co What Will Follow Social Media? |

Regular readers of my blog know that I’m sold on social media marketing. I do it myself and I recommend it for small businesses in every town. But it’s interesting to note that social media marketing is just a blip in online marketing history.

In the early days of online marketing it was all about bulletin boards and e-mail. Savvy marketers quickly figured out that the World Wide Web was an awesome instrument of the marketing mind.

Search engines were not that sophisticated early on so online marketing beyond e-mail merely consisted of banner advertising, web rings, directories and meta tags. But things very quickly changed after a few developments in search. By 1997, it was clear that search engines would be a major factor in marketing businesses online. Then, in 1998, Google arrived.

Google introduced a very important concept – link building, though it wasn’t called that then. Google recognized that backlinks were important and therefore rewarded websites for having them. Search engine marketing took on a whole new face.

Then came pay per click marketing to replace banner advertising. But other forms of marketing were beginning to take root. Forums and blogs were starting to gain prominence, first as search engine marketing tools even though they had a social nature to them. But then something called MySpace came along and social media marketing was born.

Facebook improved it. LinkedIn improved it. A lot of other players came along and followed suit (YouTube, Twitter, etc.). Some of them had greater success and others merely meager, but it’s clear now that social media marketing is a storm that has caught on.

So what’s next? What will come after social media marketing? What strange animal of online marketing for small businesses will take root and overcome the rise of social media? Any guesses? Anyone?