Social Media Marketing: How Its Changed & Why Social Media Companies Exist

We’ve said it before - advanced social media companies don’t “just post.” There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes that the client isn’t (and doesn’t need to be) involved in. This is true for ALL social media companies. The question we’re addressing today is, “What am I paying for?”

The short answer is, you’re paying for strategy towards a still-new method of brand awareness and sales (for this blog, we’re going to assume you're a company or individual that offers a product or service).

To skip the history of the internet & social media, click here.

The Beginnings of Social Media

Keep in mind that the internet wasn’t available to the general public until 1991 - that’s only 30 years ago! And social media first came on the scene in 1997 with Six Degrees, followed closely by the well-known-by-Millenials AOL Instant Messenger.

While these milestones happened within just the last 3 decades, the most notable social media platforms arrived in the early 2000’s - 18 years ago. But only 2 of the platforms that popped up were a place to network or be discovered: LinkedIn (for professionals) and Myspace (for artists).

Myspace was all the rage. If you were probably 11-18+ years old, you probably had an account and miraculously learned code to customize your profile to your liking. And just a year later, Facebook showed up.

We all know Mark Zuckerberg and his story. This is where the future of social media changed as we knew it. Facebook began as a private social media site, and is now arguably the most popular social media platform in the world.

Perhaps the biggest buy was when Facebook bought Instagram. From there, platforms that couldn’t live up to the competition of others and started shutting down, reinventing themselves, or selling to the highest bidder.

Major milestones in consumable social media (yellow-highlighted dates are significant dates):

When Online Marketing Began

Contrary to popular belief, digital marketing didn’t become a dog-eat-dog, target-market-focused tool with the introduction of the internet or even social began with unlimited data plans and smartphones.

Digital marketing (strictly speaking on social media platforms) involves extremely detailed audience-targeting to reach a desired group of people. This can include the following parameters, based on the result you’d like to see (drive audience to a site, increase sales, brand awareness, more followers, more messages. etc.):

  • Geo-location

  • Age range

  • Gender