The rise of the social networks has been the biggest media story of recent years. But marketers are facing problems in navigating this new terrain: while it's relatively cheap to set up a corporate Facebook profile or launch a viral campaign on Twitter, attracting followers and building buzz is harder than it seems. It's with this in mind that Warc organised its Social Media: Beyond the Hype conference, which will take place in London on October 26th.

As the title suggests, presenters at the conference will aim to ignore the hype that currently surrounds social media marketing, and will instead offer a more critical perspective on the topic. Earlier today, I spoke to one of the presenters, Starcom Mediavest's Mat Morrison, who will be talking about the true value of a brand's social media "fan". And he also has advice for marketers on how to cut through the hype.

Mat Morrison on social media hype (0:58)

Of course, one of the major ways an agency can assist a client with their social media projects is by providing reliable ROI measurements. Yet, with things moving so quickly in the social media space, practitioners disagree on how this can best be achieved. Morrison's view is that looking for success metrics specific to social media is "chasing unicorns". Instead, he argues that social media ROI should be measured by using existing metrics that work in traditional channels.

Mat Morrison on social media ROI (0:42)

Needless to say, this is not the view of certain "gurus" who advise that ad campaigns can be run through social networks without giving much of a role to other media channels, and that success can be accurately tracked merely by measuring online "buzz", Likes and retweets.

"There's always room for gurus," Morrison added. "I'd just rather they weren't near my clients."

The Social Media: Beyond the Hype conference will also have speakers from 1000heads, Tweetminster and Ipsos ASI, while from the client side there will be presentations from Europcar, Philips and Virgin Atlantic. You can book your place on our conference page, browse the full agenda, or take a look at the brochure.