We use cookies to improve your experience. Please read our cookies policy here.


Digital marketing news for small businesses: October roundup

3 minute read

As October draws to a close, we take a look back over some of the top stories in digital marketing this month and what they mean for your business.

As October draws to a close, we take a look back over some of the top stories in digital marketing this month and what they mean for your business.

Use social media to aid purchasing decisions

If you’re yet to be convinced by the power of social media for marketing your business, you might be interested in the findings of a new survey that suggests that while most consumers still aren’t confident about buying things using social media, they’re heavily influenced by what they see on it thanks to product-related content and reviews.

The study found that “Just under half of the survey respondents (48 percent) said that they’ve bought products or services discovered on social media”, an increase from 42% in 2016. In general, the percentage of consumers saying they regularly use Instagram and Snapchat has risen by 29% and 96% respectively between 2016 and 2018, while regular use of Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter has fallen 15%, 17% and 10% respectively. That said, different platforms work better for different kinds of business, so you might find this article helpful in working out which platform best suits your products or services.

The study also found that although they’re using it to discover what to buy, the majority of consumers are still reticent about clicking a ‘buy’ button on social media. 82% said they haven’t bought anything on a social networking platform, with 71% saying this was because of security concerns, and 65% citing privacy concerns. This suggests that businesses, rather than trying to encourage consumers to buy products or services directly through social media, should instead focus on its role in the decision-making process, sharing useful content that entices potential customers to find out more.

Avoid sensational language in Facebook ads

On the subject of social media, Facebook has previously clamped down on low-quality ‘clickbait’ or ‘engagement bait’ posts, but this month it’s announced that it’s expanding this policy to adverts. That means that if you use Facebook advertising to promote your business, you’ll need to avoid exaggerated wording or your content may be demoted.

In a world dominated by the need to maximise social media engagement and drive up likes, comments and clicks, it’s little wonder that many have resorted to so-called ‘clickbait’ headlines to attract attention and garner engagement. These are headlines that compel readers to click on them by using sensational language or withholding information so that they must click to find out (for example, “You’ll never believe what happened next”), or by encouraging some other kind of meaningless interaction (“Hit like if you can’t wait for Friday”). Not sure what to write instead? Here are some tips for crafting high-quality headlines.

Use Google Maps to connect with customers

If you use Google My Business to make sure your business comes up in Google Maps, you’ll now have a new way to reach your customers. Google is adding a ‘Follow’ button that means you’ll be able to send updates to the ‘For You’ recommendations tab that users see when they’re logged into Google Maps. It’s a useful addition to your local search strategy, as it gives you an extra way of keeping in touch with customers and hopefully enticing them back for repeat visits.

Find out more about how people find you in Google My Business

Finally, staying with the subject of Google My Business, you’ll now be able to get extra insights into how people are finding your business thanks to new branded search reporting on your Google My Business analytics dashboard. Branded searches are those where users have typed the name of your business, or one close enough to it to have found your business by searching for it. It’s a useful indicator of brand awareness, and this reporting feature could therefore come in handy for measuring the impact of local marketing campaigns.

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.

Sign up to the UK Domain newsletter

Get all our monthly news and updates direct to your inbox