Social Networking doesn’t work (if you are a business)

I’ve said this many times before, and it looks to be the case: it’s called ‘social networking’ NOT ‘business networking’. As such, it is not a channel that generates sales. A report by Creston shows that 80% of marketers do not believe that social media has any impact on the social or purchasing habits of their customers.
The point is this: I do not believe that social media actually generates sales. I would go further than that, no one has been able to provide me with hard evidence to show that social media has generated sales. I was speaking to a major retail brand recently. They have become more actively involved with social media, and have a Facebook fan page. Their offers are put on the fan page and it does generate sales. But I am of the strong opinion that it merely offers another route to the customer and they would use the offers regardless of how they found them.
However, for other brands the situation is more tenuous. Ultimately its about effort vs reward. Does the effort of social media justify the reward in terms of sales?

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