An online social network is a service, platform or website that focuses on building a community of people who share similar interests and activities. A social network service generally allows users to create a profile representation, share content such as photos and personal information, and provide links to other relevant material.
Social Network History
The first recognized social network was sixdegrees.com, which was founded in 1997. SixDegrees allowed users to create profiles, list their friends, and view other friend lists. Although most of these features had been utilized before, SixDegrees was the first to combine all of them.
The next big step forward came in 2002, with the introduction of Friendster. Friendster focused on creating connections between “friends of friends” and rapidly gained popularity. Eventually Friendster faltered due to usability issues. In its wake came a wave of social networking sites including LinkedIn, Orkut, Myspace, and Facebook. The most recent serious edition to the social networking world is Google +.
This timeline illustrates the launch date of every major social networking site.
Social Media Marketing
Social networks have created a unique opportunity to connect directly with customers. Businesses have been effectively leveraging the power of social media to reach their target audiences and create relationships.
The benefits of social media marketing include improved:
- brand awareness
- brand loyalty
- brand reputation protection