If you were to ask someone in 2005 if they enjoyed “social media,” they might have happily responded that “Yes, People magazine keeps them up-to-date…” on all their favorite celebrities.
Of course, this was only a year after Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, and a platform curiously named “Twitter” was still a year in the making. In 2005, only 5 percent of Americans used social media, compared with nearly 70 percent today.
As marketers have learned, social media is a force to be reckoned with. Companies of all sizes devote entire departments or at least considerable resources to fostering their social media presence. They grapple with the same vexing question: Are we using social media effectively?
As websites taught us, pitfalls become obvious over time
As business websites demonstrated, it takes about 10 years to develop “best practices.” After all, it took time for websites to be tested and evaluated – and maybe restructured as a result – because it takes time for research to be executed, cautionary tales to be culled and new means of tracking and assessing data to be developed.
For social media, this progression has been further complicated by the arrival of new platforms, creating a ripple effect on all the others. (LinkedIn was launched in 2003; YouTube in 2005; and Instagram and Pinterest in 2010.)
Social media is not yet in its “adolescent stage” of development, but enough time has passed for certain social media pitfalls to become too obvious to ignore. So if you’re conscious of how many followers you have – because really, isn’t everyone keeping track? – it may be “tune-up time” to ensure that you’re using social media effectively.