A new decade means new opportunities, new challenges and, for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a seemingly endless array of digital tools, platforms, and services to help bolster and grow their businesses.
We scoured the web for lists, guides, and predictions to help you decide which digital tools will best set up your small business for success in 2020.
Find our list of digital tools to help your small business thrive:
1. Micro-Influencer Marketing
You don’t need a million-dollar budget in order to make a splash on social media. Micro-influencers – or influencers with less than 100,000 followers – are more affordable, accessible targets with more loyal fan bases and higher levels of engagement than their Kardashian counterparts. One study found that 82% of consumers are highly likely to follow a recommendation made by a micro-influencer because of their perceived credibility.
What is the best way to make the most of micro-influencers? Conducting base-level market research by searching hashtags, using the “Following” tab on Instagram to look at your followers’ thought leaders and making authentic connections via Facebook and Instagram through Direct Messages or sponsorship inquiries.
Learn more about connecting with micro-influencers here.
2. AI Assistants
Studies show that voice User Interfaces (UIs) and digital assistants are among the most disruptive technologies for businesses, meaning Siri, Alexa and Cortana are slated to become even bigger boons to small businesses in 2020. Google has begun to integrate Assistant with G Suite to help users check their schedules, plan events and send emails with only voice commands; Microsoft’s Cortana is integrating with the Outlook mobile app and Amazon’s Alexa for Business is built into Poly conference phones and headsets.
With advancements in voice recognition, digital assistants will be able to more accurately complete complex activities, streamlining your business’s workflow.
3. Live Stories/IGTV
Video is becoming more and more important to cut through clutter on social media, so consider making the most of digital platforms’ native tools to engage directly with your followers. Facebook and Instagram’s story and livestream functions encourage your followers to interact with your brand in a “spontaneous and authentic manner,” according to Inc.com.
With IGTV, your business can also delve into metrics like views and percentage of video watched.
4. E-Commerce & Marketplaces
With store traffic on Black Friday down nearly six percent in 2019, shoppers are turning online to buy goods. Thankfully, managing an online store has never been easier thanks to a multitude of marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy and eBay and the proliferation of e-commerce platforms.
Small business owners can have their pick of online selling options based on factors like budget, features and the level of involvement in the online store. As one article puts it, “there is no one size fits all” when it comes to e-commerce and marketplaces – just what suits your business best.