Working in the communications and marketing field, I am always fascinated by the impact of technology on the way businesses communicate with consumers.
For example, the popularity of social media platform TikTok and the different trends initiated by its more than 1 billion monthly active users influenced many retailers to embrace these trends to reach their customers.
We also witness how businesses adopt short videos such as Instagram Reels to communicate with customers.
Spending a few seconds on Instagram and Facebook, it is clear that influencers and businesses are opting to share their content via video first.
Different apps have emerged to serve content developers by providing various aesthetics and editing tools to ensure they always stay ahead of the game.
If I had to advise small business owners to rely on one form of marketing, I would tell them to focus on digital marketing and to develop all of their content for mobile first.
In the past, content was developed for viewing desktop first and mobile second, but this is not the case any more.
Global mobile phone penetration reached 67 per cent in 2021 according to Statista, and it is as high as 82.6 per cent in countries such as France. This means that content should be developed for mobile first — and mobile only in most cases.
Websites should also be designed to be compatible with mobile devices first and desktop second.
Several digital marketing trends should be adopted as well.
Influencer marketing is here to stay, with many predicting that the biggest competitors to global brands will be influencers.
Data released by Matter Communications in 2020 reveals that consumers find influencers more trustworthy than brands.
While influencers with a huge following will have their appeal, many brands are opting to work with micro-influencers — those with 10,000 to 50,000 followers.
Influencer partnerships can help business owners reach targeted audiences and drive sales.
Chatbots are also becoming more sophisticated and can be used to address customers’ concerns and answer any questions they may have. It is also a cost-efficient tool for small businesses.
Creativity and originality will help small businesses stay ahead of the game.
With many of us being bombarded by online content, brands will fight for the attention of customers.
People’s attention spans are very short, so businesses need to be able to capture their attention in one or two seconds before they continue scrolling down.
Creativity and originality are key, as well as embracing the latest video editing trends and music selections for video reels.
Social media platforms such as Instagram and YouTube provide insights on how users have engaged with your videos, which you could use as a base that would help you as you prepare different videos.
Top 10 followed on TikTok — in pictures
Users will also depend on voice search more, with many people already relying on devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home to search for information.
In 2022, for example, 62 per cent of Americans over the age of 18 used voice assistants on their devices.
It is predicted that by next year, there will be 8 billion voice assistants in use worldwide. What does this mean for small business owners? They need to ensure that their content is optimized for voice search.
Artificial intelligence, video and creative content sit front and center when it comes to digital marketing trends.
Will they all be as effective for your business? it depends. This is why a regular audit of your marketing plan is crucial to see where digital marketing has brought in the most of your customers and where you need to rethink your approach.
Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati writer and communications adviser based in Abu Dhabi
Updated: May 15, 2023, 4:00 AM