In the zeal to appear “hip” many marketers have jumped on the social bandwagon for products where it is not really relevant. I recall a toothbrush that had a MySpace page early in the web 2.0 craze, and I could only imagine the meeting where some overzealous marketing manager spoke of the millions of friends the page would likely attract. While some portion of toothbrush users are certainly social media mavens (I would imagine that percentage mirrors the total population pretty closely) that does not mean those customers want to actively follow a mundane product like a toothbrush.
Similarly, social media can serve as a distraction even if it is relevant to your customers. The self-appointed gurus will tell you your most passionate customers troll the social media circles, and they are the ones you need to pay the most attention to. While this sounds good in practice, many of those customers are 1%’ers, who will complain endlessly about your products, and demand esoteric features and configurations that 99% of your market does not care about or need.
I recommend approaching social media as you would any other communications channel, and apply the same logic. You probably don’t have a “Print Strategy” and small army of “Social Newspaper Consultants,” and the associated individual media-based strategy.