Social media mentions of a brand can be a marketer's best friend, but only if they're used correctly, Nate Elliott writes. These mentions provide data that can help shape your messaging, your media plan, your targeting and your conversational tactics, but shouldn't be used as the main metric for your return-on-investment calculations, he writes. "The key here is to successfully build social data into marketing programs -- and not to use it, like most companies, as a tool to measure those programs," Elliott writes.

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