Too many businesses assume that social media is simple, free and easy... not so. This approach will surely lead in misdirection. Yes, many social media sites are free in the monetary sense but perhaps the biggest cost of social media is your time. It takes time to create a substantial understanding of each social-networking environment. It takes time to develop a credible reputation worth listening to; So if your time is free, then yes you can still consider social media totally free.
The good news is that perhaps social media can be very worthwhile when done right. The best and my favorite part of social networking is measurable ROI. Unfortuanatley with traditional media (i.e. print, television, radio) it's extremely difficult to get a solid measure. With Facebook and Twitter you can track who responds to your posts and invites instantly.
If you have already allocated traditional marketing dollars into internet marketing you're on the right track. Next, take time to understand exactly why you are jumping into social media. Understand how it benefits your consumer and learn how you can provide something to your consumer using this internet networking.
As advertisers using traditional media we use a certain advertising language, this won't fly in the social media world. Would you go into a large crowed room and yell "Shall we dance in the kitchen?" Of course not! In this print piece it makes sense but it won't work in social media. Think of social networking like a large party; You are participating in a conversation, marketing is no longer just one sided.