When social media platforms overtook email as the newest form of communication for marketers, the nature of conversations with potential customers shifted.

When social media platforms were in their infancy, businesses drove conversation and crafted an image of themselves. More recently, social media has empowered consumers to shape the public perception of businesses in the marketplace. And that’s because as more people use social media to engage with brands, publicly praising or criticizing brands in online forums has become commonplace. 

This evolution of how users interact with social media has long-lasting implications for social media marketing.

Here are four ways that social media marketing has changed.

1. With the Evolution of Platforms, the Type of Content Required Has Shifted.

Facebook, which launched in 2004, has continued to change, often updating what it prioritizes in its algorithm. First, Facebook wanted businesses to create social media content in the form of written posts, then moving to prioritize images. Later, Facebook began prioritizing video content, encouraging businesses to increase their audience by attracting views.

Because of this, social media marketers have needed to stay on top of changes within not only Facebook, but every influential social media platform.

Launched in 2003, LinkedIn was one of the very first social media platforms, and it specifically targeted business people. It is still the number one platform for working people to connect. If you want to attract people to your content on LinkedIn, it needs to be professionally focused. While that emphasis hasn’t changed over time, LinkedIn has evolved content types to attract platform users.

On the other hand, Facebook is more for connections between friends and family. As businesses have become increasingly engaged with the platform, how those businesses interact with other users has continued to evolve. 

Twitter came to life in 2006, providing yet another different way for people to consume content — this time with short-form written content. Twitter has also shifted through the years, adding features and even doubling the character limit for individual tweets. 

In order for social media marketers to be successful, they need to remain up-to-date with the current best practices of each of these platforms, as the landscape of social media continues to evolve.

2. How People Access Social Media Has Changed.

As flip phones have given way to smartphones, more people than ever are engaging with social media on the go. GaggleAmp tells us that “according to Pew Research, only 35% of Americans owned smartphones in 2011, and that number has now risen to 77%.”

When social media first began, people still had to use their computers to access it. Mobile-friendly content wasn’t a concept anyone was thinking about. Today, the only companies that don’t think about mobile-friendly content are the unsuccessful ones. With so many people accessing social media during the day, while working, eating, or traveling, mobile has become king. 

This shift has caused social media marketers to think about their content differently. For example, most users don’t turn their sound on when viewing content in public places, making captions on videos the new standard.

3. Customers Are More Comfortable Purchasing Online.

The introduction of eCommerce has changed the nature of social media marketing. Especially during the pandemic, people have become far more comfortable with purchasing products and services online. So smart marketers think about how they can use social media to push their potential customers toward a buying decision. 

In the early days of social media, many consumers were still wary of online shopping. Many were concerned about the security of providing credit card information online, and others were worried that the product they would receive in the mail wouldn’t live up to their expectations. Thanks to the advent of eCommerce sites like Amazon, and aided by shelter-in-place orders brought on by the pandemic, that has changed.

Successful social media marketers focus on attracting buyers with simple purchasing processes that are optimized for mobile, increasing the likelihood users will order a product. 

4. People Have an Increasingly Vital for Connection.

Social media has always been about connecting with others. The brands and businesses that have created a sense of connection are the ones that have thrived on social media. 

Alessandro Riccchiardi says that “people are longing for ways to make a connection. So there is a captive audience online at this very moment, waiting on your brand to do just that.” This has been true since the early days of social media, but the volume of people on these platforms has increased exponentially. This means vastly more opportunities for connection. 

As Gaggleamp says, “It turns out that being friendly and conversational is an amazing marketing tactic, as it builds engagement in your audience.” That will always be true, regardless of the current method of doing it.

Breaking Through the Noise Is Vital.

When social media was young, it wasn’t difficult to get users’ attention. As social media has become more saturated, that has changed.

With so many businesses and organizations using social media for their marketing, an enormous amount of content is posted every day. Connection is essential for gaining an audience, especially when you connect with the problems and challenges of your potential customers.

Social media marketing is an ever-evolving method of engaging with your audience to create connections that make users want to learn more about what you do. Keeping up with the changes is nearly a full-time job in itself. That’s why we’re here to help.