One of the things that I do is a lot of teaching and a lot of training. I do this thing called a social media bootcamp where I get a bunch of people who are small businesses or from local businesses and bring them into a room, and I spend three hours teaching them about social media. Over the course of it, it’s really obvious that people are unclear as to what social media is today, how to use it and what it means.
A Brief History Of Social Media
What I want to do today is give you a history lesson. It starts out back in the mid-2000s when my son, who had not gotten his driver’s license yet and still probably hadn’t gotten his driver’s permit yet, was talking about this thing called Book Face and MySpace. I’m going, “What the heck is that?” I’ve never heard about these things, but I’ve been doing internet marketing for years, doing websites, CD-ROMs, all this stuff.
I started to explore and I got on “Facebook.” The first day I got on Facebook, I had 100 friends go, “Be my friend. Be my friend. Be my friend.” I was overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe how many people that I knew were already on Facebook and were friending me and it was like, “Oh my goodness.” I didn’t know about alerts, that every time somebody friended you, you get pinged on your phone, and stuff like that. I think it was around 2006, 2007 when I had my first iPhone. My phone was just pinging off the hook. I started to learn, “Okay, this is something that people are paying attention to.”
I’m a teacher. I teach at community colleges, universities. I thought today I would give you a history lesson. It’s about art history. Now, keep in mind, I am not an art historian. I didn’t play one on TV, and actually, I got all this information off of Wikipedia, but there were three major milestones in art history.
The first one I think you heard of was The Renaissance. The Renaissance is when art really started to become a thing and people started to take notice. That’s essentially what I think happened to Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter way back in 2004, 2006, 2008, even all the way up to 2010. People started to take notice and started to jump on board and really started to engage and get to know the system, and would logon often and play with it and get to meet their friends. Eventually, I met people who I knew back when I was eight years old who started to connect up with me.
Then there is the second period after that. There are some pieces that are going to be missing from this art history lesson, but I’m going to bypass those. I’m going to go right for the jugular. The second one was known as the romantic period or Romanticism. Romanticism is where everybody fell in love with it. This is where Facebook and the other social media platforms started to say, “Hey, you know what? You can start using this for your business.”
Facebook created Facebook Pages so your business could have a business page. Which eventually turned into brand pages. You started off having a business page where you could post your business. At the time, it was connected to Bing and Bing would automatically find your business and post a page and encourage you to jump on and claim it. Now, you had a business with the location just like you do in Google Business.
Now, all of the sudden, you not only had a personal profile but you had a business page which eventually evolved into brand pages. Now, you could not only have a business page, but you could have multiple brand pages. You could create groups and you could do all these other things and it was getting very romantic.
Everybody was falling in love with Facebook, because you now had the opportunity to really promote your business. Oh my goodness, I could reach billions of people even though there’s only 325 or so million people in the United States! Not all of them could speak English, and if you had a local business, probably very, very few of them would care about you and your local hot dog stand.
The Romanticism of, “Oh, you can make millions on Facebook,” happened. Everybody was falling in love with Facebook, and it happened inside of LinkedIn as well, because LinkedIn created a whole bunch of tools for you to be able to share your content. There was something called Pulse which they bought and you could post your posts. You could create blog posts and post them and they would be categorized. Thousands and even millions of people would see them. We all fell in love with the social media.
The next shoe dropped, and this was the modern art period. The modern art period was, “Hey, we’ve got to make money at this. How do we monetize it?” Of course, all of them had IPOs, and now they are answering to their stockholders, and no longer is anything that we do free. It’s much, much harder to reach your audience as a business by free means. As a matter of fact, inside of Facebook, if you post something to your business page, even if you have thousands of followers, the chances of people seeing it are less than 1%.
You have a better chance of getting people to pay attention to you mailing out a postcard than you do posting something on your business page in Facebook. How do you solve that problem? Well, there’s one of two ways. You either share it to your personal profile or you pay for it in the form of boosts or advertising and so on and so forth.
The same thing happened inside of LinkedIn. Microsoft bought LinkedIn. Guess what happened: Pulse went away. You no longer can market to the masses. Now, they have no $49, $69 a month programs that help you actually connect up with the people that you’re trying to. Now, people are very confused because they don’t understand all of these changes. They don’t understand why all of a sudden they have to pay for all of this stuff.
Well, let me tell you the core of what you need to know. First and foremost, focus on relationships. That’s what matters. Now, how do you create relationships as a person? That means be you inside of your personal profile first. Alright. Now, Facebook especially has gotten very toxic, especially in the current political environment, but don’t let that deter you.
Post things that are fun, that are engaging. Be yourself, then you can have the opportunity to post something for your business as a share from your business profile to your personal profile. That’s a way that you can circumvent the system. Is it the optimum way to do it? Not necessarily. Will this work forever? I don’t know, but the key thing is, is that it starts with relationships. Build those relationships, grow those relationships even if they’re not necessarily your ideal customer.
The second thing you have to do is make sure you continue to create and post great content. Post it to your business pages. I create blogs and podcasts like this to share with my audience. You know what, if they like it, they share it and they shirt it with their friends and it is seen by a whole bunch of people.
Then thirdly, look at advertising — but be a little weary because if people don’t know, like and trust you first, then advertising can be a huge expense without a return on investment. Whatever you do, keep learning and growing.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments on this subject. Comment below and share your experiences and suggestions on how social media has changed your business!
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