Brian Morrissey's new article on AdWeek "Why Brands Need a New Kind of Leader" hits the nail on the head with regards to "social media" and why brands need leadership to drive this area.
My favorite quote from the article is from Peter Kim and pretty much sums up the drum I've been beating for a while:
"The biggest challenge is moving away from thinking about it as marketing and PR," said Peter Kim, a Forrester Research analyst. "It's about product development, it's about IT. It's got to cut across all functions of the company."
Lets repeat that together...."The biggest challenge is moving away from thinking about it as marketing and PR"
"social media" is not a silo
I would offer here too that its about using social technologies (can we drop 'social' yet??-- web technologies!) in a useful, effective way. Don't just go out and fill every single social space with your very own branded page/profile/feed and start polluting the space because you think this is "joining the conversation."
Social computing, and the evolution thereof, has always been about enhancing collaboration and connectivity. Social computing has begun and will completely change "marketing" (and markets for that matter...er, ok I'm not an economist, but don't stop me when I'm envisioning!)-- not because a new channel (its not a channel) but because there is a fundamental shift in the way we, people, view ourselves. We are empowered. We don't care about your (you, the brand) message and we in fact increasingly scorn your attempts at marketing.
You (the brand) have to be better-- not at "messaging" or even "dialoguing"....you have to be truly, honest-to-pete better. Peter Kim reminds us that "its whats on the inside that counts." And you know what? Its true.