Those are the three biggest problems with Social Media. Initially, a client had one website. Now, he must have three: 1) Primary site 2) Smartphone (Mobile) site 3) Tablet (Mobile2) site.
Advertising was limited to paid directories. Now, there are directories, banner advertising, ppc advertising (on multiple search engines), affiliate marketing, etc.
Social Media was limited to forums. Now, there is Facebook, Linkedin, Youtube, Twitter, Quora, Pinterest, Posterous, Yelp, Klout, etc.
The first challenge comes in determining which platform will be most effective. That can only be done through a time-consuming trial and error process. How long does it take to collect 5,000 friends on Facebook or 1,000 connections on Linkedin? How many blog posts are required to achieve “critical mass?” What about potential setbacks? A disgruntled customer, a misspoken comment, an erroneous statement can place an impenetrable roadblock in the path to success. Solicit too many connections on Linkedin, and you will be required to provide a correct email address for each new connection to be accepted.
The second challenge comes in identifying the true cost of your Social Media labors and the subsequent return on investment. Is time spent hammering on a keyboard equal in value to time spent at networking events, in existing client offices, on the telephone seeking referrals from existing clients, designing new strategies or creating better product presentations?
This brilliant video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hzgzim5m7oU has generated more than 12 million views since it was posted on February 23, 2010. If .001% of the views turned into clients, then Purplefeather would be an industry standout. That is easy to measure using the same tools we apply to weigh the success of our own marketing efforts. The odds of creating a video, a blog post, a Facebook/Twitter entry with an equivalent impact fall somewhere between zero and none.
Until such time as Social Media becomes more streamlined with fewer platforms, or when existing platforms target specific channels, there will be too much wasted effort.