10 Social Media and Internet Trends & What They Mean for Small Businesses

| 8 minute read |

Social media and online consumer behaviour are rapidly changing. Just when you think you have caught up to the latest internet trend, you realize that the whole landscape has shifted again. Businesses that are intuitive and agile enough to make changes to their marketing strategy on the fly are winning in the social media space. As a small business, you are faced with both an opportunity and a challenge here: You may be small enough to possess the agility, but perhaps too small to be able to commit the time and resources required to research and react to digital trends.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to do it alone. Here are my top 10 Social Media and Internet Trends for 2019 and what they mean for your small business.

1) 74% of Canadians spend 3-4 hours online daily

This statistic from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) shows just how reliant we are on the internet. What this stat does not reveal is whether these 3-4 hours are spent in a work environment or in our personal time. Regardless, imagine the opportunity here. Your target audience is spending between 20 - 30 hours per week in a place that you can market to them. It is critical that you have a strong online presence, starting with your website.

Source: CIRA

2) Mobile purchases increased to 40% in 2018 from 12% in 2014

Whether you are in the goods or services space, there is a creative way for your business to implement eCommerce into its marketing strategy. If you are already here, congratulations. If you haven’t started considering the possibility, you are likely two steps behind your competitors. Consumers enjoy shopping online for a) convenience and b) transparency. If I am unable to find your product on the internet (reviews, prices, descriptions), chances are, I can find information on your competitor’s product.

Source: CIRA

3) 74% of Canadians are concerned about the spread of “fake news” online

It’s no secret that the media landscape is a hostile one right now. The spread of “fake news” has consumers concerned, and rightfully so. As a business, you must be diligent when sharing information—all it takes is one slip up for your credibility to be diminished. When sharing news, ensure you are gathering information from a credible source. If a media issue isn’t directly related to your business, it may be best to stay out of the conversation. If you do engage in sharing news, ensure you are objective and respectful in your communication.

Source: CIRA

4) 51% of Canadians aged 18-34 say they use their smartphone/mobile device most often to access the internet.

Mobile internet usage has steadily grown every year since the smartphone made its debut. This trend should play a key part of your marketing strategy as a small business. Is your website optimized for mobile users? Are you capturing images and video in both horizontal (traditional web) and vertical (mobile) formats for use on social media? Is your Google for Business profile optimized for mobile users looking to find information about your location, hours and ways to contact you?

Source: CIRA

5) The most popular Canadian social media networks continue to dominate

Over three quarters of Canadians are active on Facebook, followed by roughly a third on both LinkedIn and Instagram. Roughly equal numbers of Millennials and Gen-Xers use Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, Millennials far outweigh the preceding generations on Instagram and Snapchat.

Social Media Demographics.PNG

In general, younger generations are shifting towards a preference for video and visual content. If your target demographics include Millennials or Gen-Z, you should be developing a visual marketing strategy that includes live video, augmented reality, vlogging and other features now offered by most social media giants.

Source: CIRA

6) Live Video is on the rise

Live video is now available on most major social media networks including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. According to SocialMediaToday, people spend 3X longer watching live video than pre-recorded video. Imagine getting 90 seconds to pitch your business instead of 30!

Brands are using live video to provide a behind-the-scenes look at their business. From product launches to executive speeches, interactive conversations with internal teams, or insight into internal processes, live video has many use cases. The tactic is viewed as authentic by consumers—there is something genuine about an unscripted conversation. On that note… don’t script your live video!

7) 60% of consumers no longer trust social media companies

Social media scandals involving Facebook and Twitter have caused consumers to question the ethics of social media on a mass scale. According to Hootsuite, 60% of people no longer trust social media companies. This trend means an increase in distrust for influencers and a shift back to trust in immediate friends and trusted journalists on social media. As a small business, start considering how you can implement a micro-influencer strategy to impact your immediate community and increase your public relations efforts to engage credible local media.

Source: Hootsuite

8) 64% of businesses jumping on Instagram Stories

According to Hootsuite, 64% of businesses have either implemented Instagram Stories into their social strategy or plan do to so. Stories are growing 15X faster than feed-based sharing. The great thing about stories for small business? They are a quick and easy way to engage with your social community on the fly. Although they should be backed by strategy, each post doesn’t require a huge amount of effort. Stories are a more natural, authentic way to communicate and can even allow you to collect data on your audience by using features like Polls and' ‘Ask A Question’.

Source: Hootsuite

9) Social Media Advertising is more personalized than ever

Today, most major social media platforms give advertisers the ability to hyper-target ads by segmenting their audience by demographics and psychographics. There is an increased need for your small business to understand its target audience and how to advertise to them. Companies are personalizing ads down to the image, message and colour of the creative in order to appeal to the right audience.

10) Consumers are doing online research before visiting a brick and mortar store

This trend comes as no surprise, but the numbers may shock you. 84% of Canadian consumers ‘Sometimes’ or ‘Always’ compare products online before going to a brick and mortar store to make a purchase. Source: CIRA

Approaches to online shopping.PNG

Is your website SEO optimized so it appears in organic search rankings? Do you have the proper resources including product specs, case studies, info sheets, eBooks and more to draw your buyers in? If your small business fails to provide the right information online, your competitor will win the foot traffic.

For many of the small business I work with, these trends seem overwhelming. Many companies attempt to run social media in-house when they are lacking time and resources to get the job done right. Simply sitting down with an expert to discuss your goals and audience needs is a great place to start. Contact me today and let’s take the first step together.