The Rise of Social Media (and how that affects you and your business)

the rise of social mediaSocial Media. It’s a phrase that didn’t exist until a few years ago. You look back 20 years (the year I was born, lol), and mobile phones were like bricks that had a battery pack with them. Now just two decades on, we are at the current height of the digital age, and it seems to be growing year in year out.

My first encounter with social media was with a site called Stardoll. It was like a children’s almost social network where you would have a virtual doll who you could buy clothes for and decorate an apartment and it was so good. You could also connect with other people but it was frowned upon really, mainly because I was only about 8. I remember around the same time my dad always used to use Myspace – it was Facebook’s predecessor where people would connect and friends would compete to get to the top of your friends list. Bebo, MSN messenger, online dating, who knows what else, but there were loads of sites like this, but Facebook’s big breakout in 2007 was what I think was the turning point for social networking. After Facebook, Twitter had it’s breakout, then Instagram, Tumblr, even Snapchat is classed as a social network and is in fact being used by businesses.

Social networking has grown so significantly in the past few years – near everyone that I know has a profile on some sort of social network, whether it be YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat. It’s so popular and the fact that it is FREE is possibly the reason why it has become so popular with businesses as well as people.

Facebook: I’ve found in my personal experience that Facebook is great for connecting B2C, not so great B2B. As a B2B business, it’s not as much of a focus for us, but should still be used. One thing that you certainly need to know if you are using Facebook for business is that you must use the “group” option and NOT a standard profile like you would have for personal use. It’s against Facebook’s policies to do this and you can get your account closed down. The good thing about this is that when you’re using a page for your business, you can actually pay to promote your page or a certain post. It doesn’t cost too much but it can boost your views on your page considerably. You can even pay for likes, but come on, what even is the point.

Twitter: Twitter, I think, is a great all rounder; I’ve found in the past that it is great for interaction with other businesses (certainly much better than Facebook is) as well as regular people. Alike Facebook, you can pay to promote a certain tweet or your account – it’s not as well advertised as it is on Facebook because on Twitter there is no difference between business accounts and personal.

YouTube: I wrote a post last week on the huge growth of YouTube. It’s considerable. You can make money from putting your videos online, that could be promotional or showcases your work.

Instagram: I think Instagram is a great one for any business – the app looks great and honestly I think it’s lot more interesting to look down my Insta feed in comparison to Twitter and Facebook considering the fact that it’s only image based on Instagram. The only issue with this one is that it’s so hard to build a decent following, compared to other platforms. However, you can link your account to Facebook and Twitter so they will automatically post your images to there, which will certainly help.

Snapchat: I remember back in late 2013 reading that Snapchat would be the next big thing in social media, and honestly I couldn’t grasp how in anyway this could be used by businesses. There was this small peak where everyone was advertising that they were on snapchat, to show almost behind the scenes things (like the event stories that come up on your stories page, if you’re familiar with SC) but recently I haven’t seen anything. Maybe 2016 will be the revival of it, but it’s not a bad idea.

What social media platforms have you found to be helpful and worth-while for your business?

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