Quality in social networking can be a difficult thing to measure. Return on investment and brand placement is easy to see and measure - that is the beauty of the web - but as the online world gets more competitive, it becomes harder to operate in.
This means the quality of conversations with consumers, and not the quantity, becomes a vital aspect of a successful marketing campaign.
Social Network Marketing UK has released a new report, Social Network Marketing, Engagement Marketing and Brands, which illustrates this point very well. The study is a useful collection of information for firms considering developing the ways they market online.
It urges companies to move past the "simple numbers game" and focus on building quality relationships with potential customers and existing brand fans.
So, how can firms build these quality friendships?
Well, it is important to remember there is no silver bullet. Companies want a neat plan for their marketing tactics, one they know will work, but consumers are fickle and their habits hard to define. You cannot do social marketing and then stop; it has to be a sustained effort.
To successfully market socially takes a considerable effort and this means many firms will not invest heavily. However, the online marketing has been simple for a long time and provided companies with easy returns.
In order to replicate these successes returns in the future, companies must engage more with their consumers. Those which do not will eventually fall behind those with more long-sighted promoters. It is a challenging and exciting time to work in online marketing.
Kevin Gibbons is Director of Search at SEOptimise .