Your online brand is one of your most important assets. It’s what differentiates your business from your competitors, and what sets the tone for everything you do online.
Unfortunately, many business owners make some common mistakes that hurt their authority, credibility and likeability online. This post will look at 13 mistakes you should avoid at all costs when building your online brand.
#1 You don’t stand out.
Many business owners look at what their competitors are doing, and then try to do the same thing. They think, “If that company is succeeding, I can just emulate what they’re doing and succeed as well!”. Unfortunately, this is a recipe for blending into the crowd, rather than standing out.Many business owners who copy other successful businesses, end up blending in, instead of standing out.Click To Tweet
#2 You’re inconsistent.
If your online branding is inconsistent, your audience will be left feeling confused and even distrustful. For instance, if you post on Facebook one day with a distinctly empathic tone to your posts, and the next you come across as harsh, your fans won’t be able to identify the real you. This is where brand guidelines are so important. Think about all the elements you want represented consistently in your social media marketing. This can include your tone or “voice”, but also colors, images, fonts, styles, etc.
#3 Your branding elements don’t match your brand values.
It’s great if your voice, colors, fonts, etc. are consistent. However, do these elements accurately represent what your business stands for? For example, if you want your brand to be known for excitement and intrigue (think Red Bull), would it be appropriate to choose pale blues and yellows for your marketing elements? Or would bright reds be a more appropriate representation of your values?
#4 You lose your cool on social media.
I’m a huge proponent of being your authentic self on social media. BUT, this doesn’t mean “letting it all hang out”!Being authentic on social media doesn't mean 'letting it all hang out'! Click To Tweet
There are certain behaviors you should avoid at all costs, as they can irreparably damage your brand. These include name-calling, picking fights, insulting your audience, using racial slurs, etc.
#5 You don’t utilize every channel available to you.
Contrary to what some business owners think, there’s more to building your online brand than simply using social media. Email marketing, content marketing (blog posts, ebooks, etc.) and SEO are also extremely important strategies that should be part of your plan.
#6 You don’t monitor your online reviews.
When was the last time you looked at online reviews for your business? I’m talking reviews and ratings left on Yelp, Google My Business, the BBB, etc. While you don’t have direct control over the reviews people leave, there are two ways you can indirectly improve them:
- Listen to negative feedback and use it to improve your business, and
- Encourage satisfied customers or clients to leave reviews. This will dilute the impact of any negative reviews you receive.
#7 You try to please everyone, all the time.
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be everything to everyone. And trying to do so will just weaken your brand. If you have strong opinions, go ahead and share them (respectfully, of course). Don’t shy away from being who you really are!
#8 Your customers and prospects can’t find you online.
What happens when you Google your business name? Or when you search for your business on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.? If your website and social media profiles aren’t properly optimized, you could be missing out on a whole lot of followers, engagement and traffic!
#9 You don’t monitor mentions of your brand.
If you don’t know what people are saying about your business or products online, how can you ever address relevant questions and concerns? Social listening means regularly monitoring what people are saying about you online. Using tools like Social Mention, Hootsuite and Google Alerts, set up alerts of any brand mentions or relevant hashtags. This way you can be assured your online reputation stays in tact – or that at least you’re able to quickly respond to negative comments!
#10 Not being where your ideal customer hangs out online.
Are you active on the social media sites your prospects and customers or clients frequent? If not, your competitors are probably pretty happy about that! Find out which sites your target market uses, and make sure you have a strong and engaged presence there.
#11 Not properly vetting or training your digital marketing team.
Many businesses rely on contractors or employees to manage their blog and social media efforts. While this can free you to focus on other aspects of your business, it’s vital that you properly train those who will be the public face of your brand online.
#12 Your logo or other online marketing elements are unprofessional.
I’m all about marketing DIY. There are tons of things I urge business owners to try to do themselves without hiring a professional. BUT, unless you have some great design skills, I highly recommend having your logo professionally designed. If you’re on a tight budget, Google “cheap logo design”…you can get a decent logo designed for as little as $19!
#13 Only being active online when you want something.
If you only send an email, publish a blog post or share on social media when you want something, your audience will quickly see through you. The key is to maintain a consistent presence, offering useful info and content on a regular basis. That way when you do promote a product or announce a launch, your audience won’t feel taken advantage of.
Looking for more tips for building your brand online? These posts may help:
What would you add to this list? What kinds of “brand killers” have you seen online? Share below!