Quitter to Winner

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How startups can maximize the web and social media with MMJ Technology

Having a web a social media presence is key for any startup. MMJTech's Internet Strategist, Jonathan Mast, offers sound advice to help entrepreneurs maximize SEO, social media and web development partners.

What are some social media/web best practices for a new small business?

I think the most important thing a new small business can do is to establish a presence online where their potential customers and brand evangelists can find them. In my mind, that's Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in addition to a good website. I believe it is important for new business owners to understand that although the social media channels are valuable in attracting attention and communicating with your audience, the fact that you can not control what happens there means you need a solid website as the core of your online marketing strategy. Use social media channels to drive traffic to your website - not the other way around.

I recommend the following simple steps:

1. Register your domain name (abcbusiness.com).
2. Setup email at your domain name. Do not use and AOL, Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail address for your business. You instantly lose credibility.
3. Set up a Facebook business (fan) page and begin branding the page by using a 200x600 graphic as your profile picture. This 200x600 graphic should be seen as a "mini-billboard." It's an excellent way to brand your Facebook page and provide information to your audience.
4. Get a Twitter page for your business. Think about your Twitter profile icon. Most people will not see your page although they will regularly see your Twitter profile icon. You don't have much room although it's another chance to effectively brand yourself and/or your company.
5. Get a YouTube page for your business.

Even if you don't know how you're going to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, claim your pages now.

What questions should a startup ask a web developer during the vendor selection process?

Ask about results. Your website is essentially useless if it is not helping you make more money or, at a minimum, save money. Many web developers are enamored with "cool" technology. Don't get caught in that mind set. Think about what your potential customers are going to be looking for and provide that type of content.

Also, make sure to ask about changes to the site. DO NOT get a site that you can't make changes to on your own. I'm a big fan of Joomla!, an open source content management system. Joomla! allows you to add, edit and modify your content easily. Other common platforms are Wordpress and Drupal. If you have to pay your web developer or learn a programming language to make changes to your site keep looking.

Ask about support. You will have questions as you grow your business and make sure that the developer you choose has the capabilities to grow with your business.

One last thing, as small business owners we are regularly looking to save money. Do not trust your website to someone who you wouldn't want to be representing your company in person. Your nephew may think he knows a lot about web design from the class he is taking in school. If web design/development is not his business, find someone else. Studies show that over 90% of your potential customers will get online to learn about your company prior to contacting you. Your web presence needs to create a positive and credible image for you.

To CMS or not CMS? What are some pros and cons to a content management system?

Choose a web developer that uses a CMS. Joomla! and Wordpress sites do not need to be expensive out of the gate, yet they will provide you with tremendous flexibility and ongoing development savings as your business expands. Choose a CMS that is commonly used though (such as Joomla!, Wordpress or Drupal). Avoid "home grown" or "in-house developed" CMS systems. Remember, you want flexibility and that may include the flexibility to choose a new web developer in the future.

What three things must a startup know about SEO?

1. There are NO guarantees. If a firm offers you guarantees run away.
2. SEO is an ongoing process. It is not a matter of simply entering key words and waiting. Content matters.
3. Google, Bing and the other search engines keep changing their algorithms to provide the best results to their customers. Do not try to beat the system - you will lose.

Can you really get sales from Twitter and Facebook?

To some extent it depends on your business, although the answer is almost always yes. Remember though that your primary goal with social media is to communicate, not to sell. By using social media to communicate with your audience you will better connect with them and establish yourself and your business as an expert in your industry. Use social media to get your prospects and customers to reach out to you, when they do that it is time to start selling.

One last thing. Social media is not an event. It is not something you do once and then forget. Your website and your social media presence need regular, ongoing input and work on your part.

Contact Jonathan Mast at jonathan@mmjtech.com for more information.


  1. Michael,

    Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and share my thoughts on entrepreneurship, startups, social media and websites. You were an absolute professional to work with!

    -jonathan mast

  2. Hi,
    I found your post is very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well.Keep it that way.will we talk in this weekend through the email?? Pls Let me know that. Promise that i 'll not take too much time from you.

    E:- hire.netprogrammer.com@gmail.com

  3. Jonathan: Thanks for the kind words! Look forward to future how to interviews with you. Cheers,