Now, in 2020, the social media landscape looks completely different to how it did 10 years ago. Facebook has dominated the social media landscape, adverts are everywhere, and influencers are running the show. But one thing remains as important as it did back then: authenticity.
The Evolution of Social Media
- Instagram launches, hitting 100,000 users in less than a week. It was so overwhelmed with traffic that its servers completely shut down.
- Pinterest, a photo sharing website, also launches.
- Snapchat launches and introduces ephemeral content to the scene: images that disappear after a set amount of time.
- Google launches Google Plus and later integrates this with YouTube – much to many users’ dismay.
- Twitch, a live-streaming platform now hugely popular with gamers, launches.
- After continued growth throughout the years, Instagram was acquired by Facebook for 1 billion dollars.
- Facebook also hits one billion monthly active users.
- Twitter goes public; however, Wall Street investors realise that the size of its audience will never compare to Facebook.
- Facebook attempts to buy Snapchat, but the owner turns down the 3 billion dollars offer.
- Vine, a popular short video platform, launches after being acquired by Twitter for 30 million dollars.
- Instagram launches video sharing.
- Facebook buys WhatsApp for 22 billion dollars.
- Facebook, Twitter and Google are accused of spreading misinformation during the 2016 presidential election.
- Twitter shuts down Vine, a beloved app for sharing six second video clips.
- Bytedance, a Chinese start up, buys Musical.ly, a lip sync platform and later moves its users to TikTok.
- Facebook, Twitter and Google face pressure in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
- Google+ is shut down.
How has the landscape changed?
Social media has become far more accessible than it was in 2010. With the switch to smartphones and the availability of internet, social media and app developers are catering to an audience that’s growing by the minute.
It also means that businesses have had to follow suit. What once was a useful and playful way to keep in touch with friends and family has also become an excellent tool for advertising, and with 90% of social media users reaching out to brands or retailers, it would be a shame to miss out.
With so many businesses, influencers, bloggers and tweeters out there, users of social media can find it hard to cut through the noise. After all, many of us join social media for genuine discussion and connection, finding things that interest us, things that make us laugh, and stories that we relate to. That’s why authenticity is key to successfully engaging with your audience and allowing them to connect with your brand.
90% of consumers say authenticity is important when choosing the brands they support. If your business wants to succeed on social media, you need to drive authenticity through everything you do. Authenticity encompasses sharing genuinely relatable (and relevant!) content, understanding your audience demographics, staying true to your brand message, being transparent and honest, and most importantly, connecting with your audience.
What will the next decade look like?
Advancements in technology have drove the main changes in social media, with better smartphone cameras and augmented reality allowing people to upload high quality content in seconds.
5G technology is likely to advance social media even further, making way for more interactive content and immersive games. It is, however, hard to estimate whether there is space for another social media network or whether we have exhausted all social media channels. What do you think?
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