I have read so many conflicting reports on social networks helping promote your site in the way of having a Twitter and Facebook page for your forum. So do they really help a forum as I have tried a it with a few forum but never really put much effort into it until recently. Now I am going all out with a Twitter page and a Facebook page for this forum http://goodolddaysforum.com
I really seem to feel that I am just wasting my efforts on maintaining these pages as it seems the social network people really just don't do forums at all.
Since I have really been going all out trying to capture this market my Twitter page has around 500 followers. I keep getting messages from various followers telling me how much they enjoy my page but not one has ever registered as a member of the forum. Same thing goes for the Facebook page but we only have a few people following that one.
So really it seems that the effort put into creating and maintaining these pages is not worth the effort.
I let mine run completely automatically... zero input from me. My Onlywire account pushes out to my top 10+ social networks... and all of them have increased in traffic for the community. I allow guest posts, so I get users from social networks who guest post, then as responses come back to them, they get tired of captcha to chat with members, thus register and continue posting as a result.
Social network auto posting helps against Panda... I also drive links from other sites to my social pages, thus they return the love back to my site. Social pages are excellent pages to build links towards, as they often have excellent reputation for what they pass back to your site.
Facebook and Twitter can be a great source of traffic once you start building up the fan pages. Even if they don't register on your forum, you can still periodically push them to your forum through posting a link. A coworker of mine has some rather large fan pages and a twitter following, he uses them to push people to his blog and other sites (not quite thesame thing but shows the potential), and can quickly get a large number of guests onto the site. I understand guests are the end goal but they don't hurt anything either.
As for saying it's a lot of work, here's a link to a site called FPTraffic, it's $10 a month but you can dedicate a little bit of time once a week (or even less often) and schedule posts for the future so you don't have to worry about logging in and posting. Just a suggestion.
Completely free if all you're doing is pushing RSS to Facebook and Twitter. Build pages to the umpteenth thousands of posts... that will get attention over the years, followers, and thus push traffic as noted above.
I've been pushing onto twitter and fb for years now, exceeding 30k posts on them... all taking zero of my time to do it, and they push me traffic as a result.
What more do people want for doing nothing? Free traffic at work...