The first quarter of 2018 has passed, and certain strategies have begun to show themselves as important trends that are driving companies towards success. As businesses begin to review their Q1 profits, as well as other important data sets, now is the time to implement these trends, so that the rest of 2018 can be even more successful.
So here are the 4 biggest business trends that have emerged so far this year, and are driving businesses towards success.
Going Live on Social Media
Every successful business owner knows that social media is vital to growing your business. It’s where your consumers are, and where they’re likely to stay for many years to come. But while many people seem to believe social media is an impersonal replacement for direct interactions, recent trends have shown it to be a complement to traditional face-to-face engagement.
Rather than replacing in-person interactions with social media, smart business owners are using tools like Facebook Live to interact with their customer base in real time via social media. And it’s working. Facebook Live is one of the most popular updates to the social media platform, and everyone from your sister to major celebrities can (and do) use it.
In fact, live videos are trending to become the most popular type of video on the internet. Research shows that 80% of audiences prefer watching a live video over reading a blog, and 82% would prefer to see a live video from a business rather than read social posts.
Greater Employee Autonomy
While this trend has been on the rise for some time (led by many giants in the technology industry, like Google), this year has begun to show a new and interesting aspect of this trend rising to the surface. It’s called “social learning,” and successful businesses have begun to recognize it as a way to better engage employees in the learning experience.
Social learning offers employees greater autonomy over how they learn by encouraging brainstorming and problem-solving with their peers. This trend is best demonstrated through the reduction of isolated online training courses within companies, and the increase of mentoring and coaching programs, as well as group training and brainstorming sessions.
Information Before Sales
The “buyer’s journey,” as it is called in the business world, has changed drastically over the last decade. With incredible access to information, today’s buyers are typically very well acquainted with your business and your products, even before they speak to a salesperson. This puts marketers in a difficult position, because the traditional sales funnel doesn’t always work.
This year, successful businesses are learning that the buyer’s journey takes an entirely new path—one where they favor information over actual sales. As analyst Jon Reed writes, “Buyers aren’t always buying but they are always learning.” Now, more businesses are focusing on providing their consumers with helpful information, rather than hounding them with traditional sales materials.
This trend helps savvy business owners establish themselves as authorities in their industries while also forming connections and building trust with potential customers. Then, when that buyer actually needs to buy something, your company is already a trusted resource.
Turning Consumers into Innovators
Innovation has always been essential to business growth. However, innovation has long been seen as something that happens within a business. But this year, businesses are beginning to take a broader look at innovation management, looking outside of the company for ideas, trends, and major improvements. By involving your customers more fully in marketing, design, and other facets of your business, you can gain better insights into customer needs and behavior, and may be able to reduce the cost of customer acquisition, increase customer loyalty, and speed up product development.
This rising trend of customer innovation has also led to a rise in businesses’ use of innovation management software. Such programs are now designed to drive higher levels of engagement from your consumers to gather more input and drive results for your company.
These 4 business trends have led many businesses to great success in the first quarter of 2018. Have you implemented them in your company yet? If not, it may be time to start, so that the rest of the year can bring you the same success.