It seems like every business has jumped on to the social media bandwagon these days. Everyone is out to exploit virtual communities and networks for commercial purposes. It is certainly true that for the purposes of creating brand awareness and managing the image of a company and its particular products, an internet presence is essential. But with ever more complex software apparently enabling engagement with multiple social networks, and fancy analytics to consumer email list match, it seems that many social marketing management teams are losing sight of the basics. Commerce First, there's the tricky question of sales - ultimately, you're engaging with social networks because you want to improve your bottom line. But the way this works is complicated. It is widely argued that the return on investment of social media marketing is negligible. In other words, all of those Facebook fans and Twitter followers don't actually translate into business transactions. Well, not directly, anyway. But then, neither do most offline advertising methods - the direct ROI of television or radio advertising, for example, is often negligible. But it's clearly still worth doing because it increases sales indirectly. A company's online presence can help to increase awareness amongst prospective customers, establish trust in and loyalty to a particular brand, and increase the purchasing frequency of established customers. The important principle where commerce is concerned is to let go of any notion of a hard sell. Most people don't like the feeling that they're being sold to, and the internet is no exception to this rule. Instead of trying to promote your product at all costs, focus on building relationships. That can feel like you're going off track sometimes. But what you're actually doing is building interest and trust that will underpin sales in the long term.