Branding Digital Marketing Marketing & Sales

4 Online Branding Mistakes That Can Kill Your Small Business

Michael Deane
Written by Michael Deane

Building a brand in the online environment is one of the most important aspects of small business management. If you play your cards properly, you’ll position your business among the top players in your niche. However, this process is no cakewalk and it requires some professional expertise. In order to help business owners avoid putting their business at risk, we’ve selected four common online branding mistakes, as well as the tips on how to dodge them.

Choosing the wrong keywords

A small business is already small enough without confusing branding messages. Every single word or sentence that’s not fine-tuned to strike your target audience is a blank shot. Such branding misses can be extremely expensive for a small business.

Because of that, it’s important to send simple messages that will boldly inform your potential leads about your business. Since keywords are an important element of search engine marketing, make sure that you come up with the right keywords for your business niche. These keyword-generating tips, provided by Search Engine Journal, will help you learn more about this process. Similarly, you should also try and incorporate latent semantic indexing in your content and brand messages.

Changing the visual identity

It’s not so uncommon that small business owners start with one graphics solution for their business and then change their mind. While this move may go unnoticed while you are small and operating online, once you go digital, these types of manoeuvres can cost you.

Because of that, you should never change your visual identity once you’ve started your website and launched promotion via social media. Once people start to recognise you and remember you, you shouldn’t tamper with the imagery you have in place. It will create some unwanted confusion and could cost you leads.

That’s why it’s important to follow some pre-launch steps, in order to be 100% sure that the brand identity you’re going to show the world is the one that you like best. Just think of Coca-Cola and its visual consistency that’s been generating new customers for more than 130 years. This is what every new business owner should aim for.

Neglecting global potential

While this might sound a bit pretentious, it’s a fact that the Internet erases all sorts of boundaries. The storybook of online enterprises is full of businesses that started from a living room or a garage. If entrepreneurs like Sergey Brin and Larry Page didn’t envision their future success, they would never have risen to online stardom.

To cut a long story short, it’s important to use plain language, so that every John and Jane Doe can understand you. When your business takes off a bit, do some market research and check out what foreign markets are potentially lucrative for your business. Localise and translate your website and other business features, to make your brand attractive for a larger number of people.

Finally, small business owners should avoid using culturally ambiguous taglines and copies. Highlight the uniqueness of your business in a creative, mainstream way, and you’ll address a global audience.

Misusing Instagram posts and hashtags

With more than 25 million active business profiles, Instagram is becoming an attractive hub for business promotion. This social network can be equally successfully used for both B2B and B2C promotional campaigns.

What many small business owners might do wrong is publishing too many or not enough posts and hashtags to Instagram.

When it comes to Instagram posts, there’s no definite rule when it comes to the perfect number of daily posts. However, if you post only once or twice in one day, it may seem that your business doesn’t have too much to offer.

As opposed to that, overdoing it with posts could look a bit needy. Also, people might think that you aren’t committed enough to work if you spend so much time on Instagram. Because of that, start with four or five posts a day, and check the number of likes and visits. That data will tell you whether to increase or cut the number of posts.

Since hashtags increase the visibility of your posts, using at least 10 or 11 hashtags per post is the minimum that every small business owner should use in their posts. Also, check out the most popular Instagram hashtags this year, and include them in your business posts.


Making a mistake in online branding isn’t forbidden, but it’s better if you can reduce the number of those dead ends as much as possible. Make sure that you use the keywords that will reflect your mission and your business name and stay loyal to one visual identity. Apart from that, think globally and use the benefits of Instagram, as the most propelling social platform at the moment. By following these simple guidelines, you should be able to keep your small business afloat.

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About the author

Michael Deane

Michael Deane

Michael Deane is the Editor of the small business blog, Qeedle.