Hootsuite Digital Trends report: How COVID changed business communication

- May 11, 2021 4 MIN READ
social media apps

One year on from COVID-19: Hootsuite and We are Social’s Digital Trends report reveals how businesses can best speak to rapidly evolving customer needs in a changed world, Daniel Lean Customer Success and Professional Services APAC at Hootsuite unpacks the findings.

 There is no denying that 2020 was a year like no other, for many businesses, it was the year that they dove into the digital space as inevitable store closures and restrictions hindered traditional customer communication channels. Regardless of whether a business got themselves online in 2020, or not, there’s truly been no better time than the present as internet users have grown by more than 330 million over the past year, reaching a total of more than 4.7 billion at the start of April 2021. Those users are also spending an average of 2 hours and 22 minutes on social channels every day, providing a great opportunity for businesses to build awareness and develop customer relationships.

Hootsuite, together with We Are Social, recently released the April Statshot of their Annual Digital Trends Report, Digital 2021, which dives deep into rapidly accelerating digital behaviours, driven by social media. So what can businesses learn from this report, especially small businesses? There are a few key takeaways that may give you a fresh perspective on how to tackle all things online in 2021 and beyond:

Addressing the need for a website facelift

Every business, no matter the size should never underestimate the power of first impressions. Whether customers are searching in person or online for a particular service or offering, it’s crucial to make the experience as positive as possible. When looking specifically at digital-first impressions, search engines remain king with 34.2 per cent of internet users saying that is how they discover new brands and products, so now is a great time to evaluate if your business’ website is in need of a bit of TLC. A website update could come in many forms and may be as simple as updating your site with some customer FAQ’s or maybe you need a complete redesign – either way, try evaluating your current website with the lens of a prospective customer.

Defining the role of influencers or ambassadors

When it comes to social marketing, influencers and ambassadors have garnered more and more attention in recent years as consumers’ feeds fill with an abundance of #sponsored content. While there absolutely is a time and place for strategies involving these kinds of partnerships, small businesses shouldn’t feel the pressure to rush into the world of influencer marketing as it can be a costly venture. What businesses may find comfort in hearing is that customers want to hear from you! According to the April 2021 Statshot, people are more likely to cite “seeing content from [their] favourite brands” as a top motivation for using social media than they are to cite “following celebrities or influencers”, so start by nailing your businesses social strategy before bringing third parties into the mix.

Reducing reliance on the Christmas crutch

We’ve previously spoken about how Christmas is a key time for brands looking to make noise while their competitors are taking a seasonal break for the holidays, however, it’s crucial to get the timings right. The report reveals that businesses looking to get amongst the Christmas hustle and bustle aren’t alone – October to December in 2020 saw a huge 44 per cent increase in social media ad spend, and on the other side, from January to March 2021, there was a 19 per cent decline – indicating that you have to spend big to get big return on investment in the lead up to Christmas and might find you get more cut-through in the months following. In the Christmas period, why not try using a social media scheduling tool to keep consistent with posting but perform a test-and-learn by reallocating a certain amount of social spend in the months following Christmas.

Refining the relevance of advertising

Something that sets any business apart from the rest is knowing their target audience and knowing them well. The report shows that shockingly, only 10.9 per cent of Australian internet users feel represented in the advertising they see and relevance seems to be the golden ticket, with one third (37.9 per cent ) of Australian’s using ad blockers and doing so because “too many ads are either annoying or irrelevant”. This particular data speaks really well to the importance of doing a social media audit of your audience to examine their behaviours and what kind of content resonates with them – that way you can refine your social media content to reflect what interests them most. Start by looking at your previous posts and which got the most engagement, taking note of any trends you can see and refining your content accordingly.

Dipping toes into eCommerce

As it stands, a massive 92.2 per cent of internet users admitted to visiting an online retail store in the past month and 78.6 per cent purchased a product online within the same timeframe. Perhaps you launched your online offering during 2020, or maybe you are in the consideration phase of this process – if that is the case and you are still on the fence, the following stats from the April 2021 Statshot may provide some further clarity:

  • The average eCommerce conversion rate has increased a MASSIVE 21.6 per cent since April 2020 – this means more people are actually completing the online checkout process.
  • 8 per cent of eCommerce traffic is now originating from mobile devices (a 16 per cent YoY growth) and 33.4 per cent is originating from laptops and desktops (a 14 per cent YoY decline) – a great indication that if your business is already online, it pays to ensure your mobile site is user friendly.
  • The average overall visits to eCommerce sites has increased 17.1 per cent and the average number of page views on eCommerce sites has increased 12.3 per cent

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