It's true: Social Media has dramatically changed the web marketing landscape in many ways. But of all the many changes, there are 3 that have made the greatest difference. Here they are...
1. Social Media Made The Web Interactive
We all take this for granted today, but before Social Media came on the scene the web was largely static. Remember those old school plain Jane HTML websites? Remember the time BEFORE every website around had a Facebook "Like" button and a Google+ "plus one" button? This is without a doubt the single biggest change Social Media brought to web marketing. I list it as the most important because it enables the two that follow. Basically, before all of the top Social Media Networks rose to power, pretty much everything was controlled and determined by Google. Now, all of that has changed... forever. (See point #3 below for more on that.)
2. Social Media Enabled Social Proofing
One of my all-time favorite marketing books is Influence by Robert Cialdini. In that book, Cialdini lists what he calls the 6 principles of influence & persuasion. Item #3 on Cialdini's list is "Social Proofing" which essentially means if other people like something, it will increase the chances that more people will like it. (Think: busy restaurant somehow means it must be good.) Before Social Media, the most important form of social proofing online was a link. This is exactly how Google developed its PageRank concept and took the world by storm as the most powerful search engine ever. The jury is still out on exactly how "Social Signals" will play a role in the future of Google's search engine rankings decisions, but there's already enough evidence that it does play a role.
3. Social Media Changed Search Forever
Speaking of search engines like Google, the third way Social Media has changed web marketing forever is the very shift in "where" you need to show up as a business online. In other words, before the rise of social networking and social media marketing, most businesses could focus their web marketing efforts around search engines alone -- with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or PPC (Pay Per Click) marketing strategies. But now, more and more consumers are "searching" via social networks and letting websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest determine what content they consume and what answers they find.
What would you add to this list? Please leave your comment below.