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Facebook Shares New Insights into the Impacts of COVID-19 on Small Businesses Around the World

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Facebook has this week published the latest update in its State of Small Business Report, which looks at the impact of COVID-19, and the global lockdowns to limit its spread, on SMBs in various regions.

De data, which Facebook has been tracking since July, incorporates responses from more than 30,000 small business owners across 50 countries, and highlights the key concerns and challenges they face as each seeks to maintain operations. And the insight provided is important for virtually every organization, as the flow-on effects will relate to spending in almost all aspects, and will lead to far-reaching economic shifts.

You can download the full, Global State of Small Business Wave III update här, but here’s a look at some of the key notes and charts.

First off, Facebook notes that more businesses are re-opening, with closure rates declining in almost all regions.

Facebook State of Small Business report

Though the impacts are relative – some sectors are seeing renewed impacts, with ‘Information and Communication’ businesses reporting a jump in closures in this latest update.

Facebook State of Small Business report

That likely points to the cumulative, ongoing impacts as businesses gradually assess the financial impacts of the crisis, and rationalize accordingly.

Overall sales are also down across the board, though digital-enabled businesses have been able to lessen the impact.

Facebook State of Small Business report

That’s important to note for digital marketers – according to the Rapportera:

  • 48% of consumers surveyed reported an increase in online spending since the outbreak of COVID-19, and 40% of respondents said they increased their use of social media and online messaging for product and business recommendations. 
  • Nearly two-thirds of shoppers surveyed who substituted one of their frequented businesses for a new one reported using digital tools to discover these new businesses. 

An active digital presence can have significant benefits, and that also looks set to remain true beyond the pandemic, with the rise of eCommerce accelerated by five years due to the shutdowns, according to one report. 

Sales numbers by sector are also down in general, with varying results in each niche.

Facebook State of Small Business report

Overall, the data shows that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are not going to be felt immediately, they’re cumulative, and will show through more over time. Businesses that were not seeing as much impact in the last report are seeing more now, even as more are able to open, because the relative growth or decline may not be evident in immediate figures.

That underlines the ongoing challenges SMBs face, which, again, will impact all businesses in some form. Less spending with SMBs means less spending by SMBs, and with smaller operators dominating the market, that means that we’re all affected over time.

Hopefully, we’re moving closer to a time when we are able to safety re-open our economies, in order to mitigate these losses, but the data shows that we still have a long way to go, and that the flow-on effects will continue to trickle down until we reach that next stage.

There’s a heap more data in Facebook’s full Global State of Small Business Report, which you can download här.

Socialmediatoday.com

SOCIAL

Ny rapport visar att unga användare i allt större utsträckning vänder sig till TikTok för nyhetsinnehåll

Publicerad

New Report Shows That Young Users are Increasingly Turning to TikTok for News Content

Amid ongoing concerns about its data gathering processes, and its possible linkage to the Chinese Government, TikTok’s influence continues to grow, with the platform now a key source of entertainment for many of its billion active users.

And it’s not just entertainment, TikTok is also increasingly being used for search, with Google reporting earlier this year that, by its estimates, around 40% of young people now turn to TikTok or Instagram to search for, say, restaurant recommendations, as opposed to Google Search or Maps.

And now, TikTok is also becoming a source of news and information, as more news organizations look to lean into the platform, and establish connection with the next generation of consumers.

That’s the focus of the latest report from the Reuters Institute, which looks at how people are using TikTok for news content, and which sources are playing a role in shaping their opinions in the app.

You can download the full, 38-page report här, and it’s well worth a read, but there are two specific elements that are worth highlighting to help better understand and contextualize the TikTok shift.

First off, there’s this chart, which looks at the percentage of people who are using TikTok for news content in each age bracket.

As you can see, younger users are increasingly turning to TikTok to stay informed of the latest news updates. Which is a significant shift, and not just for news publishers looking to connect with their audience, but also in terms of broader impacts, and how young audiences are staying in touch with the latest happenings.

Which then leads into this second chart:

Reuters social media news report

As you can see, it’s not mainstream news sources that are the primary sources of news content on TikTok, its ‘internet personalities’ followed by ‘ordinary people’, with traditional journalists and publications much further back.

That’s a significant trend, which could reflect a broader distrust of mainstream media outlets, and the information presented in the news as we know it.

Now, younger audiences are more reliant on their favorite influencers to act as a filter, of sorts, to help highlight the news of most relevance – which could be good, in that it facilitates a new angle on the big stories each day. But it could be bad, in that the news they present and discuss is then based on the personal bias of each influencer, which is arguably a less transparent process than mainstream news outlets.

But that also depends on your perspective. Journalists, for the most part, work to uphold standards of integrity in their reporting, in order to limit the influence of personal bias, and present the key information within their updates. But increasingly, many news outlets have leaned into more controversial takes and opinions. Because that’s what works best with social media algorithms – you’re going to generate much more engagement, and thus, reach, with a headline that says something like ‘The President hates farmers’ as opposed to a more balanced report on the latest agricultural policy.

Many outlets have essentially weaponized this, and seem to employ partisan takes as a key element in their coverage, again, in order to maximize reader response, to get people commenting and sharing, and prompt more clicks.

Which definitely works, but it’s this approach that’s likely turned many younger consumers away from mainstream coverage, while the rising use of TikTok overall means that, one way or another, they’re going to get at least some news content there anyway.

Which could be a concern. Again, amid ongoing questions about the influence of the Chinese Government on the app, it seems like it should be a significant consideration that more and more young people are leaning on the app to stay informed about the latest news topics.

De Rapportera also looks at how news publishers are using TikTok, and what specific approaches are driving the most success.

Their conclusion:

“There’s no single recipe for success. Many publishers use a strategy based on hiring young creators who are native to the platform and its vernacular. This approach has connected strongly with audiences and brought critical acclaim but can make it harder to re-version content for other social platforms. Others have focused on showcasing the assets of the entire newsroom, including more experienced correspondents and anchors, delivering greater scale and flexibility but often without the same personal touch.

So using platform-native influencers, and those more savvy with TikTok-specific trends, can help to increase engagement and performance. But there’s no definitive TikTok playbook, as such, that will lead to guaranteed, sustained success.

Which, in some ways, is because that’s not how TikTok is built. Unlike other social media apps, TikTok isn’t designed to get you to follow the people and companies that you like, in order to essentially curate your own experience.

On TikTok, the aim is to show you the most entertaining content, from anyone, in alignment with your personal interests, which you express by simply using the app. By expanding the pool of potential content to everybody, that gives TikTok’s algorithms a lot more ways to keep you glued to your feed – but the flipside is that it also makes it much harder for creators and brands to establish a following, and keep their audience coming back, as they can on other apps.

That puts more focus onto each post itself, and how entertaining your latest update is. Which is better for TikTok’s ecosystem in general, but it also means that there are more challenges in maintaining reach and resonance in the app.

That’s true for news organizations, but it’s also true for brands, because you can’t just get people to follow your brand in the app and hope that they’ll then see everything that you post.

On TikTok, it’s a new competition, every day, and if you’re not entertaining, and holding engagement with each update, you’re going to lose, on that day at least.

You can download the full Reuters Institute ‘How Publishers are Learning to Create and Distribute News on TikTok’ report här.

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