As a business owner, is social media marketing the best marketing investment you can make… an over-hyped waste of time… or something in between?

I find myself answering a lot of questions about social media marketing lately, and so I wanted to share my advice with other business owners.


The Benefits of Social Media Marketing


First, I do believe there are several benefits, including:

1. It’s Free. It’s hard to beat free. But of course, social media isn’t really free because it takes an investment of time.

2. Social Proof. More and more people check out reviews on Yelp before deciding where to spend their money. Plus, big social media followings on Facebook and Twitter can provide social proof and reassurance to potential customers.

3. Market Research. You can use social media to get fresh insights into your customers’ needs and wants, and keep your fingers on the pulse of your market.

4. Customer Support. One of the most effective uses of social media is to engage with your customers, answer their questions (and any complaints if they arise), and give your business more of an approachable “human face”.

So, yes, there are a lot of good reasons to put social media in your marketing mix, but…


Should Social Media Be Your Primary Marketing Focus?


I say NO.

I do NOT recommend you make social media marketing the main focus of your marketing activities.

Why not?

…because in my experience, social media is not a very effective way to predictably acquire new paying customers.

Yes, you can attract new customers using social media. It can be done. I have done it. Several of my clients have done it. But I still wouldn’t rely on social media as my primary customer acquisition source.

I don’t think you should totally ignore social media, either… I recommend you setup your social media profiles in order to develop and protect your online reputation, and stay in touch with current and prospective customers.

But if your main marketing goal is to attract new customers, I recommend you focus most of your internet marketing investments elsewhere.


Where Should You Focus Instead?


Specifically, I recommend you focus on these 3 fundamental internet marketing strategies that are proven to attract new paying customers:

1. SEO

If you have a small business serving local clients, one of the first places you should start is by getting set up in Google Places.  We offer a local SEO course for small businesses that shows you exactly how to do this.  The great thing about local SEO is that it’s less competitive than ‘Top 10’ SEO. Once you set up and optimize your Google Places page the right way, you can expect to start climbing up in Google’s local search results within 30 days.

2. Email Marketing

Once you start generating traffic to your website, you should focus on building your email list. And if you already have a list of leads and customers, you should definitely be keeping in touch with them. Email marketing is one of the simplest, easiest ways to turn more leads into prospects, and turn more customers into repeat customers.

3. Online Advertising

Advertising is the best way to ensure that you attract new customers month after month. If you’re serious about generating a steady supply of new leads and customers every month, and becoming a dominant player in your niche, we strongly recommend you invest in online advertising. For most businesses, we recommend Google AdWords as the best starting point, and we created a Google AdWords course specifically for small businesses.


Coming Soon: Main Street Inner Circle


Here at Main Street ROI, we only recommend strategies and tactics to you that are proven to help you generate leads, customers, and return-on-investment, based on our own experience.

And we’re almost ready to share a brand new resource with you…

Available in mid-March 2012, Main Street Inner Circle will be our new monthly service that delivers step-by-step internet marketing training plus affordable “virtual” consulting. As a member, you’ll get access to our constantly-updated library of internet marketing strategies, plus expert answers to all of your questions.

You can learn more at