How Social Media is Changing the Business Landscape

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Social media has changed how we interact with people. If you have seen the movie, Social Network, you would know that Facebook was created in February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg in his Harvard dorm room. But did you know that Facebook started as a different website called Facemash? Facemash was a website run by Zuckerberg that brought in 22,000-page views in the first few hours it was active. Since it featured his classmates’ pictures without consent, it had to be taken down. That didn’t deter Zuckerberg from using strategic innovation to start the groundwork for his next project. His next project, TheFacebook was created to connect with fellow students of the school. The project took off and soon, half of Harvard’s student body were members of TheFacebook. Mark Zuckerberg saw potential in his project and he dropped out of college, hired the co-founder of Napster, Sean Parker, and shortened the name to Facebook.

Facebook is currently valued at $536 billion, there are more than 2.23 billion monthly users worldwide with an active Facebook account, and five new profiles are created every second. Facebook has three main goals for the future: more apps that connect with Facebook, the ability to reach anyone worldwide, and making the Facebook search tool more user friendly. Facebook is currently working to redesign their search tool (graph search) for mobile and would like to have it tailored for people that meet a certain criterion. Despite the site’s amazing growth, Facebook has seen its stock price decline in recent months due to security and privacy concerns. Recently, Zuckerberg allocated resources to protect the social media site from fake news, scams, and misinformation. It is likely that Zuckerberg’s team will address these issues, so Facebook will continue with its unparalleled rise in social media in 2019.

Facebook isn’t the only form of social media gaining traction. Twitter has changed the way people do business. According to eMarketer, about 2/3s of large businesses (100 employees or more) have a Twitter account. Twitter was originally supposed to be a SMS communications-based platform. Friends could see what other friends were doing, based on status updates. Twitter Co-Founder, Jack Dorsey had a vision for the original twttr. He worked with Noah Glass, Biz Stone, and Evan Williams at a podcasting company called Odeo. The first tweet was by Dorsey “just set up my twttr”.

If you are a business professional, it wouldn’t be uncommon to have a LinkedIn account, and a private Facebook account. LinkedIn may be considered the professional version of Facebook. According to HubSpot, 46% of online adults who have graduated from college are LinkedIn users. Of those with a high school diploma or less, just 9% of online adults are LinkedIn users. Over the past two years, content consumption on LinkedIn has increased by 21%.

LinkedIn was founded in 2002 by CEO, Reid Hoffman and his team. His team consisted of CTO, Eric Ly, VP of Product, Allen Blue, VP of Marketing, Konstantin Guericke, and VP of Engineering, Jean-Luc Valliant. This team consisted of former colleagues at PayPal and SocialNet. The focus of LinkedIn was to connect your professional network in one place. After a period of slow growth, LinkedIn began to pick up steam and had to change its business model to include groups, jobs and subscriptions. In 2007, Reid Hoffman stepped down from his position and named Dan Nye the new CEO. A year of so later, LinkedIn went global and had over 50 million members! The company appointed Jeff Weiner as President in 2009. LinkedIn currently has over 450 million members but only 25% visit the social network each month. The social platform wants to incorporate video streaming in the future, as well as more ways to engage so profiles don’t get stagnant.

Social media apps like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram are also drawing in consumers. Almost ¾ of all Pinterest users are women and these users spend 50% more money on average than they spend on other social media channels. Ben Silbermann, a former Google employee and Paul Sciarra founded Tote, which was a catalog on a phone. Later, Silbermann and former Facebook employee, Evan Sharp cofounded Pinterest despite lots of rejection from investors.

Snapchat’s target market is below the age of 25, but some businesses use the app to engage with their audiences to promote their brand. Snapchat started as Picaboo in 2011, to send pictures that would eventually disappear. Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy co-founded Snapchat in late 2011 after making some technical modifications. Snapchat has over 150 million active daily users.

Instagram is another social media channel that uses engaging content to connect with its audience. Instagram was founded by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom. The first picture on IG was not a selfie, believe it or not. It was a picture that was heavily filtered, shot out of a window, and contained a marina. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012. Today, the photo sharing app, Instagram has more than 400 million users.

We are in an era where more advertising dollars are being spent on social media than on other popular forms of media. Social media is changing the landscape of the economy and it doesn’t look to be slowing down. You never know what one interaction on social media can do for you. You could find your next employer, your future significant other, or your next best friend. Let’s connect!

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