19 Mistakes Small and Medium Businesses do Online; How to avoid them for better brand building?

19 mistakes smbs do online and how to avoid them

Mistakes SMBs must avoid when building a brand image

The best doorway for SMBs to the possibilities of marketing and networking in the digital world. The bigger the world, tougher will be the competition. It is important to stay alive and updated in the world of the Internet.  And to invest time, effort, and money to build a brand in social media and website. However, most small businesses tend to make a few mistakes in doing the same.

The online activities can be broadly divided into two. Website and Social Media Activities. Let’s have a look at each section – common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  1. Not building a website – Having Social Media as the only address
  2. Amateur Website Design
  3. Website is not mobile-friendly
  4. Staying invisible – ignoring SEO
  5. Not updating regularly
  6. Copy-pasting social media contents
  7. Not understanding the target audience
  8. Ignoring User-generated contents
  9. Non-utilisation of popular trends
  10. Not being a conversation starter
  11. Skip linking websites in social media posts
  12. Not building a unique brand
  13. Ignoring Google My Business
  14. Ignoring conversation about your brand
  15. Avoid listening to your competitors
  16. Not leveraging Social Media Ads
  17. Ignoring the importance of an Email List
  18. Not using standard design and images
  19. Being inconsistent and unclear

Imagine you are running a physical retail store. The factors you take care of your physical store is applicable for the online dimension as well.

Checkout Point SMB mistakes


1. Not building a website – Having Social media as the only address.

One of the most common mistakes that SMBs make is not to have a proper website. Owners usually overlook the importance of a website and keep social media platforms as the only address you have.

The reason being is the ignorance about the traffic and returns a website can produce. SEO and digital marketing are huge words and look expensive, but the ROI is much greater than you expect.

Even if you don’t invest in SEO, having a proper website adds the authenticity of your brand online.  The other factor is implementing e-commerce on your website.

2. Amateur website design

Imagine you step into a restaurant, and you see the interior is poorly maintained. It doesn’t have a proper layout or aesthetic sense. Cash counter, washroom, and kitchen are next to each other and everything feels congested. How’d you feel? Would you go to the store again? No, I guess! The impression matters.

That is why you should spend some on creating a working website. Especially when you are building an e-commerce cart on your site, make sure to associate with a trusted service provider. 

Another importance is security. Doing websites with amateurs creates a lot of loopholes for hackers. If you are collecting customer data, make sure the website is secure.

3. Not a Mobile- Friendly website

This is the biggest mistake most people do when they are designing a website. The website might be working great on the desktop, have enough speed yet you won’t be getting enough traffic. The reason might be the lack of mobile optimization.

If you are redirecting your social media links into your website and the mobile version is not optimized, you are going to lose big time here. Hence make sure the website of your small business is actually mobile-friendly.

Tip: Check for the website loading speed for both as well.

4. Staying invisible- Ignoring SEO

You are done with an amazing website. The website actually is unique and impressive. However, it will be the same as covering your storefront with a curtain if you ignore Search Engine Optimization and social media presence. Again, you might need a professional to take care of this for a while. 

You can do a bit of social media optimization. Once you set up and optimize the pages, those pages can act as a booster for your visibility. 

Read: How to start social media marketing as a small and medium business?

5. No regular updates

Not maintaining your website is just like not cleaning your stores regularly. It is as important as updating the window displays regularly [Yes, that is important]. However, updating the website doesn’t particularly mean changing the layout and design more often.

Updates shall include adding new products, running campaigns through websites, adding new gallery images, and so on. The good thing is you don’t have to be a professional to do so. You can do it on your own.

Blogs are one of the main sources that bring traction to the website. If your website has a WordPress blog, make sure you regularly update it with relevant information – not just the promotion of your business.

For example, if you are running a cafe, you can write a blog on the advantages of coffee or types of tea which are not normal – that you serve in your cafe.

Sometimes it occurs that the content that is relevant is not your speciality. Even then it is okay to write on it occasionally as it will bring traction to your website.

Social Media channels

6. Posting same content everywhere – Cross posting

Each social media platform is designed for a particular purpose and the audience behaviour also changes. While Facebook is an all sharing platform, Instagram is an image-sharing platform, LinkedIn favours texts and blog posts (which are relevant).

Facebook is great to run a B2C campaign for restaurants or stores, twitter would be more appreciative for In-business dealings. Therefore, it is obvious that posting the same content everywhere doesn’t appeal.

Now that doesn’t mean you have to create a separate post for each page. What you do is repurposing or customisation. First, get a hold of the best post size that works for each platform. Then repurpose the same content according to the platform and audience.

Focus on Cross -promoting instead of cross-posting.

7. Not understanding your Target audience

For any business, online or offline, understanding the target customers is crucial. Understanding includes the behaviour patterns, technology inclinations, influencing factors, and so on. Having a deep understanding will help you to create social media posts which will have more reach.

Alternatively, you can use Business Intelligence and Analytics to understand the behaviour pattern of your audience. Checkout Progress Cloud ERP has a BI & analytics dashboard, which will give you a birds-eye view of your business, audience, purchase behaviours, payment behaviours, and more details.

