Facebook has come a long way since its inception in the early 2000s, and although it is known as the social media brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow college roommates, few people realize that it actually started as a site that was set up by illegally uploading headshots of co-eds and having people rate which one was better in a side-by-side comparison. Known as Facemash.com, this is where today’s social media giant actually got its start.
More commonly, people know Facebook as the site for college students. Once upon a time, you couldn’t even sign up without a “.edu” email address, or without getting an invitation. Of course, the history of this social media website has been covered a million times over. What we want to discuss today is not the history of the site itself, but how Facebook usage and social media has evolved since the site was first launched.
From Novel to Need-to-Know
When Facebook first began, the idea of a social network connecting high school and college students was quite novel. Most people set up a simple profile, added friends (if they had any collegiate compadres), and used the Wall feature to communicate back and forth. Upon launch, this site was truly what it claimed to be: a social network.
Today, however, much of that has changed. No longer is social networking ‘novel’ or exciting. It’s a part of daily life, and so much so in fact that more people are using Facebook and other social media sites today than those who are watching TV. From a marketing perspective, that means that traditional media is no longer the best avenue for reaching your audience. If you want the widest reach possible, you have to go online, and you have to go social.
Modern-day activity and posting on this social media website are now centered around three main categories. While people still post general text updates on their walls, the most common posts found on Facebook include:
- News and Information
- Memes and photos
- Contacting businesses about services
What started as a community network has become a global network, and it is one that people rely on daily for news, social updates, and entertainment, to name a few things. In fact, this is one of the best resources for finding live broadcasts and up-to-date information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the related economic issues that the United States is having.
Additionally, businesses are using Facebook Messenger to contact businesses now more than ever before. This combined with the Facebook Marketplace has turned Facebook into a new avenue for creating and developing relationships with customers on a 1 to 1 level.
Introducing “Fake News”
Although false information and misleading media have been around for centuries, the world of social networking is changing how people consume that information. Primarily, it makes fake reports, false articles, and misinformation much easier to obtain, which can lead to an avalanche of people sharing what is now notoriously called “fake news” or unverified stories that may be from real news sources or that may have been curated by a marketer or spam bot in an attempt to lure people to a certain website.
The problem with incorrect information on social media is that it spreads like wildfire before it can be validated. Unfortunately, a large number of the general population doesn’t even bother to verify the information that they find on social media. They simply share and continue to perpetuate the story, regardless of whether it is true.
As a responsible business owner or marketer, now is your time to help combat this misinformation by offering value-added resources on social media for your audience.
What the New Social Media Means for Marketers
If you look at the three types of content above, you’ll see exactly what you can do with your social media account to help build your brand authority and increase visibility. Publishing relevant content is a great way to build a following on social media and give people resources that they can actually use. While this social site is still quite social, it has also become a huge marketing platform littered with ads and posts promoting company services, items for sale, and the best solutions for whatever you may need in life.
That means that it’s going to be up to you to invest in resources like Facebook marketing and social media advertising as part of your overall strategy. You should team up with a marketing firm that understands social media marketing and how it has evolved over the years to coincide with Facebook usage and user habits. They will be able to help you understand how the site has evolved and how you can create successful marketing campaigns that are designed for the future of social media.
A Quick Look at the Statistics
According to a study done in late 2018 by Digital Information World, more than 64% of all Internet users surveyed between the ages of 18 and 64 reported using at least one social media site. While the 18-29 demographic still leads the way in usage, even the older crowd is catching up quickly. As many as 41% of adults over age 65 reported using Facebook at the time of this report.
Add to that the fact that 74% of users visit the site daily, and many multiple times per day, and it’s easy to see why this is the place to cash in on social media marketing for the future of your business. In 2008, only 21% of adults reported using social media. By 2018, that number was up to 64%, and it is still climbing.
Less personal sharing, more news media and marketing, and an audience that wants a personal relationship with every professional brand that they connect with through social media—these are the biggest changes in Facebook usage to date. It has led a long, storied life in its climb to become the social media giant that it is today, and it is likely that the future is only going to lead to further evolution in the way that social media is used on a daily basis. That means it is going to impact the way your business uses social media, so you’ll want to stay on top of the latest changes in social media marketing and keep your strategies fresh.