Tool for Good Customer Service
Being able to provide good customer service is one of the strong points of any successful small business. While social media easily provides a two-way communication platform for you and your customers, it is also an excellent platform for you to improve the efficiency of your customer service and provide quick responses to your audience.
This way, it is more ensured that customer inquiries are not ignored, and your audience will be privier to the fact that you care about them and their experience with your brand.
When you establish social media for customer service and provide an instant response to their inquiries, you can meet business goals with ease. Current statistics have shown that businesses that handle their customer feedbacks well through social media earn more revenue by 20-40 percent more than others.
Social Media Improves the Efficiency of Your Email Marketing
Email marketing which is one of the ancient marketing techniques now has a new side to it because of the rise of social media. You can now cover more audience by sharing your email newsletter in all your social networks. This way, you are not limited to just your list of subscribers or followers. Your content can be seen now by a much larger and better-targeted audience, and you will get the kind of awareness that can drive sales.
You can also invite readers more readers and subscribers by adding a link on in your Facebook or other social pages for them.
Small businesses which have seized this opportunity and combined these groundbreaking tools have recorded a difference in marketing and have gotten a level playing ground to create more awareness for their business and improve their relationship with existing customers.
Everyone Uses Social Media
The larger population of Americans today uses smartphones. I’m in response to this development, a growing number of businesses are going the digital way and offering mobile-user experiences. The big social networks like Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook provide free to use mobile applications that enable business owners, and managers establish and maintain their online presence very easily. Small businesses indeed benefit a lot from the rising trend of mobile activity being a part of everyday life. Even better is the fact that mobile apps allow their users to connect to websites of their choice from anywhere.
User activities aren’t limited to just sharing events from their personal lives. People also use their social networks to search for products, services, businesses and connect with brands.
Social media, especially when it is mobile friendly, is a great way to get awareness for your business or product because you can be found when someone is running a search on the go for something related.