You sat back, sighing with relief that your website was running faultlessly, optimized for search engines, and producing traffic, leads, and sales. Maybe you ventured into e-mail marketing or pay-per-click advertising to generate new customers. Then you thought with satisfaction, “I’ll just let the money roll in.”

Instead, you were inundated with stories about Facebook and fan pages, Twitter and tweets, blogs and podcasts, Pinterest, Google+ and all other manner of social media buzz. Perhaps you tried one of these social media channels and didn’t see much in the way of results, or perhaps you played ostrich.

Much as you might wish, you cannot ignore social media any longer — not when 80 percent of Internet users visit blogs and social media; not when your position in search engine results may depend on the recency and frequency of social media updates. Since the first edition of this book, social media marketing has indeed come of age.

The statistics are astounding: Facebook topping 900 million active users; more than 120 million blogs on the Internet; more than 250 million tweets sent per day on average; 4 billion video views streamed daily on YouTube. New company names and bewildering new vocabulary terms continue to flood the online world: Groupon, Pinterest, pinning, community building, image-sharing, and sentiment monitoring, for example.

Should your business get involved in social media marketing? Is it all more trouble than it’s worth? Will you be left hopelessly ...

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