Social media marketing is the process of creating content that is keyword-rich and has been tailored to the context of each social media platform in order to drive user engagement and sharing.

Following the invention of blogging in the late 1990s, social media exploded in popularity. Sites such as MySpace and LinkedIn gained momentum in the early 2000s while sites like Photobucket and Flickr facilitated online photo sharing. In 2005 YouTube was released renovating internet communication through video.

By 2006 both Facebook and Twitter became available worldwide spreading like wildfire. These remain some of the most popular social networks on the internet. After a short period of time, other sites such as Spotify, Pinterest, Instagram, and Tumbler began popping up to fill specific social network niches.

So how does all of this translate to your business? The harsh reality is that if you are not already social media marketing you’ll either have to learn it now or accept the fact you will be losing business in the long run.

behind social media is the intention that your posts (i.e. sales message/advertising) will go viral. As a business owner, think of it as your 24/7 sales force. However, in order for your advertising to go viral, the content you provide must be engaging enough for people to want to share it. In fact, your content must be so good it compels viewers to want to tell all of their friends about it. First, you have to make sure your content is even being seen.

As a business owner, it is important to be aware of how fast pace this game is changing. Organic reaches are becoming increasingly more difficult to build a healthy following. As if running a business isn’t costly enough, social media marketing has now become a pay to play scenario in the business world. The more that social media algorithms prioritize advertisements, the more that businesses are willing to pay to stay relevant in competitive market spaces. For smaller companies with slimmer advertising budgets, this may feel like an unnecessary expense. However, in today’s world, it is very possible that social media marketing is what keeps your business afloat.