When I first sat down to write this post I was going to call it “Facebook is Useless! The Truth About Social Media.” People seem to think that they can post something on their website, put a note about it on Facebook, and watch as people head to their page in droves.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. The truth about social media is this: It is just one single part of a strategy that must take no less than 5 other facets into consideration. How much of a role you want it to play in your overall marketing strategy is largely governed by how much time you have available to dedicate to it. It can help with your growth, but the odds of taking your web presence to the next level simply by being good at Twitter are incredibly low.

So how can social help? To understand the answer to that, we have to first understand the demographics involved with each social network. Facebook, once the exclusive playground of college co-eds, is now used mostly by those in their 30’s and 40’s. Your grandmother might have a Facebook account at this point. Facebook will tell you that the average age of an account holder might be still be somewhere between 18 and 24 but that demographic is fleeing from the social network in droves. The true question is how many of those accounts are active. Still, the fact that the social network has crossed the billion account threshold is remarkable no matter how you look at it.

Twitter users start to push the age bar down a little bit – the average Twitter user is 37 years old but it has more regular younger users than Facebook does.

Over 90% of Instagram users are under 35 years old.

Key to these numbers is the fact that each demographic uses each social network for different purposes – there is no single unifying social network and there likely never will be. This brings us to another truth about building a business through social media: Social is complicated. Failure to understand not only your demographic, but your demographic’s intent, while on their social network of choice, can do more harm to your brand than good.

So where does this leave you? As a site owner you have a message, a product, or a vision that you want to present to the world. You have multiple avenues that you can take to do that but you have to realize that, in the world of social, there is a right way and there is a wrong way.

Useless? Maybe not. A properly executed social campaign can do wonders for building your following. But, execute the wrong way and you’ll wish you’d just stuck to your email newsletter.