Small businesses with tight budgets are understandably cautious about where they invest their limited marketing dollars. This leaves many business owners wondering if they are better off skipping the costs of investing in a website and instead concentrating only on social media.

What many business owners do not realize is that a website can be as simple or as sophisticated as their budget dictates. And even if you start with a very basic design, you can build on that design as needed or when more marketing dollars become available.

Many people believe that they can make up for not having a website by increasing their social media presence. While the best case scenario would be to have a website and a social media presence, if you must make a decision between the two, a website is in almost all cases the best way to go.

Social media is appealing to businesses with very little money to spend on marketing because social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are simple to set up and are free. Further, they allow businesses to engage with their customers without worrying about the overhead of a website.

The problem with diving into social media with no website to link it to is that you are at the mercy of the social media provider’s terms and conditions. You also have few options when it comes to layout. Further, the fact that social media sites encourage back and forth means that you may have people posting things on your social media accounts that you do not want posted.

While developing a website costs more to create and maintain than social media, it is well worth the effort. Here are some other advantages of a website for your business:

  1. In today’s digital world, savvy consumers are leery of businesses that don’t have a website. Such businesses are seen as behind the times.
  2. You own your website. Unlike social media sites, you can personalize even the simplest website to make it uniquely yours.
  3. You have space to market your business and obtain sales leads. You can include videos, customer reviews, testimonials, and promotional offers on your website without worrying about meeting your social media provider’s terms and conditions.
  4. While a website requires an upfront investment, it can actually save money in the long run. Many customer service tasks can be taken care of on the website, reducing your overall operating costs.
  5. Your business will be open 24/7.
  6. You can expand your customer base – exponentially. Billions of people are on the Internet every single day. Without a website, you have little chance of connecting with them.

It is always difficult to decide where your marketing dollars would be best spent. Creating and maintaining a website is one decision that is almost always in the best interest of your business.


Many businesses fret over how they will respond to negative reviews or customer comments on their social media sites. The truth is, even responding to positive feedback or simple questions can be challenging. After all, you are basically engaging in a public conversation and that can be difficult.

You don’t have to be a social media guru to know that the absolute worst thing you can do on social media is to ignore someone who is reaching out to you. Remember, these are customers and sales leads. When someone makes a concentrated effort to contact you, you must respond. This includes questions, compliments, or complaints. So how do you best respond in these three instances? Here are some tips:


We all know how to answer a question. It gets a little dicey, however, when there is no clear cut answer available. Maybe someone is waiting for an item that is backordered and they are wondering why it is taking so long. Since this may take some time to research you can’t be expected to provide an answer immediately. What you are expected to do is to acknowledge the question immediately. Let the customer know that you are looking into it and then provide regular updates. Even if you don’t have an answer, people want to know that you received their message and if it takes some time to find an answer, they want updates to know that you haven’t forgotten about them.


Responding to compliments about your service or product or anything else having to do with your brand is imperative. If someone took the time to compliment you and you fail to acknowledge it, what does that say about your business? Be sure to thank that person for the compliment and let them know that you value their business. Such interactions will keep these customers engaged with your brand.


Even if you believe a complaint or negative comment is unwarranted you still need to take the high road and acknowledge the problem. You then need to apologize that this person had a poor experience. It also is important that if a person complains publicly, you respond publicly so people who saw the initial complaint know that you handled it. By keeping it all out in the open, you are getting the message across that you take complaints seriously and always do your best to make things right.

Social media interactions can be difficult but they are essential to building brand equity and keeping customers engaged. And it is important that you don’t drag your feet when responding. Studies show that people who engage a business on social media expect at least an initial response in less than an hour.

Today’s many social media platforms make engaging with customers and prospects easier than ever. Unfortunately, this fact gives many business owners the mistaken impression that social media marketing is a simple undertaking. In truth, getting your target audience to engage with you on social media is no easy task.

In her article, 10 Laws of Social Media Marketing, Susan Gunelius tells us that social media can dramatically increase a company’s following. But like anything else, what you put into your social media marketing strategy is directly related to what you will get out of it.

If you publish amazing, quality content and work to build your online audience of quality followers, they’ll share it with their own audiences on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, their own blogs and more.

This sharing and discussing of your content opens new entry points for search engines like Google to find it in keyword searches. Those entry points could grow to hundreds or thousands of more potential ways for people to find you online.

At GoLeads, we tell our customers that the more accessible and inviting a company’s social media marketing efforts seem, the more hard work and strategizing actually went into those efforts.

