Social media has touched the lives of most internet users and has slowly but surely influenced aspects of the Web by deciding which websites rank high, are popular with users, and continue to enjoy special status among the rest.
How has this happened especially when traditional SEO worked decently enough to help websites rank high? And what's with this whole social networking craze? We'll answer these questions and more to find out how and why social media has become a major marketing tool.
We've turned to the internet as a teaching tool, a business tool and a communication aid. Jobs have largely become computerised except in places where internet connectivity doesn't exist or is poor. We spend hours on the computer and on the internet so much so that communication and interaction as we once knew it, has almost become obsolete for some. But since we're social creatures we need a platform that helps us connect with our peers and the internet or, more specifically, social media offers that.
Staying connected has become easier than ever before and it's now possible to make transactions, send and receive media and communicate through voice and video chat services. This wasn't possible two decades ago, at least not for the public. Today? Forget computers and laptops; cell phones are the go-to devices that people are turning to. Cheaper, portable and packing a whole lot of features and apps not available in PCs and laptops, almost all internet users have at least one.
Perhaps the best thing about social media is the ability to maintain customer relations. For businesses, this is the most important aspect the failure of which can see a company take a huge fall. With websites linking to social media, customers can share their experiences with peers and website admins can keep track of what products and services have made a hit. Such valuable feedback influences what companies will offer in the future and gives customers a feeling of worth which is important.
Some are of the view that social media is only used by small businesses that can't pay for large ad campaigns and branding. This is simply not true as present evidence shows with well-established companies releasing videos and social networking websites to showcase their latest offerings or building hype prior to a new launch.
Conversely, it's also believed that large businesses are the only entities to utilise social media. Again, this is false as small ventures benefit hugely since the cost of doing so is very low. Just establish a link to popular social media sites where the business's ‘official page' is, keep both sides updated, maintain customer relations and wait to see the magic happen.
Visit any popular website and you'll see links to social media sites. This is not a passing trend. In 2013, statistics showed that there was an 18 percent increase in social media users with the year 2017 expected to see a massive 2.55 billion logged onto such sites. At the moment, almost one in four people use social networks and that number is pegged to increase in 2014 and beyond. This gives a clear idea of just how influential social media has become and why it's such a valuable marketing strategy.
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