Today’s guest post is written by Ken Mueller.

My wife is trying to kill me.

She just read this book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, and apparently one of the reasons French women don’t get fat is because they drink a lot of water.

OK, they do a lot of other things as well, but my wife’s big takeaway was: Drink a lot of water.

As a result, I feel like every time I turn around, there she is, handing me a glass of water.

Got a cold? Drink more water.

Got a headache? Drink more water.

I’m waiting for the day I slip on the ice and break a leg. I know she’ll try to hand me a glass of water as if it’s the cure-all.

Now understand: I’m rapidly approaching my 50th birthday. Drinking too much water, while possibly good for my health, also has other implications which probably shouldn’t be discussed here.

It’s like all those diets – the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and so on. Back in the 70s my dad even tried the grapefruit diet as a way to lose weight fast. He ate nothing but grapefruit for weeks!

Fad diets come and go. When we discover something new, we get excited. We latch on to each next big thing as if it’s the only thing. That’s understandable, and that’s what many have done with social media and some of the specific platforms within social media.

Need more sales? Use social media. Need a job? Use social media. Need to grow your business? Use social media. There was a time when folks were shoving social media down our throats as if it was the cure all. It’s not a magic bullet. Nothing is.

On the other hand, we’re at a point where social media is no longer a matter of “Should I be there?”

As Gini Dietrich recently said in a comment over on one of my blog posts:

“With all the changes happening in search right now, if companies aren’t using social media, they’re going to get lost in the shuffle. To this point, I’ve been pretty diligent in having clients use social media only if it made sense for their industry (for instance, our oxidizer client shouldn’t be using Twitter). But, with changes at Google, we’re going to have to look at Google+ and how it affects search and our rankings. It’s not a nice-to-have in 2012. It’s a must.”

While social media is not a cure-all, a strong social online presence (and this includes your website and blog) might be the most important thing in shaping your business for years to come.

The one-way nature of traditional marketing means our messaging is a reflection of who we are. It is shaped by the culture of our business. But the two-way nature of the social web changes everything. Yes, our messaging is shaped by who we are, but if we approach it properly, our social presence will also profoundly shape us and the way in which we do business.

Drinking water may not cure everything, but odds are it will have a positive effect on your health. I don’t care if you are fat or a French woman (and according to the book, you can’t be both) your social presence can make your business healthier. Notice, I didn’t say wealthier, though that might happen as well.

When you go online, you can tell the difference between a company that views social media as merely a set of tools for delivering a message, and a company that has adopted the social mindset into the core of business model and operations.

It’s all a matter of perspective, mindset, and expectations. What are your thoughts?

Oh, and if you need me, I’ll most likely be in the bathroom.

Ken Mueller combines his 30 years of experience in the media industry in Inkling Media. Follow him on Twitter @kmueller62.