Free Cloud ERP with VAT, Accounting, Sales, Purchases, Business Intelligence & Analytics, inventory and much more. Learn more at checkout-point.com

8. Ignoring user-generated content

User-generated contents are one of the most valuable yet easy to access sources of content. Reliable – audience attractive contents. Now you may be wondering how to motivate users to create content. You can do a few to do that

  • Build an aesthetic – photo-friendly layout and design for your restaurant/store that connects to people emotionally
  • Run online campaigns for  share & invite
  • Work on creating a unique and trendy hashtags

Now once the users start creating posts/stories, reply them personally, share it, and utilize their network to reach your brand reach. 

9. Not utilizing popular trends

If you can’t create a trend on your own, make sure you use the existing ones. Closely watch social media posts and identify trends. Make sure the trends are positive and not offending. Anything that influences people is a good way to reach them.

There are a slightest chance ‘Negative publicity’ works for bigger established brands, definitely not for the small and medium business.

Commonly used templates or memes are a great way to use popular trends. 

‘Content’ suggestions from LinkedIn Page, ‘Trending’ from Facebook, Twitter, ‘Explore feed’ from Instagram are good methods to identify trends and trendy hashtags quickly. 

10. Not creating conversations

Unlike common belief, posting content on social media is not enough to get the reach. The posts must be a conversation starter. If you are not a conversation starter, join other conversations with relevant content. You must not copy-paste your web URL on every comment feed, but share your honest opinion on the content. You can add a link only if it is relevant. The links must be short.

Pro tip: Use Google URL builder to track the traffic from social media posts to your website

11. Not linking Social media posts to your website

Social media is intended to improve the reach of your brand into your audience, so it is pretty obvious to add your website links to your social media posts. Now you add blog links, but make sure you add the corresponding page link to the posts. 

Again instead of adding the long website URL, you can and you must use short URLs either using Google URL builder or bit.ly. This will essentially make sure the post doesn’t bore your reader and you can track the traffic from the social media.

12. Not building a unique brand

Building a unique brand is important for the eventual growth of your business. And be consistent with it. If you are a local business and don’t want to grow, then you can ignore the point. As long as you provide a good quality product which beats your competitor, you are probably fine for a while.

If you wish to have more growth or looking to expand, it is important to build a brand and stick to it. For an interesting fact, brand image improves trust factor and will be the base of your business.  You must always bear your brand image in your online activities. Keep the standard design and size of your logo in every post.

13. Ignoring Google My Business

Most SMBs build and engage on prominent social media but ignore Google My Business page. If you aren’t aware, Google My Business Page is the box-shaped page of your website when you search your brand name online.

Not being up-to-date on Google Your Business can be a mistake. You don’t have to create separate posts for this. You can post the same posts in your Google My Business. This will help you to have a clear place in the market, guide the local customers, and improve the search engine presence.

14. Ignoring talks on your business

This one is no biggie. Taking customer feedback is crucial and is the way of improving. I am not talking about taking the customer feedback but how to respond to it. There will be positive, negative, and neutral feedback and user-generated contents. Respond to all of them.

We as people, sometimes like to ignore negative feedback, even delete the comments. That is not the way to do it. If someone gives positive feedback, thank them and share the feedback (remember User Generated content), if it is negative – try to understand what the issue is, assure the commenter a resolution, talk to them in person and resolve it.

If it gets resolved, reply to the same comment and say the issue is resolved. You must get the first response asap.

You can use Pages manager application to get all the Instagram, Facebook messages and comments at the same place. If you can spend some more money you can use applications similar to Hootsuite, Sprout Social, Social Pilot, etc. to get a social inbox.

15. Not listening to your competitors

Listening to your competitors gives you a clear idea of yourself. I suggest you stalk your competitors in a non-creepy way. You can actually implement reverse engineering on the top-performing competitors.

No! That doesn’t mean to copy what they do. That will never work and people will immediately realise the plagiarism. You can identify the top-performing keywords, hashtags, and the content that drives traffic from the visible key matrices – Likes, comments, shares, etc.

There are social listening tools you can use to find what talks are going on in your corresponding market. Leverage them as much as you can.

16. Not leveraging Social Media Ads

Unlike Google Ads, social media ads are cheap and effective. While Google Ads are inbound marketing, Facebook/Instagram Ads are outbound marketing. Yet they give effective leads and build your brand image. 

Make sure you add Facebook Pixel to your website, so Facebook can recognise the people who are visiting your website and target a lookalike audience.

17. Not building an email list

Start with creating an email list from your offline customers. POS applications like Foodie, Souk or Lazeez can store the customer data, so you have a strong base.

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Keep building on the list.

You can send promotional offers, newsletters, posts, updates, new launches, etc. to their customers. Email marketing is not a vanity yet.

18. Not using standard images

You always have to post something and you pull images from Google. You sure can do that. Yet make sure your posts, images have a minimum quality. Never use images with other company’s logos or watermark. 

For other posts, you can just drag and place type designing software like Canva or Crello to create posts.

19. Being inconsistent and unclear

Regularly posting is one thing. You must make sure what you say in each post complement each other. If you are running a loyalty program and you change the coupon code every now and then, it is going to confuse people. Make sure to keep your brand image intact as well. 

Checkout Point, a subsidiary of WayPoint Systems is a leading FinTech company based on Dubai. We build the Business solution to Small and Medium Business aimed to satisfy all the IT requirements of a business. Our cloud-based ERP, POS applications along with the partnership with leading OEMs like POYNT increases the value by multifold.

As support to SMBs around MENA in a post COVID economy, we have unlocked all the features of Checkout Progress Cloud ERP until Dec31st, 2020. To learn about our other complete business solution packs, visit checkout-point.com

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