From the largest of brands to the mom-and-pop store down the street, it seems like every business is setting up a social media presence of some type.

And for good reason: everywhere you look, somebody is extolling the virtues of social media and what it can do for businesses.

But social media, like most channels, has its limitations.

When looking at making an investment in social media, here are the five things social media can’t do that businesses should keep in mind.

Make you cool

Long gone are the days when being on Facebook or Twitter meant you were ahead of the curve. Today, ‘everybody‘ is on social media, meaning your social media presence is only as cool as you are.

Create great products & services

The feedback you receive from social media can in some cases help you improve your product and service offerings, but social media in and of itself won’t turn crud into quality. That, at the end of the day, is always going to be your job.

Quash criticism

Having a presence on Facebook or Twitter can enable you to respond more quickly and effectively to criticism, but being active in social media will not enable you to eliminate all criticism.

In some cases, the responses you give to criticism leveled at you via social media can only make things worse.

Provide free marketing

Signing up for popular social networks may not cost you a cent, but that doesn’t mean that social media is ‘free‘. Building, growing and maintaining a social media presence always requires an investment in time, and for every business, time is money.

Improve your customer service

For many companies, social media has become an important customer service tool. But don’t be confused: great customer service is provided by people, not tools.

If your customer service staff isn’t capable of helping customers with their problems regardless of the channel, a Twitter account won’t change that.