Is ‘Social Media ROI’ a Dead Idea?

Here’s an interesting response to yesterday’s story on the study confirming that ad/marketing execs think social media is PR’s problem:

So: PR should handle SM, and PR should focus more on ROI to prove its value, but SM ROI remains elusive despite the fact that many continue trying very, very hard to measure Twitter campaigns in dollars-and-cents terms.

It can get confusing—and today we learned that more and more companies are abandoning the very concept of social ROI even as such efforts grow more integral to the operations of your average PR firm.

We’re not going to pay for a subscription to Business Insider, so we don’t have all the details of their research at hand. But we certainly think the clients involved in their study are making the right decision in dropping “half baked” measures to determine exactly how much their social media projects are worth. We also agree that they should focus more on “audience-building, brand awareness, and customer relations”, which are more difficult to measure.

Frankly, we feel that BI’s conclusions play directly into the idea that social belongs more to PR than marketing. So here’s the question: now that you’re handling more of your clients’ social efforts, how can you best demonstrate the value of that work? (Write your answer in spreadsheet form, please.)