The Evolution of Social Media Marketing: Structure, Strategy & Technology

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing: Structure, Strategy & Technology

October 24, 2019
Michael Brown Headshot
Michael Brown Managing Partner

As I’m sure you’ve picked up from prior posts and articles, we take our focused investment thesis pretty seriously here at Bowery Capital. We have hit the ground running with the projection that at some point internet natives will rule the workplace, using their natural surroundings of devices and platforms that they grew up on to promote technological change.

With that in mind, I began thinking about the evolution of social media, a phenomenon that has not only changed the way human beings think and act, but has also disrupted the inner workings of so many companies’ (S, M, & L) marketing team’s overall structure and strategy.

As we all know, social media gives companies innovative ways to interact with customers and drive growth. Along with this integration of social media, the emergence of technology tools to help marketers monitor analytics, gather data and optimize content was inevitable and arrived with a boom. Between Hootsuite, TweetDeck, CoTweet, Salesforce’s Radian6 & Buddy Media, Spredfast, SocialFlow and many others – this budding market was officially open for business. According to HubSpot’s 2013 State of Inbound Marketing annual report, for the third year in a row, marketers are increasing their inbound spending by nearly 50% allowing them to “create quality content that pulls people toward their company and product.” And as the below Forrester Research Social Media Forecast chart shows, social media spend is expected to increase to nearly $5B by 2016. This proves that marketers are beginning to realize how imperative social media is to a company’s overall marketing strategy, given the amount of time customers are engaging with one another and brands on social networking platforms.

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Steph Bagley, one of the first employees at social media agency, VaynerMedia, who worked on social media marketing as it evolved over the last four years, and is currently the director of partnerships at RebelMouse, laid it out plain and simple, “social media disrupted everything, and now storytelling is an ongoing process where the best marketing teams stay ahead of the curve by using the social media tools in smart ways, with thinking behind it, to harness the conversation happening around their company, instead of forcing one single outbound message.”

Who knew that this idea of “generalized online communities” – that’s been evolving since the mid 1990’s with sites like Geocities.com – allowing people to come together online, interact by sharing personal information and ideas around topics on their own personal homepages would forever change the way human beings interact not only with each other, but with the millions of brands that surround us everyday. Just think, less than 10 years ago marketing teams (and companies in general) weren’t concerned about @JoeShmoe22 venting to 12,000 followers about how that brand just didn’t speak to him and he would rather go with company x instead of y, swaying his peers one way or another.

In speaking with Matt Knell who heads the Enterprise and Corporate Social Media strategy for AOL, I asked how he would define the evolution:

“In the early days of social media marketing, content was shared manually on platform sites by sharing a single password amongst multiple users. There was little to no ability to manage timing, cadence or measure results. Now, complex social content platforms exist to allow for you to time content to drop in concert with other marketing and communications initiatives, in response to real world events, and offer easy ability to measure the success of your postings – and even go so far as to suggest optimal content for posting the next time. These “little helper” robots allow editors to focus on the decision of “what should I be posting” and creating content that audiences really want based on data. Betting on a sure thing based on social signals has never been easier and the intersection of content and intent has never been more important.”

Note: The Forrester Research Social Media Forecast [chart] included focuses on spend between 2011 and 2016. This study focuses solely on social media management technology, agency fees for social media, and integrated campaigns on social networks.

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