50% of the global population is using social media. That's over 3.8 billion people, and the number is still growing. In 2019, on average, these users spent two hours and 24 minutes per day on social media across devices. In fact, people between the ages of 16-24, spent close to three hours a day on social media. These are just some statistics from HootSuite, a social media marketing services company. With such a large audience and high usage, it is no wonder that social media has become one of the most important marketing channels. Spending on social media advertising, is predicted to grow to $83 billion in 2020 according to Zenith. Let's take a closer look at what social media marketing involves and which platforms and brands define the social media marketing landscape. Social media marketing is a form of digital marketing that uses social networking platforms or websites to promote a product or service. To understand social media marketing, it's essential to get a good handle on what a social networking platform or site even is. Let's take a closer look. In 1996, sixdegrees.com launched names after the six degrees of separation theory, which suggests that any person is related to any other person, through five intermediaries. If I would take two random people, person A and B, I can connect them to know more than five other people. Person A, knows a person, who knows the person, who knows a person, who knows a person, who knows a person, who knows person B. Any two people are no more than six-degrees apart. Sixdegrees.com was really the first social networking site, where people could create a profile, find out who they were connected to, and built a network they could communicate with. Soon after other sites emerged that use that same networking principle, like Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Initially, these sites we're focused on finding connections, but very soon they became engines for communication and information sharing. This timeline was developed by Miriam Johnson, a senior lecturer at Oxford Brookes University. It shows the different brands that contributed to the social media landscape we know today. I'm sure there are many brands that you recognize on this timeline, and there are quite a few that you probably don't recognize. Either, because they're no longer around, they are prominent in other countries, or because they serve smaller niche audiences. Not all social media brands are included here, so you may know of some that are not on this timeline. But as you can see, social media is young, and in its short life, it has gone through many changes. Many different companies have tried to find social media popularity, some more successful than others. There are two core elements that typically defined social media platforms. They let people connect and they let people create or share content. The connection is crucial, and that was the big innovation in sixdegrees. By bringing people together in one big network, people could connect with each other and use that connection to communicate or to share information and links. When people start to share information, they become content creators. That's another innovative element in social media. Social media has made it much easier for people to create and distribute content online. As a result, content creation is no longer in the hands of a few large publishers. From blogging networks where people share long-form content a right, to video networks like YouTube and TikTok, where creators upload and share their videos to platforms like Instagram or Pinterest, where people can grab or take pictures and share them. All of these platforms have put users in the driver's seat when it comes to the content that gets created and shared. There are different types of social networks. Some are more focused on connecting, and others on content creation. Some target broad audiences and some are more focused on niches or interest groups. Fred Cavazza divided up the landscape in few categories. In this overview, he categorizes the social media platforms in networking, publishing, sharing, messaging, discussing, and collaborating platforms. Platforms focused on publishing our sites like YouTube or blogging platforms like Medium or WordPress, for instance. Instagram, Pinterest and photo site Flickr are focused on sharing. Then, there other popular messaging platforms like WhatsApp, or the more visual platforms like Snapchat. Sites like Reddit and Quora, can be classified as discussion or Q&A platforms. Then there are the collaboration systems, often used inside organizations like Workplace or Slack. Finally, there are the networking sites and apps. Some of those are focused on professional networking, like LinkedIn for instance. Others are focused on networking around interests like house for Building and design, or around location like nextdoor. It helps to get a sense of the many different sides that make up the social media landscape today, and how all of them have their specific focus. But many of these brands span different categories, like Facebook, for instance, which started out as a networking and sharing platform, but now also has messaging tools, groups, Facebook Watch and more. Our focused in this program will be on the bigger social networks. But it's good to keep in mind that many other social media platforms exist. Social media allows people to connect and it's a place where people can create and share content. Businesses can participate in social media too. Businesses too can connect with people or customers, and create and share content. Social media marketing centers around that. Social media marketing is often split in two different categories. There's organic or free social media marketing and paid social media marketing, also called social media advertising. Let's look at what that means. Organic social media marketing, refers to all social media activity that businesses can engage in without paying a fee. It's an important part of marketing as social media users have come to expect that their favorite brands, or the businesses they interact with are present on social media. Organic social media marketing typically involves establishing a business profile, or a business presence in the social media channels that matter to users. For instance, setting up a Facebook business page, or an Instagram account for business. Engaging with users on social media to post tweets, comments, sharing and so on. Connecting with customers through messaging platforms like WhatsApp, for instance, often used for more individual customer service. Paid social media marketing, or social media advertising, refers to promoting a business' presence or message through advertising on social media platforms. That could be ads on Facebook, or promoted tweets on Twitter, or promoted posts on Instagram and so on. Organic and paid social media marketing go hand in hand. Having a solid, organic social media presence matters to the success of your social media advertising. Ads, on the other hand, can strengthen your organic presence. You'll learn all about that in this program, but let's look at an example of organic versus paid social marketing first. Let's take Staples, an office supply chain. Here is their Facebook page, in which they regularly post about new products, provide useful tips and so on. They also have a presence on Instagram. Here are a few of their posts, and you can find them on Twitter too. Staples posts on these accounts all fall on the organic social media marketing. They don't have to pay to create these pages or these posts, and it's a way for them to interact with their customers and prospects. But Staples also uses advertising on social media platforms to reach a broader audience. Here are two examples of ads they ran on Facebook and Instagram. As opposed to their organic social media marketing, these are posts that they did pay for. Social media marketing, let businesses connect with customers and prospects, and it's an excellent way for businesses to share content with their audience. They can do this, through both organic, and paid marketing. In what follows, we'll look at how business participation in social media really works.