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Great information. I find that my clients and prospects try to hard to "control" social media like mainstream marketing efforts. Then they wonder why they get limited results. Still tough convincing them that conversations over great content yield success (measurable).

Your headline is definitely an attention grabber but I'm not surprised. I think many companies also don't thoughtfully plan out their marketing activities. They're reactive vs. proactive. And don't always take a long-term view. How many companies REALLY measure the ROI of their marketing, understanding exactly how much each lead costs; each sale?

In #imcchat we talk about the importance and benefits of integrated marketing campaigns. And connecting marketing with customer service. Again, few companies seem to do this.

As for social media, I'd guess that companies don't know where to turn, how to find /evaluate a good agency. So many practitioners talk a lot of hype without knowing how to deliver the goods. So companies dabble. React. Leave social to the most eager in their company. As a result they don't budget for it either. It's scary. It's daunting. How do you sell it? Where do you start? Skepticism from IT and across an organization can hinder a proactive plan.

Perhaps that'll change as the field matures. The other factor I believe is shiny tool syndrome. Rather than do the planning (because of lack of knowledge, strategy, etc.), it's easy to get caught up in the next big thing, focusing on the tools rather than a holistic approach.

Interesting study, but somehow I'm not surprised.

At my last agency, it was a lot easier to measure social media ROI. A lot of the work we did was of a customer service nature. Someone asked how to fix Product X in some random forum? Our folks would be there to help. Another person complained on Twitter about Product Y. Our folks were there to respond. Since it was CS-focused, we could weigh the costs of 500, 1000, etc people being helped quickly by a single person online versus those same people calling a CS hotline and being helped one at a time.

Now, working with nonprofits, the ROI calculations are a lot less distinct, and to be honest, many nonprofits are not particularly concerned with that in my experience. They are concerned with the 4th point above, brand building. If there are defined brand building opportunities, they're in. If not, they'll wait and see.

As a result of this, I have to say that...If you're looking toward social media for brand building opportunities, upfront research and strategy are indispensable, and I'm not saying that like the normal, "No marketing without strategy." I'm saying that you cannot have any real idea of what your social media brand building opportunities are if you don't research them. Without the research, you're just throwing resources around in the dark and hoping you hit something.

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