iStock_000027526026LargeFor years and years, I’ve been hearing about how social media is just one big party—for consumers and business owners alike.

And I admit it: Though I do have an active Twitter and a slightly-less-active Facebook page, I arrived to the social media party fairly late.

But what I’ve noticed, upon making it into the social media party, is that most people seem to agree it’s not quite what it used to be. Most people who spend their time in social media seem to think the good old days are long past us.

The concept of the good old days is one that we’re all familiar with, of course, but isn’t it funny that this kind of nostalgia has already colored the way we think of social media—an industry that is still, in the scheme of things, quite young? Way back when social media marketing first started booming, the experts say, you could get amazing reach for a comparatively small sum of money. It was an incredible way to build a business with minimal investment—but sadly, those good old days are now a thing of the past.

That’s not to say that social media marketing no longer works. Clearly, it’s something I believe in. Social media is where the customers are, so businesses cannot afford to neglect it altogether. And when you develop good, quality content, you can still get it to move.

More and more, though, the effect of your social media is directly correlated to your spend. If you want to get amazing reach, you’ve got to pony up for it. Your results will probably be more or less equivalent to your total investment—so while it’s still a useful tool, social media isn’t quite the silver bullet it seemed like. You know: Back in the good old days!

In some ways I wonder if social media grew up too fast. For a while we all thought it was the future of marketing—but the pendulum swung so far in that direction that now I’m sensing a migration back to more traditional methods. Again, that’s not to say that social media marketing is a total bust. But for a lot of entrepreneurs, I think it’s become just one small part of a more diverse, blended marketing strategy—not quite the slam dunk it was way back when.