Will you find customers on Facebook or other social media?

In case you hadn’t noticed, it appears the world of social networking is giving marketers and the businesses they market for a run for their money. I’ve been paying attention because I, too, am a marketer trying to make sense of this very fickle medium.

The bottom line is that, even as anti-social as social media seems on the surface, people are there to interact with people, not advertisements.

The other thing I see very clearly is that you simply cannot just slap traditional advertising models onto this very new and constantly changing beast. That is the first reason why traditional banner advertising is having a hard time getting any traction in the social media world. The second reason is because successful display advertising is targeted. While it’s easy to target your advertising during search or on Web sites that offer a particular type of content, how do you target advertising when social media users are talking about what they did last night?

But social media is a different beast and marketers need to look at these social aspects of the Web in a much different light. Social media is about, well, being social. So you have to think about how you might be able to interact with your customers using these tools. Yes, this requires an awful lot of monitoring chatter and then interacting when the time is right. Smart companies are utilizing these channels to create strong bonds with their clients or to head off possible negative experiences.

And keep in mind that these interactions may not lead directly to sales, but they may be the word-of-mouth interactions that eventually tip the scale in your company’s direction. And when that scale tips, sometimes it tips big.