In recent years, the world has become increasingly enamored with the realm of Social Media. There are literally hundreds of differently themed social media websites that are beckoning for your attention, as well in the investment of your time, energy and resource capital to hopefully cash in on the next great social media phenomenon.

Following Facebook’s recent IPO, the Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors was pulling the plug on its Facebook advertising to the tune of 10 millions dollars due to a lack of consumer response and measurable results.

For which the ten million question then becomes... Are you actually getting a measurable return on your investment in social media? If you are to believe all of the social media hype, anybody who is anybody is intently immersed in the culture of Facebook, Twitter and Linked In. Then, there is the newest and supposedly hottest social media platform yet... “Pinterest” which is touted to drive more traffic to your business than its more established predecessors. But, are these pillars of social media actually generating real customers and consistent sales revenue for your business?

If they aren’t, then like GM, maybe you too should be reevaluating your investment in social media marketing. Here’s a tip for you... don’t get caught up in the frenzy surrounding social media. Rather, start exercising due diligence in evaluating its actual potential to assist with growing your business.

While there are some glamorous and seductive success stories out there -- don’t allow them to become the alluring sirens that sink your efforts on the all too often barren rocks of internet marketing. In this regard, here are some points that you may want to carefully consider about your social media exposure:

First and foremost... there are many categories of business for which the internet holds no real marketing value what-so-ever.

If your business endeavor is one that could legitimately benefit from the world wide web… you must still keep you wits about you and have a sound perspective about your internet marketing, what you expect to accomplish and “why”.

Remember that an internet search will ultimately yield millions of results, yet only the top 10 organic search results will appear as Page 1 listings. The odds of ever being... let alone staying listed on page one are about on par with winning the Power Ball Lottery.

There is an age old axiom in business which states that you shouldn’t confuse activity with results. Yet, thousands and thousands of businesses are doing exactly that with regard to their internet presence. Simply consider the facts:

You could spend the money and do all of the work that it will take to eventually have 10,000 or more followers on Twitter or 10,000 plus fans on Facebook… yet the question lingers loudly... to what end?

For the most part... it’s nothing more than a popularity contest. It’s a proven fact that there are real business people who have over 1,000,000 fans on Facebook and have yet to see the first penny of sales revenue from their efforts.

Here’s the distinction that needs to be crystal clear to you... fans and followers are not and never will be “qualified leads”! Let me repeat this again because it is critically important... your fans and followers are not qualified leads who have a bonafide interest... let alone real “need”... for your product or service.

As well... there are many businesses that have invested $10,000... $20,000 and more to build their website, do extensive search engine optimization and promotion that is necessary in order to obtain a #1 Google ranking… Only to learn the hard lesson that a #1 ranking does not in any way translate into actual customers, a revenue stream or a guarantee for internet marketing success.

At the end of the business day, you want real “customers”... not fans! This requires a comprehensive understanding of exactly what distribution channels, marketing strategies and sales tactics are the winning combination for your business and the results that you want to achieve.

And for that... you may need a little help.

Copyright © 2012 Developing Forward | Thomas H. Swank, CBC | All Rights Reserved.

Author's Bio: 

As a trusted business advisor, author and speaker… Tom assists entrepreneurs worldwide in growing their businesses, attracting more customers and generating more income. Get Tom’s FREE CD “Your Top 7 Success Strategies for 2012 and Beyond” at