How Social Media has Evolved in the Last 5 Years

The year was 2012: Obama was running for re-election, throngs of people were lined up to buy the iPhone 5, Call Me Maybe was playing on a loop on every radio station in the country, Facebook reached 1 billion users, and a newcomer named Snapchat arrived on the social media scene. 2012 was also an exciting year for us. It was the year our agency, 2930 Creative was born in a 1 bedroom apartment in Dallas, TX.

If you think about it, 5 years isn’t that long of a time span, but in digital advertising and social media years–5 years might as well have been decades ago. Suffice it to say, a lot has changed in the social media space since 2012.

Here, we share 7 ways social media has evolved in the last 5 years:

1. Social Conversation 

Long gone are the days when simply throwing together a content calendar and posting your own content and some third party content is good enough. Posting for posting sake is dead. Today, you must be consistently creating visually strong and useful content that will resonate with your target audience. Talking at your audience hasn’t worked in years. Talk with your audience, give them opportunities to easily communicate with you. Create content that will allow them to connect with you and your brand story at a far deeper level.

2. Visual Content

Remember that visual content I talked about? The arrival of photo-centric platforms like Instagram and Pinterest ushered in the era of image heavy content marketing. In 2012, a strong text only blog post, Facebook status update, or Tweet was good enough. Today, compelling visuals (both photo and video) are the name of the game. It’s important to create and experience for your audience through your visuals. If you aren’t investing a major part of your time, effort, or budget on strong creative you’re missing out on ways you can set yourself apart and grab your audience’s attention.

3. Storytelling

Along with visuals, the other key to setting yourself apart involves crafting and telling a compelling brand story. Storytelling along with your visuals work hand in hand, whether through a brand video, photos, graphics, or illustrations–to captivate your audience. Consumers are starved for a way to emotionally connect to your brand or business; visually create the path for them to do so.

4. Video, video, video

Unless you’ve been under a rock the past year, you’ve repeatedly heard that video is the absolute king of content marketing today. But that wasn’t the case just 5 years ago. While video content has been around thanks to YouTube since 2006, video didn’t become an integral part of social media marketing until last year. And we’re not talking about standard video content; we mean social video and livestreaming as well. Mobile technology propelled this video explosion. Never before have you or I had access to such high-quality video production in the palm of our hands, and social media platforms have created environments where these easily created videos can thrive. Play along, upload videos or go live often and you’ll see the fruits of your social media labor.

5. Consumer Generated Content (CGM)

Brands have discovered the multi-layered value in leveraging user generated content. Using CGM is a way to gain your audience’s immediate trust and credibility. 92% of consumers trust the recommendations of others over an ad (Expertcity). CGM creates a sense of trust that can’t be gained through traditional ads. It also brings your audience together through a shared emotional connection which is invaluable.
social media mobile

6. Mobile

Hold onto your hats, this is good: 80% of internet users own a smartphone (Smart Insights) and over 50% of smartphone users grab their smartphones immediately after waking up (Express Pigeon). With numbers like that there’s no question we’re living in a mobile-centric world, and businesses are taking note. Today, top brands have added mobile customer service messaging, live streaming, and social e-commerce to their social media arsenal and it’s paying off. Creating mobile-friendly content must be a top priority today in 2017 and moving forward.

7. Social E-Commerce

Before I lose your attention with more numbers, know that social networks have definitely become the new online stores. 56% of consumers say they follow brands on social media to be alerted to sales and coupons. 31% of online shoppers say they’re using social media specifically to find new items to purchase. I don’t know about you, but if I were a retailer, I would want to go and share my brand story, share useful information, and build a community in the exact place where people are spending the majority of their free time, especially if they’re spending their dollars there as well.


There have long been rumblings around the internet that social media is no longer effective. Can you believe that? We know they couldn’t be more wrong. What they mean to say (I’m positive) is that social media as we knew it in 2012 is dead and gone. It has evolved into a platform for brands to visually storytell, entertain, educate, inform, delight, and connect with their audiences in an authentic and transparent way that fosters genuine, two-way conversation.

If you’re looking to create and execute a visually compelling social media strategy or campaign, 2930 Creative is your team. Building brands into content creators and industry leaders through engaging content is what we’re all about! It’s 2017; don’t get left behind using 2012 social media strategy.

And now it’s your turn, what new social strategy will you be implementing to propel your brand forward this year? Tell us here or chat with us over on Facebook. We’re waiting to hear from you!

Carolina Merino is a digital strategy specialist at 2930 Creative and most likely still knows her Myspace login and password.

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