In this new E-Marketing series, Tourism Tattler will help you to become a Social Business. We will show you what influences people’s social behaviour (how to go viral) how to automate online communications, how to position your brand, and how to advertise and sell your products. Ultimately, from this, you will gain enough ideas to start building your own successful Social Media Strategy.
Social Media History
Unlike what many of us believe, online social media has been around a lot longer than you might have expected. In 1969 Compuserve was started. It was the first to offer online connectivity, with hundreds of thousands of users visiting its thousands of moderated forums. Another early form of online social interaction in the late seventies was made possible through the Bulletin Board System known as BBS. Both these systems relied on phone modem dial-ups. Compuserve’s connectivity model was based on offering people time-based connectivity, anyone could purchase x amount of hours in advance.
America Online, Usenet, and Prodigy began online services several years before the INTERNET was started. In 1997, only 4 years after INTERNET technology was donated to the world by CERN and the first Browser Mosaic had been introduced, Sixdegrees.com already enabled users to create profiles and list friends on their website.
From 1994 to the year 2000 the INTERNET grew from as little as 1500 web servers in existence to 75 million in 2019.
Friendster, the millennium’s first social media website, started in 2002 and grew to an audience of 3 million within the first 3 months. The biggest social networking sites were soon to follow. In 2003, MySpace was started as a Friendster clone and during the same year, LinkedIn began. In 2004 Facebook was launched, it called itself the college version of Friendster and was originally intended for Harvard students.
That same year saw the beginning of podcasting and the emergence of two other social media giants, Flickr – the image hosting website, and Digg a social platform where people shared stories from across the INTERNET. In 2005, Youtube started storing and displaying videos and in 2006 Twitter was born.
From its early days in 2004, with just 650 users, Facebook grew steadily to more than 1.69 billion users in 2020. This year, Youtube topped a massive 2 billion users, Twitter now has 330 million monthly active users, and LinkedIn, the social business website, has over 660 million users in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe. In turn, Google, the search-engine giant, had 395 million users on their networking platform Google+ (but it is shutting down this year following a security breach). WordPress hosts 60 million blogs, while Tumblr hosts the vast majority of blogs with 440 million. New parties to the Social scene like Pinterest showed a total of 322 million monthly active users worldwide in 2019.
The immense growth enjoyed by the social media industry confirms that social network users have adopted en masse. Present trends also show that the top social sites are pulling visitors away from smaller niche sites in which users share common interests. This can be compared to some extent to the rise of the supermarket chains in the 20th century that resulted in taking business away from the smaller retail outlets (less effort equals more result). Maturity in the social media sector means that companies can invest in social media marketing confidently using dependable indicators.
But that is really half the story. Equally important is that it remains up to people’s creative marketing vision and application of social marketing methods to formulate the strategies, which create brand popularity and profitable returns on investment.