I love to get the chance to rant and rave. I am not one for self promotion, and this is not posted here for that reason. There are several items in the article, kindly done and posted by Daniel Milstein, that have caused quite a bit of turmoil - comment-wise - in other places. So, I thought it appropriate to let y'all have a go here!
By the way, I bought and read Daniel's book - The ABC of Sales: Lessons from a Superstar. Very, very compelling read!
What challenges do you think businesses face when reaching out via social media these days?
There are several challenges that businesses face with regards to social media. If I may be so rude, and please accept my apologies, that I must point out that your question is an example. You do not "reach out" in SM, we are social by nature. You engage and you simply perform socially using whatever tools you choose. I am very proud of the fact that I was awarded the rights to use the material in the book The Cluetrain in a lot of my work. The Cluetrain is a must-read for anyone who goes online, especially if you are a business. It was, in fact, what the so-called Web 2.0 and The Social Web was built on. Not reading The Cluetrain is akin to trying to be a doctor without studying anatomy. Many of the challenges facing companies is that SM is still relatively new to most folks.
I personally have been involved in the online world since 1986 and dedicated to the social web since the late '90s. The immature nature of the SM practitioner's market leads most people to be skeptical, and rightly so. If you are relying on a Guru to lead you, you are in trouble. I do not believe I have met any Gurus in all my years. Sure, I have met a few experts, but no Gurus. To me, Gurus are in the same category as Santa and the Easter Bunny.
Also, it is not proven that any SM activity will provide a measurable ROI. It is certainly proven that SM can give a company a black eye - we've all seen that - but nothing I have seen can show the folks in the C suite what the returns are. Social behavior is what all companies should be engaging in, online and off. A cute quote I saw and Tweeted recently - @mose Best line: "The ROI of Social Media is that in 5 years your company will still exist." As well, if you do jump into SM and you are outsourcing your campaigns to a company or a so-called Guru, you are missing out on the organic nature of the activity. Meaning: It really isn't you, or your company, interacting with the folks. SM turns out to be very anti-Cluetrain at that point and that is highly ironic.
When you’re helping a client market their product/brand/service, what do you look for most in order to accurately create a marketing plan for them?