What began as a mere programming challenge for Jennifer Ringley back in 1996 to use the bandwidth and upload her picture every 15 minutes which she kind of shared with her friends through her website Jennicam, quickly became an essential activity for all of us today. Ringley was then termed as a conceptual artist and she stood as the very first life caster on the web. Back then, the medium acted as a gift of freedom for Ringley. The concept took off swiftly from this programmer and has flown somewhere to an era where we stand today conveniently settled with multiple social networks to interact better with anyone, anywhere and at anytime. As a user, one can express anger, fear, love, hatred, business, friendship, jokes, rants or rather anything through this hugely connecting stage called social media. But, the popularity that you gain can rise and sink within minutes. So, play well and navigate with utmost care.
Social media stand as conduits between businesses and customers. We have been hearing stories from several companies how they are benefiting with social media marketing. Studies indicate that nearly 87% of the customers make the purchase decision based on recommendations. This facility via social media has enabled consumer-generated business. Social media helps marketers to create awareness and promote brands through their own customers and followers. Uber, for example, offer incentives in exchange for social media shares. Businesses can market their products, sell them, serve customers and take feedbacks instantly via social media.
The year 2020 is projected to have 3 billion social media users. With improved internet services, mobile net access, things are going to further improve.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest are the few top platforms used by marketers.
Facebook is the first social network to surpass 1 billion registered users and currently, it is said to have touched 1.87 billion monthly active users. Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger follow next with 1000 million active users each. QQ stands third with 877 million users and WeChat with 846 million users.
When it comes to watching videos, YouTube comes first, consuming more than 40 minutes of a person’s day. Social media, messaging and entertainment Apps account to almost 15% of the total time that an individual spends on the internet today.
Social media is evolving with better changes and implementation of live video, real-time content etc enables its users to project unfiltered moments and authentic brands.
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More than 80% of the population will go online regularly in 2017. Nearly two-thirds will watch the digital video and use smartphones, and over half of the population will be using social media.
Brands are Seeking Diversity via Social Media
Today business and social media are like Pizza and Cheese. One can still have a Pizza without cheese, but the real taste comes only when had with Cheese. Brands are creating exceptional experiences for customers through social networks. Social media is considered today as quintessential, a part of marketing strategy. Brands are becoming powerful by thoroughly understanding the market and their audience via social media.
By gaining the required insights, businesses understand their audiences better, follow their buying behaviour. Based on these inputs they strategize their marketing plan for the future. Social media ad spend is likely to touch $36 billion in 2017.
Choose to Evolve or Devolve
Both business activities and business performance are highly influenced by social media. The arrival of social media apps have no doubt created watershed moments for all businesses as they are harnessing the benefits by being creative and following a planned approach depending on the social insights that they gather. Nearly about 90% marketers agree that they are benefited by social media. Yes, they are a bit time-consuming. One can easily tackle this issue by seeing the help of tools that help in managing social networks. Increasing exposure and increasing traffic are noted to be the top two factors contributing towards the benefits of social media marketing.
With ongoing analytics and campaign-focused metrics, one can easily measure the success of their social media activities.
How Not To Suck At Social Media
How much of social media is good? Is there any limit. Are we fixed into the loop of blindly adding people whom we have not met? The answer is yes, we are, but it is all for good when followed with ethics. The time that one can spend on social media purely depends upon the type and size of a business.
After all social media companies run business. They know today what to retain, whom to let go, and whom to let prosper. Understand the ethics and allow the platform to create further revolution rather than creating devolution.
• Do not mix up personal and business account.
• Timing is everything. With bad timing, everything goes wrong. So, be quick and act wisely when it comes to social media marketing.
• Social media can get you wrong with few armchair quarterbacks, don’t get bamboozled.
• Social media is not all that protected. Hackers can have their hands on these networks easily if proper measures are not taken. An army of trolls are always on a lookout to pounce on our private messages, photos and other shares. Many people in the social media sit there only to scan the room. Beware of such groups. So, the more secure the platform is, the safer your privacy is. Both are inter-connected. One holds the string of the other.
• One lesson that you need to learn is that you should not go out of the way to look unapproachable. Do not lose your individuality. Be yourself. The more you try to act different, the more it sucks the followers.
• Do not overload others with unrelated information.
• Don’t fake and do not project what you are not. Remember, if you make a mistake, it will go infinite time circulated in social media.
• Social media is panoptical. You are always watched. Nothing is private here and so do not spoil the freedom by misusing the platform. By doing so, you are only creating a possible shake for the future of humanity.
• Social media creates illusions of followers. Choose to know people with whom you can relate with your ideas.
Social media has evolved in these years. The technology is seeing a revolution and can anytime move to the phase of devolution if not followed ethically. Security will soon become a paramount factor to consider. Although several businesses are benefitted through this open communication method of marketing to reach their brand beyond borders, looking ahead, we can sense a phase of turmoil, a phase where we humans can recoil against the technological innovations or rather surrender humanity and culture for the sake of technology if actions for privacy are not taken.
Video blogging, live streaming and anything visual is going to take upper hands in social media. To cut through the clutter, businesses need to build a trusting relationship with their customers and followers; exploit the possibilities of social media and not to miss out on the wealth of opportunities and insights that it offers. Social media has the power to bring back you alive even if you are dead. Have a plan to play long. Users will have to find ways to evolve from what it is now to take complete advantage else it can be the next meaningless toy that reflects the unfortunate state of modern society and act as mere juggernauts.
“You are what you Share.”