Social media reveals SMEs are optimistic for 2018

Although last month saw us all battle through Blue Monday and more Brexit uncertainty, it seems small businesses across the UK are feeling optimistic about 2018 and are taking to social media to share the positivity.

The Daily Telegraph Business Tracker, compiled by insight company, Impact Social, analysed the Twitter feeds of 25,000 British firms and entrepreneurs between January 1 and January 22, and found that small businesses have more to be happy than worried about this month, with one-in-five (20%) of the 8,000 tweets shared between those dates containing a positive sentiment.

Two-thirds (66%) of the tweets sent between these dates were neutral, in other words, messages with no sentiment attached, such as sales promotions, while just 14% were negative.

Reasons to be cheerful

The Business Tracker found that a quarter (26%) of those positive tweets contained excitement about new roles to fill – many companies post job vacancies on social media – while another quarter (26%) acknowledged the how start-up friendly the UK is, in particular, pointing to free courses that are available to help small business owners at the start of a new year, such as tax issues, access to funding and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25 and will impact how companies collect and manage customer data.

One-in-ten (10%) tweets contained some sort of motivational message, such as “New Year, New You”, alongside links to articles from successful businesspeople with inspiring stories and advice, while a further 10% of positive tweets were from firms that had secured new investment, such as from successful crowdfunding campaigns.

It wasn’t all good news though…

Dread for the year ahead

The Business Tracker found that most tweets with a negative sentiment were filled with fear and doubt for 2018, with almost half (44%) referencing the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit, in particular, voicing concerns about the future of UK-EU trade and opportunities. On the flipside, one-in-ten (9%)  tweeted positively about the potential opportunities leaving the EU might bring.

Bad news in the business world was a focus for some, with just over one-in-ten (12%) reacting angrily to the collapse of Carillion, which has put in jeopardy the jobs and livelihoods of thousands of small subcontractors, 15% of pessimistic posts were concerned with either inflation or negative wage growth, while a further 10% complained of late payments. Interestingly, 8% of tweeters were negative about the rapid rise of artificial intelligence and automation.

Will Brown, spokesperson for Impact Social, said:”There wasn’t evidence in the data of any real impact of these on UK small business during this period; it’s more of a perpetual fear. Fear is not a healthy trait; it only fuels hesitation.”

What we tweeted throughout January

This study prompted us to take a look at our own Twitter feed, to see what we were tweeting about last month.

At times we were positive…

…sometimes negative…

…sometimes even a bit of both…

…but always useful!

How are you feeling about 2018? Let us know on Twitter, or in the comments below.

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