An article in MediaPost cites a Pitney Bowes study which states that social media may be one of the least effective ways to encourage customer loyalty. Only 18 percent of the 5,000 respondents to a survey said that they would buy from a business again because of interaction through social media. 

According to the article, businesses may be getting swept up in the hype of social media, and investing money and time that could be better spent in traditional outreach. According to the survey, most people prefer having more options of the types of products or services offered as well as having control over the types and frequency of communications from a company. 

While social media can be a great connector between business and consumers, it is important to keep the communication flowing in both directions. Bombarding your customers with twitter messages, new Facebook posts and other outbound social media messaging may do your company more harm than good. 

However, providing an avenue for the customer to communicate more easily to your team about what they want and how they want it can provide invaluable information as you develop new marketing and sales strategies. As the article concludes, businesses need to learn when to lead and when to follow.