From the editor: Time to get serious about social

Colin Grimshaw

Amidst all the hype, I get a sense that we are at a crossroads with social media. Most brands have eagerly embraced it. Most have experimented with it in their customer marketing. Most have declared it a success. Some even have hard evidence – increased sales and the like – to prove it. But most marketers are wondering how they justify to the board further expenditure on social media on any serious scale.

How do you get real business value out of social media? And how do you measure that value in terms that will pass muster when the accountants interrogate the marketing budget? These are questions that are addressed in this month's Admap Focus.

There has been something of a Fool's Gold rush into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and whatever new social media fad – remember when brands were rushing to invest in a presence on Second Life? – with no strategy or expectation of outcome – you just 'had to be in it'. Some have had their fingers burned – under-resourced and unable to respond timely to users, including customer complaints, these social media efforts have resulted in negative perceptions of the brand. Measuring a social campaign's success has largely been done on the basis of Facebook Likes and retweets etc – a practice now widely discredited due to scepticism over the real value of such actions.