The thing I personally don't like about social marketing is the confusion it causes with my non-marketing, real life friends. I'm not saying that there aren't plenty of marketing peeps who are my friends. But the people I went to school with and served in the Navy with me don't understand the stuff that can bleed over from my marketing 'profession' onto Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The first mistake I made was creating my first Facebook account using my own name and personal data. I created the account for marketing, but soon my real world friends began finding and friending me. Soon I decided that connecting with old friends and rekindling those relationships was more important to me than marketing, so I simply ditched the marketing and my Facebook account became a personal account. To this day I'll approve just about any friend request, but as soon as I see the marketing stuff appearing, I unfriend the marketer.
I guess what I'm trying to get across is that when it comes to the social stuff, you need to draw a line in the sand. And most marketers who want to maintain friendships with their real world friends on social networks should have two accounts. One for real life and one for the marketing persona. And if you're dabbling in multiple niches, there are good arguments for having social accounts for each niche.
My primary and most basic piece of advice here is be careful with social networks if you're trying to brand your name. If you want to brand your name, and also connect with old friends, create your social marketing accounts using your name with an additional word such as marketing (or whatever is appropriate), and don't include information such as your hometown, where you went to school, etc. I hope that makes sense.
The reason I went into all that is because I learned another lesson about social marketing, and that is that social networks when used properly are great for driving traffic to websites. So, if you're working on driving traffic, you absolutely should be using social marketing, but keep in mind before you get going that if you don't want to confuse your friends, you need to keep the marketing stuff separate. If you don't, the chances of your real world friends unfriending you because they don't want to get the marketing stuff in their Facebook feed is high. I'm a marketer and I don't want to see that stuff on my personal Facebook account. Think about it.
Anyway, back to the traffic thing. Social networks work like gangbusters for driving traffic. And if you do it right, even with juggling multiple social accounts, the return on investment of time versus results can be more effective than doing a bunch of keyword research and creating backlinks. Seriously.
Check it out at