Social media mean interacting with each other in a social platform. Social media sites are internet based platforms where it allows its users to communicate with each other using the mediums like words, pictures, video’s and images.
The evolution of social media and the millions of users who visit social media sites had created a niche market for small businesses to market their service at free of cost. To clearly understand the effects social media is having on a small business one should understand how the social media evolved.
The Beginning of Social Media
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Most of the present generation believes social media started with the creation of Geocities, but the social media began to evolve from 1978. Yes, in 1978 two Chicago based computer experts developed a messaging system called BBS. The explanation of BBS is Bulletin Board System, this system was developed to communicate between friends through which they can share information, fix up a meeting with friends and more.
This system is the first virtual application that united a small group of people virtually.
Gaining Popularity with Geocities
In-between 1978 to 1994 there are various transformations taking place on the World Wide Web. The most important transformations are the launch of AOL in 1985 and donation of WWW by CERN to the world. One could say that the invention of WWW has changed the world for good.
With all these new inventions in internet Beverly Hills Internet launched the Geocities in 1994. Geocities help people to create their own webpage where they can express themselves and these Web Pages are segregated mostly towards the cities where they live.
Geocities, quickly grew in popularity with 1 million users by 1997, it also paved the way for people who run small businesses to speak about the service they offer to other people through their WebPages. We can very well say that advertisement of small business in social media started from Geocities.
MySpace Takes Internet by Storm
With Geocities gaining popularity there were also other noticeable developments in the social media arena. The most notable one’s are AOL developing an instant messaging chat system which was launched in 1997, Google launching its indexing service by the same year, Friends Reunited the first of its kind social network sites launched in 1999 to reunite the relocated school friends and Friendster, a social network website was launched in 2002 which grew into a website with 3 million users in a period of three months.
At 2003 MySpace was initially launched as a clone of Friendster, but it had many unique advantages.
- MySpace is the first social networking website that introduced an interaction with a group of friends.
- MySpace is the first social networking website that had instant messaging within its platform.
- MySpace is the first social networking website to show a video.
All these unique features which allowed MySpace users to interact with each other and in fact rose in popularity. In 2006 MySpace even overtook Google as the most visited website in the world.
The Rise of Facebook and Twitter
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Facebook was launched in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg along with his college roommates. Initially Facebook was only open to Harvard university students, but slowly expanded to other colleges, high school and finally to all people who are over 13 years of age. Currently Facebook has around 955 million users.
It can also be said that Facebook is the first social networking website that created its own advertising platform similar to Google’s Adwords where individuals and small business can advertise their services to the Facebook users.
Another social networking giant Twitter was launched in the year 2006 by Jack Dorsey and gained popularity rapidly. Currently Twitter has around 500 million users. Twitter generates around 1.6 billion search queries per day, which ranks it as one of most used search engines. These 1.6 billion searches is what helping small business to speak about their service.
As Facebook and Twitter are current social network giants we will see what kind of effect these two social networking websites has on small businesses.
The Effect of Facebook on Small Businesses
Facebook with its 955 million users and 1 billion searches per day is a lucrative market for any small business. As per Facebook rules only users can create a profile and the companies can only create a page. This Facebook page helps a small business to speak about their services to potential clients.
Currently there are around 42 million Facebook pages which show the popularity it has gained among business. A small business that has a Facebook page has the advantage of reaching millions of users in one single platform, interact deeply with their customers and cut costs on their advertisement.
Many surveys that have been conducted have revealed that having a Facebook page helps small businesses to create an identity for their brand and helps to establish their client base.
The Effect of Twitter on Small Business
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Similar to Facebook with its 500 million user base and 1.6 billion search queries per day, Twitter is a lucrative market for any small business. Twitter helps small business with two of their advertising products “Promoted Tweets” and “Promoted Accounts”.
With a Promoted Tweets platform Twitter promotes tweets related to your business on profiles of people who have an interest in your niche. Whereas, with Promoted Accounts product small businesses can gain followers in their official twitter account on the basis of pay per follower.
The effect both these social networking websites can measured by having a look at the websites of small business. Now, almost all small business websites have a Facebook like and Twitter follow icon on their website. And small businesses are very well aware of the effects these websites can have on their business when used smartly.
With Google Plus jumping into the bandwagon of these social networking websites and Google’s announcement of giving more importance to social signals while ranking a website has indeed social media marketing more important for small business and in the foreseeable future the effects of these websites on small business is tend to increase dramatically.
Written by Philip. Edited by Rahul Chowdhury.
Philip is a guest blogger writes informative contents related to social media. Recently Philip has updated information on how to improve social presence for a business on his website. For more information please visit http://www.social-presence.net/
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