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Retailers: Are You Using Digital to Your Full Advantage?

Retailers: Are You Using Digital to Your Full Advantage?

According to the Hootsuite and We Are Social Digital Trends 2019 Report, one million new people go online every day to do research, make purchases, and various other tasks. All those new users present businesses with a huge opportunity.

Here are 3 more internet and social media statistics that small businesses need to be aware of in order to make the most of digital in 2019:

Social Media is a Leading Focus of Today’s Internet Users

Of the one million people who go online every day, social media continues to be a dominant focus. In fact, 45% of the world—roughly 3.5 billion people annually—are logging in to their preferred social platforms.

“With so many people using social channels every day, social media presents unmissable opportunities for small business to grow their reach, engage with the right audience and ultimately sell more products or services.”

~ Small Business Trends

Small Business Trends spoke with Greg Perotto, VP of Global Marketing at Hootsuite, regarding the findings of the Digital Trends 2019 Report.

Speaking of the 3.5 billion people annually logging on to their favorite social platforms, he said, “That’s a nearly 9% increase year-over-year. The average person has eight to nine social media accounts with messaging growing at a phenomenal pace . . . Add to that the fact that 90% of customers express a desire to contact a business through messaging, yet less than half of businesses are equipped to connect via messaging apps, and it is the perfect opportunity for brands.”

When you consider that the average person spends at least 2 hours and 16 minutes a day on social media (1/7 of their waking lives), then you can understand that if a business isn’t on social media and messaging, they’re not where their customers are.

“I think the most important things the average business owner can take from Digital [Trends] 2019, is to understand the absolute importance of social media and messaging apps as a way to engage with customers — after all, both are how customers want to engage with brands as social media has taken on greater prominence in the customer journey, from awareness to advocacy, and messaging increasingly is how people want to connect with brands, ask questions and get support.”

~ Greg Perotto via Small Business Trends

The Most Active Social Channel Is YouTube

The Digital Trends 2019 Report revealed the continued demand for video content, stating that YouTube is the most active social platform in the US. Not surprisingly, the way in which videos are being consumed is also changing, with 75% of people watching video content on mobile devices.

Needless to say, creating engaging, promotional content for YouTube is a can’t-miss way for small businesses to reach the millions of people accessing YouTube daily for information and entertainment.

YouTube can also be used for advertising and engagement to drive customers to company websites and since any business can create a YouTube channel, the video platform offers an easy way to connect to and engage with the desired audiences.

“YouTube can bring a product or service alive for customers, in unique and compelling ways, and the cost of entry is extremely low. Every day YouTubers generate billions of views, as people watch millions of hours of content.”

~ Greg Perotto via Small Business Trends

Small business should be aware, however, that creating and maintaining a YouTube channel is more labor intensive than setting up an Instagram or Facebook profile. It will require the necessary resources and bandwidth to consistently deliver engaging content for their audiences.

Most Internet Users Use Mobile Messaging

Another key point from the Digital Trends 2019 Report that small businesses should be aware of is that 70% of internet users are using mobile messaging.

“The top 4 messaging apps globally now count nearly 5 billion monthly active users, and the majority of customers now want to speak with a business directly through messaging. Ultimately it makes them feel more confident about a brand.”

~Greg Perotto, VP of Global Marketing at Hootsuite via Small Business Trends

Perotto goes on to say:

“It is truly how people — customers — now communicate. A small business can easily capitalize on this reality by setting up relatively inexpensive messaging-bot programs or in-app assistants to handle frequently asked questions, confirm services or sales, and run campaigns. This automation frees up your limited human resources to handle higher value and more complex customer interactions. And you don’t have to be a big business to implement this, my hair salon uses messaging, as does my real estate agent, doctor and contractor.”

~ Small Business Trends

As you can see, instant messaging is becoming an increasingly effective way for companies to build strong connections, drum up quality leads and grow their business.

Conclusion

With millions of new people going online, as well as 45% of the world logging on to their favorite social platforms, all businesses, small and large, need to seriously think about the methods their using to engage them.

“If you’re not engaging with your customers, when they want and where they are—meaning on social and via messaging apps — you run a huge risk of being left behind,” observed Greg Perotto.

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About The Author

Sherene Funk

Sherene Funk is the author of the contemporary romance Autumn in Your Arms and the eBook The Small retailer's Ultimate Guide to Increasing In-Store Sales. She is a voracious reader who owns more books than she can ever read in this lifetime (but that doesn't stop her from collecting more). A graduate of Brigham Young University, she has published several humorous non-fiction articles and worked in advertising for many years before moving to her current position as a writer on modern retailing at Rain Retail Software. She researches non-stop to see what successful retailers do and loves to share what she learns with other small business owners through informative articles that address their unique needs.

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