How important is social media marketing to the small business owner? Well it depends on what you want to achieve with social media. If you are looking to take your brand to a national or global marketplace then yes – invest in social media marketing. If you are a small business whose products and services are primarily geared to servicing your local area, then the question needs to be asked:’How much time do you have to dedicate to raising your social media profile and what return on investment will it provide in terms of sales or market growth?Websites versus Social Media – what to focus on?Websites make sales, social media pages generally do not. Establishing good search engine rankings for your website should be the first goal for new start-ups so potential customers can find you. Great content and the ability to convert visitors into sales create a successful online campaign. Building a list should be the prime focus of tapping into the potential of your site traffic, otherwise opportunities are lost. You have the three time convincers, those people who need to connect with you more than once to be convinced to invest in your product or service. List building provides the opportunity to stay in touch with customers that have yet to purchase and gives them a chance to get to know you more.Social media can help connect at a deeper level with potential customers and used well can drive traffic to your website via promotions and competitions. Integrated with your blog; social media pages can create a coordinated online marketing campaign with your website to build your brand. Most people using social media are doing so for the same purposes as you – to promote themselves and for its social aspect. That means sharing photos, videos, music, humour, inspiration, information, advice and connecting with stars, media and people of interest. When embarking on an integrated social media campaign you will need to think about what it is that you are going to share (that’s not directly selling) with your followers? What have you got to offer that other people and businesses will find intriguing, inspiring, entertaining or useful?Building Your Brand – Facebook, Twitter and BloggingOne thing I know is that people want to connect with you personally, they want to see your face on your social media profile not a logo. The exception to this is if you own a well-known magazine, trade journal or charity. Otherwise, my advice is to post a good photo.Social media web design provides the opportunity to build your brand through images, slogans and profile information. Important is your by-line, if people get what you are about in an instant through the use of visual media and a one liner, the light goes onâ€¦connections can be made. When creating your slogan or by-line ask yourself ‘What is your higher purpose’ for doing what you do. Think in terms of how your products and services create value for people, ultimately what is it you are trying to achieve for them?