There was a time, not so long ago, when getting your blog post on the homepage of Digg meant receiving more traffic in one day than your blog had seen all year. Remember when Twitter was simply a “micro blogging” platform where you'd tweet about your trip to the zoo or what you had for dinner? (Okay, perhaps that hasn't changed so much.) What about before your mom got on Facebook? That was back in the day, right?

Social Media Marketing: The Early Years

It used to be enough for a company to simply update their Twitter and Facebook pages every now and then. Social sites were used as a way to push your message and increase your following. Think back—how often did you participate in contests asking you to retweet a tweet, or like a Facebook page, for the chance to win a brand new iPad (or whatever the gadget du jour was)?

Remember, this was not all that long ago. However, we could argue that social media has been around for many, many years; remember Yahoo! profiles and build-your-own avatars, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and user groups? These were all early forms of social media, but it wasn't until sites like MySpace and Friendster came around that we really started to understand the power of connecting people online.

At some point along the way, marketers began to realize that social media was a great way to reach the masses. With more and more people flocking to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and countless other sites, marketers jumped ...

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