By Kelly Gibson
When I was in high school, my dad plugged a phone line into our computer and, voila, we were connected to the internet. But in 1995, there really wasn’t much out there. Actually, there were 23,500 websites, but I don’t remember much more than clunky search engines and a ton of discussion forums.
In the late 1990s businesses decided they all needed a website. Most were form-based and contained a few pages of contact information and their locations. The sites weren’t pretty – lots of bright colors, many different fonts, pixilated images – all competing for your attention.
In the 2000s, businesses decided their websites needed to stay updated. The downside was most companies made longer websites with more tabs and just added to their many pages of information.
Around this time the first smartphone came out. The first BlackBerry was released in 1999, followed by Android in 2003. Larger companies began to develop a second website, a simpler mobile site that could be viewed on a much smaller screen. Other companies began to follow suit as smart phone and tablet usage continued to rise. This year, in fact, marked an information access shift. Smartphones are now the primary access point for people to the internet.
Social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter began entering the mainstream business climate in the mid to late 2000s. Social media conferences began popping up everywhere to teach marketing, communications and sales professionals the business case for using social media. I was able to attend a few of these seminars. At one such program earlier this year the speaker said, every company must be a technology company and a publishing company. Not only does a firm need to have a strong website, but they need to be writing and posting articles. Expectations are high. Smaller firms and business-to-business firms such as ourselves are judged the same as large company sites as we are all consumers.
So I wondered, how do businesses, especially small businesses without a website or social media department, find the time to post on several social media sites in their already busy day?
Our solution at GRAEF has been to enlist the help of marketing, administration and technical staff as bloggers. Like the old adage, many hands make light work. Though many social media experts teach how important it is to have one company voice, having representative voices from different areas of our firm really does speak to the full service of our firm.
At GRAEF, we are still learning about social media and how to best connect with clients and potential clients. Technology will continue to bring us to new ways to communicate and reach clients and we must adapt to stay relevant.
Ten years ago, I didn’t have internet at my house. I didn’t order anything online. I didn’t have the consumer confidence. Whereas today, I do the majority of my shopping online- clothes, shoes, books, and even food.
Technology changes, people change and business development changes in a cyclical fashion. And while I probably won’t ever be the first one using the latest technology, after a little trial and error, I always enjoy using and evolving with it.