In a recent NY Times article (click here for article) on the upcoming 100th anniversary Association of National Advertisers conference, it cited statistics that indicate that marketer response to social media’s impact on sales is somewhat mixed. Nearly half of the marketers surveyed state that social media has had “no impact” on sales. This could be a function of how they are using it.

Not really sure why they shared those results because they proceeded to say nothing else about them…but that’s not the reason for this post.

The rest of the article goes on to talk about the other value components related to social media: love and value. Social media is a platform off of which marketers can build both.

Whether it’s building an expert position for a highly scientific consumer product, creating an image of trust for a hospital system, or establishing a off-beat personality for a teen targeted brand, the social scene is the new home to shape a brand’s character and enhance its value.

Simply setting up the Facebook page and the Twitter account isn’t enough anymore. As a marketer, you have to think about what you want your brand to be, how you want it to fit into the life of your consumer, and then look at the social platforms that exist and determine how to best use them.

And don’t think you can do this alone, because you can’t – or at least you shouldn’t. Your agency needs to step up and shepherd you through this new universe.

If your agency is only equipped to get you there, and not guide you through it, you need to re-think your relationship. In a recent study conducted by our parent company RSW/US (click here for survey), marketers emphatically state that they don’t feel that their agencies are keeping them ahead of the curve and aren’t helping them think about the social/digital space in a strategic, brand-building manner. Funny thing is, agencies in the same survey think just the opposite! We suspect that the big difference lies in the fact that many agencies today can’t (or simply don’t) use the social scene as an integral part of a well-oiled, integrated marketing plan.

Brand love and brand value can be built at a lot of different touch points in a consumer’s relationship with the brand. Social is an important one that will only continue to grow in its value.

If you don’t think so, do a twitter search on your brand. You’ll be surprised at the level of chatter that sits in the new social space – all of it to one degree or another affecting your brand’s value, the consumer’s love of your brand, and importantly, your brand’s business.