Over the past two weeks I’ve had the chance to personally interview a dozen leading American companies on their use of social media. The SM success stories are starting to emerge, but so are the problems. Here are three chronic problems I heard in almost every interview:
Sponsorship. A true story: One of the most talented and successful social media marketers I have known recently got sacked because his boss thought his whole program was “stupid.” I have had many people ask me, “How do I explain this to my boss?” While individual or “grassroot” efforts can work under the radar for short periods of time, without executive sponsorship from the top, the effort will eventually wither.
Measurement Systems. Here’s the dilemma: Lots of free statistics are available, but who has the time to collect, organize and interpret all this data? Emerging “listening” platforms are too expensive for many small companies. What the world needs is an inexpensive, comprehensive, cross-platform social media measurement dashboard. Are there any out there?
Time. All of the people I spoke to have been in their traditional marketing jobs for some period and took on social media as an extra effort. Every single person is struggling with the time soak of social media. Companies typically aren’t hiring extra people to work on social media, especially in this economy. What are your strategies for social media time management?
Do these issues ring true for you? How are you coping?

Story behind the photo: This is a shot I took at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a few years ago. I can’t recall the sculptor. Natural colors — no PhotoShop! : )

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