Kimberly of Learning SEO Basics has made a great point with her post "Stop Selling and Start Giving". She argues that the ever increasing plethora of social media products (those how-to's being sold by the world and his wife) are nothing more than old school marketing.
A very similar point was made by David Cohn in his post: What I Hate About the Internet - Everyone is a "Social Media Consultant" in which he touches on the issue of Twitter spam accounts.
I immediately replied to Kimberly that "Social = building trust and relationships not spamming for business ends". All we ever get, however, is how you can sell your brand or product using social media.
Interaction on social media should not be the sales pitch; anyone who follows 20,000 "friends" completely arbitrarily is going to get ignored. People will not reciprocate and you will be branded a spammer - a wasted opportunity.
The clue to social media is in the name, it's all about building community, interacting with people rather than ramming stuff down their throats. Connect with people and offer help or advice, even the odd freebie. Create a relationship and gain trust. Use social media as a point of contact where customers can make queries, find information or even get support. Instead of blindly forcing your presence on the world at large target your existing customer base and let them know of the new ways in which they can get in touch - word will soon spread.
Social media is taking hold and progressing far quicker than business can react and too many "experts" are still applying the old rules. The game has changed and the existing rulebook can be thrown away; it's time we all learnt how to play again.