Social media platforms offer marketers and customers the opportunity to tell and to listen to stories

With materialism pushing its tentacles into every facet of life, marketing is seeking ways to become more meaningful to a generation that reaches out to social media for any and everything. If someone or something is worthy of space and time, you can find them on the Internet. Malorie Lucich, in product communications at Pinterest, says, “People share, read and engage more with any type of content when it’s surfaced through friends and people they know and trust.”

With at least 63% of millennials using social media networks to update themselves on products and services, and with 46% of them trusting interactive information on social media when making online purchases, companies realized they need to spend a sizeable portion of their advertising budget on social media. Furthermore, for the first time in its surveys, the US-based Pew Research Center recently found that 67% of Americans, which is over two-thirds of them, get at least some news on social media.

Even as organizations like to share stories with customers on social media, customers themselves like to be the go-to-person for all kinds of information, including about asbestos removal. As everyone who connects on social media knows, social media’s currency is its “Shares,” and many people have perfected the art of sharing through constantly doing it. The average American handles 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day. That means the biggest challenge of great sharing is to make sure “your stuff is better than all that other stuff.” Apart from the aura of “newness” that the ever-changing internet is capable of creating, marketers are focusing on the impression and impact created upon consumers. As American author and marketer Seth Godin says, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but the stories you tell.”

When the Internet and Web 1.0 Platform were popularized in the 1990s, digital marketing was a natural offshoot. With the Internet still inaccessible globally, at the time, many marketers did not believe in the future of internet marketing. In the meantime, two postgraduate students in Montreal, Canada, Alan Emtage and Bill Heelan, wrote and implemented the world’s first search engine, Archie, in 1990. On the heels of that arrived the world’s first clickable ad banner in 1994, when US telecommunications giant AT&T bought a small rectangle on HotWired.com. Around 44% of people who viewed the ad, clicked on it. Also in 1994, Yahoo search engine brought a major shift in digital marketing, for, following Yahoo’s success, several search engines like HotBot, LookSmart and Alexa, followed in 1996. The world’s first social media web site, SixDegrees.com, was launched in 1997, and, with that, digital   marketing reached a new high, with many companies seeking customers on Internet. In 1998, with the arrival of Google, Microsoft started its own search engine MSN. When the year 2000 came, many Internet search engines had sprouted, and were seeking to make a mark, while competition wiped out the ineffective ones. By 2004, digital marketing brought $2.9 billion in revenue.

A new chapter on the use of Internet was turned, and another plateau was reached, when social media web sites appeared. Friendster, launched in 2002, became one of the first social networks to achieve over one million users, reaching over 100 million by 2008. It subsequently transformed itself into a games network and settled for 8 million users. This was consequent to the arrival of MySpace in August 2003. During 2005-2008, MySpace became the most visited social networking site in the world, peaking at 75.9 million visitors in 2008.

In recent times, social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest have led to popularizing of digital marketing. Hal Stokes, founder of the food web site Happiour, said, “Social media is one area of business where you don’t need to outspend your competitors in order to beat them.”