Social media analysis suggests SME confidence and growth remain strong

Researchers who have analysed the Twitter posts of some 25,000 UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) claim that the majority of small businesses have been feeling “upbeat” in recent months.
Reputation management and insight company Social Impact tracked and aggregated some 36,000 tweets between April and May in their efforts to determine business confidence and sentiment during a difficult time for many businesses.
April saw the introduction of changes to minimum auto-enrolment pension contributions, changes to the National Living Wage (NLW) and the start of a brand new tax year, while in May, businesses were hit with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
However, despite the great number of challenges firms have faced in recent months, Social Impact’s study suggests that business confidence has remained robust – or at least SMEs’ social media posts have rarely hinted that firms are struggling.
According to the company’s analysis, 19 per cent of SME tweets shared during the period were ‘positive’, while 72 per cent were ‘neutral’ and only nine per cent were ‘negative’.
Interestingly, Social Impact’s study – which analysed the content of each tweet – suggests that businesses were feeling positive about exports and “the abundance of advice [available] about GDPR” during the period, a report in The Telegraph notes.
17 per cent of tweets involved businesses talking about or connecting with ‘prospects’ for international trade, while a further 13 per cent involved ‘stories of growth’ the study suggests.
Meanwhile, the most common theme running through ‘negative’ tweets was Brexit – with many SMEs expressing concerns about issues such as whether Britain will remain in the customs union and how Brexit will affect international trade.

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