Prior to the rise of the internet, most businesses depended on offline marketing tactics. As the web expanded, many businesses ventured online by creating a website to represent their company. These sites were developed to rank high in search engines for specific keywords.
For example, a dentist located in Long Island, NY, would create a site which used the keywords “dentist in Long Island” and try to get other websites to post links back to his site in order to make search engines like Google show the site in results when web searchers typed in those keywords. This is known as SEO, or “search engine optimization”.
Locating a business website was soon not enough for many online searchers, who wanted to not only find a dentist in Long Island, but to find out what people were saying about the dentist’s practice. Review sites sprang up all over the web, but these were easily manipulated by businesses posting positive reviews for themselves and negative reviews about their competitors.
More and more internet users started turning to social networking sites to get real time, honest information about local businesses from their peers. The social platforms responded by making their sites more user friendly for business use. The direct access to consumers and easy modes of interaction make social sites a perfect place to attract potential new customers, clients or patients.