We’re here at the end of another year. 2021 is almost over and we thought it would be a good idea to take a look back and see what last year’s biggest digital trends meant for small businesses.
1- AI and Programmatic Digital
In 2021, AI and programmatic digital became a major player in any marketing strategy, particularly for sales funnel automation. Text message marketing, chatbots, and automated ad buying as a few examples, will continue to grow in the coming years.
It’s a constant battle to compete with larger companies that have more money at their disposal and it’s a never-ending battle to compete with direct competition that might pose a threat to your business growth. Automating your sales funnel, through the use of programmatic ads and Artificial Intelligence, can help you to stay ahead of the game.
Automation has also made its way internally into businesses. When you automate tedious activities, you can allow your employees to work at their full potential. They can act on important decisions and tasks while the automated processes continue working behind them. This technology empowers even small businesses to automate basic processes to get themselves ahead of their competitors and save time and money.
2 – Mobile Commerce
Mobile commerce has been a major trend for small businesses in 2021. Consumers don’t want to feel forced to buy something digitally, but on the other hand, they do want the convenience of shopping wherever and whenever it’s necessary. That’s why it’s been so important for businesses to build their mobile presence and make their content easy to consume on any screen. Mobile makes it easy for consumers to find the products and services they need, whenever they want them.
3 – Find Your Audience in More Than One Place
In 2021, there was no one size fits all digital marketing approach for a small business. Small business owners had to be more vigilant and adept at being on multiple social media platforms, podcasts, blogs and newsletters. With all of these different options, it was important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each. In some cases, it was better to make a few strong connections over several weak ones.
There is no telling what platforms may become popular and which ones may flop. Who would’ve thought that TikTok would beat out Google for the most visited website this year? This is proof that it’s important to diversify your business and find your audience in more than one place, especially if it’s somewhere you may not expect them to be.
4 – New Social Media Platforms
As the world of social media remains a vital resource to reaching a wide audience, small businesses need to stay up-to-date on the newest trends and platforms. Like almost every year, the social media landscape changed in 2021. The more you know about how Facebook is broadening its virtual reality and video presence, how Whatsapp is displaying marketing tools for small business owners, how Snapchat is raising its ad options and other ways digital trends are likely to shift in the future, the easier it is for you to share and engage.
Don’t feel like you should be hopping onto all of the new platforms and the hottest trends. If you spread yourself too thin, you’ll do more harm than good. Make sure you’re only utilizing what fits into your strategy and that you know you can execute well.
5 – Video
In 2021, video was the ultimate social media strategy. Videos performed in a variety of different ways, from short-form videos that looked great on your phone and tablet, to Facebook Live broadcasts, to long-form videos designed for SEO ranking on YouTube.
Both search engines and social media platforms started prioritizing video, so optimizing your videos for those searches is important. If your small business doesn’t have a strategy for video yet, you should consider forming one for 2022.
With the changes to iOS and data tracking this year, video also proved helpful when it came to retargeting your customers. This will continue to be important for advertising with the data available from cookies becoming harder to come by.
6 – Voice
Voice made its way into the business world in 2021. With new social media apps like Clubhouse taking the world by storm and eventually influencing Twitter and Meta, voice was a great way to get your brand out there.
Now more than ever you need to optimize your brand for voice. As you prepare your brand’s website, apps, and digital media content, 2022 will be the year to speak to consumers using even more of their senses with devices like Echo and Google Home. By optimizing your brand for voice platforms, you can help them engage more deeply with your business.