Have you asked yourself this question lately? And if so, what is your answer? Is it because you’ve “heard” there is value in tweeting, updating your Facebook status, or being connected on LinkedIn? Are you participating in social media simply because you think it’s the next important aspect of your marketing mix—except that you have no idea why? Social media will drain you dry, if you’re not careful. Like any other marketing piece, you must have specific goals in mind and a good program in place to measure your ROI. For example, if you’re using social media to help increase brand awareness, how do you know your efforts are working? Is your brand recognized more often now in Google alerts? Have you been able to monitor traffic from specific posts on your Facebook page that link directly back to your website? If you’re implementing social media tactics to seek out new relationships or build upon existing ones, how is that working for you? Just because you have more than 1,000 friends on Facebook or 500-plus connections on LinkedIn doesn’t mean you have strong, personal relationships with each of them. Are you using these social networking sites in order to have big numbers in the friendship and connection categories, or to flourish with a smaller, more intimate group of like minded individuals? Once you know the real goals behind your social networking endeavors, you can put a plan in place to generate optimum ROI.