No one has proven that social media is an effective tool for selling a product or service. It’s a great way to keep in touch with people. It is an excellent way to promote your brand. But if you think that just because someone likes your business on Facebook, that they’re going to buy your product, you’re mistaken.

Here are two examples. I have a friend who owns a small business. His business’s facebook page has over 3,000 followers. However, his business isn’t doing well. Out of the 3,000 people who like his page 10% might have a need for his business’s services and even fewer can afford them. He knows less than half of his Twitter followers and has met less than a third of them. He updates his page at least daily.

Example #2 is Justin Bieber. He has over 32 millions facebook fans and is known all over the world. People like my father know who Justin Bieber is. 32 million facebook fans won’t make someone like my dad buy Justin Bieber’s album, nor will it make his music any better, but it will give him an additional platform to spread the word about who he is. From there it is up to his talent to get people in the seats at a show and to buy his music.

Justin Bieber’s social media presence is driving his brand. It’s getting people talking about him and it’s sending them to other places where they can connect with him-his website, his concerts, his TV show appearances, his albums. In the first example, the small business’s social media presence has attracted people, but there is no additional way for them to establish a connection with the business-no coupons to cash in at the store, no events, no partnerships with other businesses.

If you’re going to invest in social media, understand it will only further promote your brand and provide you with a way to connect with these people. The real connection should be done else where.