Change can be frustrating. Like when your flight time is changed, your favorite fashion trend suddenly becomes a fashion faux pas, or your cherished team breaks its winning streak.
But some change is good. Like getting a seat upgrade from coach to first-class, finally being able to wear brown and black—together, or seeing your favorite football team move from being the underdogs to Super Bowl champs.
Consider the changing and constantly evolving state of the Web. While it can be difficult to keep up with, the never-ending shift in the medium can be a good thing—especially for your bottom line. Since the introduction of social media, the online world has grown into a beast that cannot be tamed. All business owners can do is feed the growing beast, and allow it to feed the company’s success in return.
Let’s take a step back and look at how a few of the core online platforms have morphed over the years and how you can participate on each.
The first blog emerged in 1994—a personal diary composed online. It wasn’t for a few more years that blogging would take a less personal turn with some politically focused blogs. In 2004, blogging truly emerged from obscurity and became more of the norm.
Today, blogging is not only for personal use, but it is extremely valuable for professional use. Company blogs are becoming more and more common online, and for good reason. Blogging about your company’s industry positions you as the credible expert as you answer commonly asked questions, give valuable information and entertain your blogging community.
After shedding their affiliation with the e-commerce business, PayPal, three friends decided to launch their crazy idea of a video-sharing website. The first video to pave the way was uploaded on April 23, 2005— “Me at the Zoo” featuring one of the founders at the San Diego Zoo. In 2006, the social website was purchased by Google and it exploded from there. Today, more than 4 billion hours of YouTube video are watched monthly. You can find anything from how to sew on a button to cultural phenomenon.
To avoid this beast of a social media site would be a tragic mistake for any business owner. From featuring video of the culture at your company, to project highlights or subject-matter experts, the opportunity to position yourself as an expert is within your reach.
What started out in 2003 as “Facemash,” which allowed Harvard students to rate classmates as “hot or not”, has now turned into a social network with 680 million monthly active users. From 2003’s Facemash debut, came 2004’s TheFacebook launch that allowed social sharing and connecting. Later, TheFacebook was changed to Facebook and now we have a new media giant that is consuming social power by the minute with about 684,000 pieces of content shared.
It’s no surprise that businesses on Facebook find success in connecting with consumers when you consider that 80% of social network users prefer to connect with brands through Facebook.
This fowl-friendly social sharing site began in 2006 and quickly gained speed to become one of the fastest-growing social platforms today. In just 140 characters people were given the opportunity to share “a short burst of inconsequential information” and “a series of chirps from birds”. Today, Twitter is used to spread more important things, like breaking news.
Regardless of the large gamut of uses, it is undeniably an asset for businesses that want to interact with their consumers and spread company and industry information. So, in a word—ahem, hashtag—#tweetitup!
When considering where these social giants began, who knows where the Web will take us and what else will emerge. Our advice? Reach in and feed the social media creature, otherwise, you might find yourself getting bit.