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Digital marketing news for small businesses: February 2019 roundup

3 minute read

sun over field of frost

Have you been too busy basking in the unseasonably warm sunshine to keep up with what’s been going on in the world of digital marketing? Not to worry: here are some of the stories that caught our eye this month and what they mean for your business.

Rebuilding trust on social

Hootsuite’s annual digital report makes interesting reading, with this year’s showing that use of social media continues to rise. Overall, there’s been a year-on-year increase of 9% in active social media users in spite of concerns over “fake news” and privacy.

In light of the research, Hootsuite highlighted a few key areas that brands should focus on in 2019, the top one being “rebuilding trust with consumers” in the wake of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and general concerns about GDPR. Hootsuite advises: “Brands must be clear why they are collecting data and use the data they do collect to create personalised, one-to-one experiences that offer new value to customers.” If you’ve yet to harness the power of social media to promote your business, you’ll find lots more advice in our Social section, and you’ll find more on GDPR here.

Is your site secure?

If your website is one of millions that haven’t yet adopted HTTPS encryption, new research has a compelling reason why you should do something about it. Quite apart from the fact that HTTPS has been a Google ranking factor since 2014, 64% of the respondents questioned in the research said that they would immediately leave a site flagged as not secure. It also had a negative impact on brand perception. See point three in this article for information on how to make sure your site is secure.

Time to get rid of Google+ buttons

You’d be forgiven for not having embraced Google+, Google’s ill-fated social network, but if you were one of the businesses that diligently set up a profile and linked to it among the social icons on your website, you’re advised to remove G+ buttons by 7 March to avoid features on your website not working correctly when the platform shuts down. Google has sent out a reminder to website owners to get rid of any buttons related to the platform, such as follow, +1, hangout and share buttons.

Insights into Google’s algorithm from the horse’s mouth

There’s still plenty of bad SEO advice floating around, and that’s one of the reasons why Google has released a white paper aimed at “fighting disinformation”. It covers lots of Google products, including YouTube, but it’s of particular interest for its insights into the inner workings of the Google algorithm, with some of the key takeaways noted in this article by Search Engine Roundtable.

Get more insights into your page load speeds

On the subject of Google, the search engine has updated its ‘Test My Site’ mobile optimisation tool to give you more insights into how your website is performing. With lots of new metrics around page load speed, including how your site compares with others in your industry, it’s a useful tool for finding out ways you can improve your site to offer a better experience to users, as well as better rankings in search engines.

Respond to Instagram Direct Messages via Facebook

With the recent announcement that Facebook is planning to merge its Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services, it looks as though the social media giant is already taking steps towards this goal. It announced this month that Facebook Page admins will already be able to reply to Instagram direct messages using Facebook’s Inbox feature. The feature is being rolled out in the coming weeks, so if you have both Facebook and Instagram pages for your business, keep a lookout for it going live in your account and use it to keep on top of customer communications more efficiently.

Rachel Ingram is a freelance copywriter with a background in digital marketing. She's written copy for clients ranging from the United Nations World Food Programme to The North Face, and particularly enjoys working with lifestyle and travel brands. In her spare time, she volunteers for Guide Dogs and flies light aircraft and helicopters.

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