An article that recently ran in Fast Company asked the question: Does Social Media have a return on investment? According to author Farhad Manjoo, brands don't really care at this stage, as they are under pressure to use social media anyway!

Engaging customers through social media has become the rage, and the conventional wisdom says that if you aren't using it then you just aren't very savvy, whether it's relevant to your marketing objectives or not. That seems to be the consensus among marketing executives, and the number of social media how-to white papers, webinars, blog posts and webcasts seem to support this theory.

In fact, social media marketing has become big business - generating ad spending of $2.1 billion last year and predicted to top $8 billion by 2015. Most of this activity is geared towards creating "fans" and getting "liked." Whether a fan actually buys anything doesn't seem to register very highly on the priority scale.

With companies like Home Depot claiming that revenue generation is a secondary goal to engaging customers and creating relationships, it begins to sound eerily like the late '90s blogging mantra of "gathering eyeballs," and we all remember how that panned outů