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5 Small Business Technology Trends to Follow This Year
  • 23 January 2018
  • Daniel Vahab

5 Small Business Technology Trends to Follow This Year

Within an ever-changing marketplace, technology trends shift over time. That means it is not enough to simply maintain the status quo—even if you are successful. You want to avoid becoming complacent and letting your competitors and the industry at large, get ahead of you. In order to survive—and thrive—you need to evaluate and adapt tech trends that make sense for your business. While it can be time consuming to keep up with the latest and greatest, here are five small business tech trends worth following this year.

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1. Automation

Marketing automation services can help your business save time while also increasing your productivity and revenue. Automation helps you to use fewer resources to accomplish routine-yet-essential tasks seamlessly. Consider email marketing software like Constant Contact, which offers you the ability to use an autoresponder feature to reach a targeted audience with various personalized communications. This targeted audience can consist of those who live in a particular location, have certain shared interests, attended a specific event, have purchased a particular item within a specified period of time, and so on. If you distribute an e-newsletter, be sure to leverage automation so that a new subscriber receives an automatic reply confirming their subscription right away (and maybe even offers a discount on their first-time purchase of products or services).

2. Social media

The power of social media continues to rise with each passing year. If your business is not riding the wave, it should be—because your customers are. In fact, Facebook now boasts 2 billion monthly users, and Entrepreneur notes that "over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat."

While you may not always be able to track the return on investment, some key performance indicators include increases in impressions, a rise in engagement, better message association, stronger relationships, and more. The sooner you build a foundation of social content and connections, the better.

3. Live streaming

Live streaming gives you the ability to capture a specific moment in real-time, no matter where you are. You can engage in live streaming through a variety of major platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, as well as smaller ones like Periscope. To jump in on this trend, consider live streaming key business events, like a product launch party or an industry conference.

4. Messaging platforms

As Entrepreneur finds, despite the fact that 2.5 billion people use messaging platforms internationally, brands are still more focused interacting with their audience on "pure" social networks. However, the growing popularity of artificial intelligence, voice assistants, and chatbots can help provide customized customer experiences across platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Skype.

You can also use these platforms to go beyond merely sending messages. For instance, you can both send and receive payments via Facebook Messenger, and share images and news articles. Plus, comments back and forth help increase your engagement.

5. Online surveys

Digital surveys provide you with an opportunity to gain valuable insights into your target demographic so that you can try to attract more customers like them. These go beyond traditional surveys where consumers provide responses in person, via phone, or mail. With platforms like SurveyMonkey and Twitter Polls, you can reach a select audience quickly and at a low cost, across various locations and interests. You can also host a multiple choice survey question on your Twitter feed about any topic, allowing you to crowdsource votes and diversify your content in the process.

In order to boost your chances for long-term success, you need to embrace new and innovative technology trends. This process often requires investing time, effort, and resources at the beginning, but when it works, the payoff can help you stay ahead of your competitors and the market as a whole.

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