Your social media strategy should always keep in mind the audience you are trying to reach. For example, if you are looking to attract investment bankers, your posts should contain information that specifically speaks to that audience. And fluff copy isn’t going to do the job. After all, these professionals know their industry inside and out and won’t waste valuable time on content that doesn’t bring something new to the table. Gunelius’ Law of Value talks about this:

You must add value to the conversation. Focus less on conversions and more on creating amazing content and developing relationships with online influencers. In time, those people will become a powerful catalyst for word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Producing quality content takes a lot of time and a great deal of research. And it’s important to remember that it takes patience to achieve social media success. Therefore, don’t get discouraged if it takes longer than you expected to gain traction. When it comes to social media, slow and steady really does win the race.

With nearly 100 million U.S. smartphone users, you should have a mobile app for your business. If you don’t use mobile applications as part of your social marketing, you’re missing thousands, if not millions of potential customers. Look at these stats:

More interesting stats about mobile phone usage:

Mobile Stats

  • 98% of iPhone users use the data features of their phone, 88% use their iPhone to surf the internet and 75% download apps. Source: The Neilson Company
  • 60% of iPhone users access the internet at least once a day. Source: Rubicon Consulting Research
  • The App Store is popular among iPhone owners, with 55.6% accessing news and information via a downloaded application, compared with 22.1% of smartphone owners, and 6.3% of all mobile phone users. Source: Comscore
  • Smartphones are used everywhere: 95% – “downtime”; 82% – at work; 81% – shopping; 80% – at home; 65% – commuting to work. Source: Questus
  • 37 percent of smartphone owners have purchased something non-mobile with their handset in the past 6 months. Source: Compete’s Smartphone Intelligence Survey 2009
  • 50% of iPhone users are under thirty, and 15% are students. Source Rubicon Research Consulting
  • The largest age group of iPhone users is 35-54 who account for 36% of all users, followed by 25-34 at 29%. Source: The Neilson Company
  • 75% of UK iPhone users are males, mostly between the ages of 18-44. That figure is slightly up from UK smartphone ownership demographics, which suggests males comprise 65 per cent of owners. Source: Comscore The Neilson Company has revealed that 5% of iPhone owners are between 13 and 17 years old. Source: The Neilson Company
  • By mid-January 2010, three billion apps have been downloaded from Apple’s app store alone. Source: Apple
  • Apps that break the top 50 are generally downloaded over 10,000 times daily. Source: AdMob
  • Mobile Analytics firm Flurry suggests an app ranked in the top five is downloaded more than 50,000 times a day. Source:
  • In the US, mobile marketing budgets leapt by 26% in 2009, in contrast to a reduction of 70% in overall marketing spend. Source: MMF Panel.

Get in the hands of your prospects. Get a mobile application!

If your business doesn’t participate in social media marketing, it’s missing out on numerous opportunities traditional marketing cannot produce. Thinking about starting online marketing might be daunting, but when done correctly and with a plan, social media marketing is a cost-effective, simple way to grow your business. It will increase your sales leads, grow your brand recognition and provide excellent opportunities for clear customer-based communication. Social media marketing should be started today, if it isn’t already happening.Use these tips to start your social media marketing:
Define your Goals: Your online marketing should help grow your business and increase brand awareness. It should:

  • Build authority
  • Provide direct connection between customer and your company
  • Educate and inform customers
  • Gain inbound links
  • Generate leads & drive sales
  • Improve customer service
  • Learn more about your target audience
  • Monitor brand reputation
  • Reach new channels of customers
Develop a Plan: Use a social media marketing plan to provide more sales leads, grow your business and maintain what you’ve already got. Your plan should include a:

  • Schedule
  • Ways to build Relationships
  • Plans to stay the Course
  • Ways to measure the Results
  • Enough flexibility to make the Right Tweaks
Determine the Methods: With so many different methods for social media marketing, determine your target audience, figure out where they will most likely see you, and focus on a few online mediums rather than all of them at once. A few popular places to grow your business online include:

  • Your quality Web site
  • Your company Blog
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • Google +
Create and Maintain a Schedule: Create a schedule of what you’ll post, when you’ll post and when you’ll respond to others comments and posts.
Ways you can Measure Social Media Marketing Success: With so many different methods for social media marketing, determine your target audience, figure out where they will most likely see you, and focus on a few online mediums rather than all of them at once. A few popular places to grow your business online include: