Updated: Dec 13, 2022
If you are starting to think about how to develop your small business online next year, here is my list of 8 Simple Digital trends that you should be aware of when you are planning your Digital strategy or marketing for 2023.
Digital experts can be intimidating and confusing when you are comparatively new to working online, so I have edited the predictions to create a helpful list for small business owners with reference to what is happening online in Ireland.
Each trend has a SIMPLE takeaway for small business owners to try.
2. VERTICAL VIDEO:
3. AUTHENTIC takes over from polished and filtered:
4. GROWING and CHANGING:
5. MICRO INFLUENCERS:
6. CONSCIOUSOUS CONSUMERS:
7. TIK TOK:
8. BEWARE OF THE HYPE:
At the beginning of this year, more people in Ireland were listening to podcasts than the radio, a trend set to continue in 2023.
Instead of having to stop and read information from our phones or PC, we are choosing to listen to podcasts and books while on the move or doing other tasks. No longer relying on the radio, we are tuning into the broader range of audio material available.
Think about Podcasts as your own radio station, if you love to talk, it is an opportunity to develop a following and interest in your business.
Remember that audio includes Music too, so developing an awareness of what type of music suits your business and adding it to your social media is an important step for small business owners. If you are using Instagram Reels, take note of the trends and spend some time thinking about the soundtrack you are adding to your media and posts.
In Ireland, almost 20% of internet users are now using voice assistants to access information, and whether you love Alexa and Sirri or loathe them it is a clear indication of how the use of voices rather than being tied to our screen is developing.
If you use Whatsapp in your business, you might try sending Voicenotes instead of written messages and see if it is something that adds a more personal touch.
2. VIDEO goes FULL SCREEN
Globally the type of media we are watching daily is changing, with the amount of time spent on Tik TOK now higher than the amount of time on Netflix or other TV streaming, and the top two media that we spend the most time on are Tik Tok and YouTube.
Because of the rise in popularity of Tik Tok, other platforms have begun to standardise the use of video to using Full-screen vertical video format. (Filming with your phone in portrait, not landscape)
With Instagram Reels, and now Facebook following this format.
This means, no more awkward twisting your phone around to change the screen and no more panicking that you have taken a video the wrong way around.
It also means that as more platforms switch, it will become much easier to share content on different platforms.
Make all your video in portrait, then experiment with re-using it on different channels.
3 AUTHENTIC takes over from POLISHED and Filtered
This is great news for small business owners, it appears that the super polished, perfect lifestyle, look at me aren’t I great, only for the young and beautiful era is on its way out.
The trend for glossy perfection is no longer fooling online audiences, and it is being replaced with a more authentic approach.
For smaller businesses, this means there is no need to have studio conditions or fancy equipment, just try out a short personal video or photographic content with commentary. Think about presenting your content as real-life, spur-of-the-moment documentation, rather than pre-planned polished curated content.
Try a Facebook live off-the-cuff post to help you get used to taking to the camera. You can always delete it!
4 Digital Growth and Development
The speed of digital development and technology is only going to accelerate, so it is important for business small owners to become aware of the opportunities this brings.
These figures illustrate the steady rise in Ireland of mobile phones, the internet, and social media usage in Ireland.
The challenge for many businesses is how to adapt their technology to ensure it is suitable for their business and easily understood by their customers or clients.
Keeping on top of digital development, reviewing your skills, and knowing when to switch your digital platforms and strategy can no longer be avoided.
The next generation of digital development will ultimately filter down to an affordable practical level for smaller businesses. New developments such as Artificial intelligence (AI) the metaverse the internet of things or virtual reality may sound far-fetched and irrelevant but adapting to the opportunities offered by new technologies will continue to be critical for small businesses to thrive.
DIGITAL GROWTH TAKEAWAY.
Create a simple review of all your business digital activity, then check the things that result in a return on your time or convert into sales. Look for one new development to include in your digital plans for 2023.
5. Micro/Nano Influencers. (on Instagram)
Another great development for smaller business owners, it appears that the power of influencers with mass followings is no longer attractive and that we are feeling more comfortable with micro or nano influencers. Technically, this means Instagram accounts with less than 10k followers, but it also means anyone with an account that appeals to you and your interests. Niche audiences with authentic passionate content are being seen as more credible and relatable.
It is no longer important to have a big number of followers, having a smaller quantity of engaged followers is far more effective.
If you can master the art of connecting with a smaller audience, it will reduce the need to pay for advertising, generate customer loyalty and boost your online credibility.
Unpaid or unsponsored social posts that people want to share when they're using or raving about a product or service (User-generated content) is what small businesses should aim to create in 2023.
NANO INFLUENCER TAKEAWAY.
Take time to search on Instagram for smaller businesses that have a clear appeal and message for inspiration, then focus on your own target audience. Forget about the numbers and concentrate on the quality and authenticity of your content.
6. Conscious Consumers
Partly because of current and recent world events, but also as we become more comfortable in the online environment, there is a definite rise in consumer expectations online.
This ranges from increased frustration with Cookies and pop-ups to heightened awareness of online security. Online consumers are beginning to expect better service and more thoughtful user experiences.
They also prefer businesses that display environmental and social credentials, that align with their own – those that prioritize factors such as ecological impact and sustainability when choosing whom to buy from or do business with.
SMALL BUSINESS TAKEAWAY
If you have any social, environmental or charitable aspect to your business be sure to include it as part of your online strategy and content. It can be very small or simple, but the important thing is to include it.
7. TIK TOK
I am not going to suggest that all small businesses start to sing and dance on Tik Tok, but there is no disputing its growth in popularity and impact on other social platforms.
The global uptake on Tik Tok indicates it is now the platform that most time is spent on. The main opportunity for small business owners is to develop a more creative online presence if that suits you and your business.
TIK TOK Takeaway
As many of the features introduced by Tik Tok are being introduced by Facebook and Instagram, concentrate on developing the social media channels you already use with newer features such as reels. Make sure you claim your space ( name or business name) on Tik Tok so you have it ready should you choose to develop this channel in the future.
8 BEWARE OF THE HYPE
As a small business, it is easy to feel that you are not keeping up with the latest developments online. If you listen to the “digital experts” they are constantly excited about the next “big thing”.
For example, since 2009 it has been reported that Facebook is no longer of importance and its use is dying, however, this is not true with a steady global increase annually and globally. It still has the largest active user base of any social platform in the world.
Likewise, Tik Tok is being heralded as the only platform being used by a younger audience, however, the statistics show that 84% of TikTok users between the ages of 16 and 64 also use Facebook each month.
Despite the developments in Virtual reality being adopted by fashion retailers to create virtual stores and avatars to try on clothing that shows what an outfit would look like on your own body recent surveys suggest that this is not what the consumers really want.
My advice to small business owners is to step back recognise that taking your business online is not a quick process, stop comparing yourself to other businesses and concentrate on your developing your own digital expertise.