Last year, 2017, was interesting, to mention the least. we inaugurated a new president, withstood natural disasters and saw the increase of a new social group. it was a big year for many reasons, and the business was no exception.
According to a Pepperdine University private Capital Access Index (PCA) report, little businesses finished 2017 strong, predicting future growth in revenue for the top of the fourth quarter that showed a 6 % increase over the same period in 2016.
Consumer confidence remained (and remains) high, though it took a dip in Dec, after reaching a 17-year high in Nov. The PCA report also revealed that 84 % of owners of little and medium-sized businesses ($5 million to $100 million in revenue) expected their businesses to perform better in 2018. and that expectation figure was up from 72 % the previous year.
So 2017 was overall a good year for business. but currently that it’s in the rearview mirror, it is time to look ahead and consider the steps we want to take in order to confirm the continued success of our businesses. Here are 5 trends poised to assist drive success.
We’ve been hearing about AI technology for a while currently. though not new, AI’s impact will be felt additional and more in the way we do business. according to a PwC study, seventy two percent of business leaders surveyed deemed AI a “business advantage.” the same study revealed that executives were wanting to AI to assist with repetitive, menial tasks such as work (82 percent), scheduling (79 percent) and time sheets (78 percent).
While companies like Google, Spotify, Microsoft, IBM and different tech giants are all in on the AI game, of course, some observers worry that that technology will create business processes less customized. the truth, however, is that AI is capable of enriching human interaction by taking out mundane tasks and helping enhance client content delivery, to a highly-personalized level.
Taking away those mundane tasks opens the door for the additional creative, personalised items customers are demanding.
Live social media interactions
Like AI, social media is hardly a new idea. it has been around for more than a decade however how we use it to achieve our customers has modified. according to Statista, the number of worldwide social media users is expected, by 2020, to reach 2.95 billion, or about a third of the Earth’s population.
In terms of how we use social media, we’ve learned that it’s not enough to only have multiple social media accounts to reach customers. we’ve to create a community and provide its members with live, interactive content that helps produce long-term brand loyalty. And, here, visual content is more than forty times additional likely to get shared on social media than different types of content, according to HubSpot.
I personally have 637,000 followers on Twitter, 43,000 on Facebook. to engage them, i use as several visual pictures as I can. For my podcast, I generally give people a “sneak peek” of the interview i am about to record. I even have people submit questions for my guests, to assist create them feel like a part of the action. I also post photos of where I am; and since I travel a lot, that can be anyplace. Right now, I have a “debate” going on my Facebook page about something a little mundane: whether to use a dish rack.
In short, your content needn’t continuously be serious. It can be something casual that provides your audience access to your everyday life, something interactive in which people will chime in and engage with you and your brand.
More in-depth social learning
Social learning is the method of learning through peer social interaction. we learn something each time we observe others, ask questions or share knowledge resources. that is why social learning is experiencing a boom. In fact, seventy three percent of organizations in one survey expected to increase their focus on social learning, according to a report from the Brandon Hall group.
This can take place in a number of ways, through informal one-on-one encounters,or team members working together to solve a problem; through social software or experience directories — knowledge directories used to identify specialists and areas of experience. and that is only for starters. A Bloomfire study reported that eighty seven percent of workers surveyed believed that social knowledge was essential; only 37 % felt the same regarding formal company training.
At my own company, I facilitate social learning with conferences, summits and webinars. the purpose is to use social platforms as a networking tool for C-suite executives and as a resource to discover the new trends in our business. I have seen the positive results first-hand: many members of our network have gone on to write books, become keynote speakers and launch their own podcasts.
This type of organic learning is what additional companies will be investing in, in 2018.
Personalized interactive experiences
As mentioned above, providing customized content is the best, most direct way to engage with customers and your audience generally. that is an important step. Another necessary step is to prevent being polite and get up in people’s faces — without being creepy.
Today’s consumers are pretty sophisticated; and, chances are, they’ve done their analysis before they purchase anything. They thoroughly vet companies by visiting their websites, reading online reviews and asking their peers’ opinions on social media. So, whether yours could be a brick and mortar or online store, you have to create your client experience unique to the individual you are trying to target. By pushing hard for personalization and making interactive experiences, you may not only get the client concerned, but also reduce “cognitive overhead,” which is defined as “how many logical connections or jumps your brain has to create in order to know or contextualize the thing you are looking at.”
Here’s an example: a few years ago, the new york Times distributed over one million Google cardboard viewers/glasses to Sunday home delivery subscribers, in an effort to make a new expertise for subscribers. As newspapers across the country are troubled, or even dying, they’ve experimented with new ways to get their message across. The virtual reality film, The Displaced, as an example, told the story of thirty million kids displaced by war. What better way to rise up in people’s faces?
Another example involves the outdoor distributor, Bass pro retailers. Bass goes through nice lengths to immerse customers in the life of an outdoorsman by taking them on an adventure while they browse the store. Fish tanks, taxidermied animals and campers are all on hand to make the illusion tha the client is actually outdoors. which makes people browse longer.
The result? more store traffic and more store time equals more sales. Today, Bass pro stores attract more than one hundred twenty million visitors annually. Apparently, its message is resonating.
And, as an outdoorsman myself, I appreciate a brand that caters to my wants in a way that is personal, however not too “in your face.”
I’ve said this before: Blockchain technology (best known for powering bound cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin) is here to stay; and more businesses, large and little, are embracing it. many have been fast to dismiss Blockchain as simply a bunch of tech nerds obtaining together and making their own finance and record-keeping system, however it’s much more than that.
Since the emergence of social media, many large companies have missed the boat. They wasted too much time before finally seeing social media as a vehicle to boost their business and broadcast their message. many refused to engage until they were forced to. But, eventually, missing out on the social media bandwagon created a particular FOMO, or fear of missing out, within these companies, and they are currently refusing to repeat their mistake with the blockchain revolution.
As a result, businesses are going to great lengths to learn more about how this technology impacts their bottom line. they need to confirm they’re the ones doing the disrupting, instead of being the ones being disrupted. companies like Accenture and Deloitte have even established blockchain practice areas to create strategies aimed at improving the way we live and work.
What changes can you be implementing in order to ensure success in 2018?