One of the quickest ways to initiate an animated discussion in America these days is to bring up politics. Even in the politest of company, the rules of civility can go out the door whenever the subject rears its head. People who had been laughing together in camaraderie only minutes before can become quickly entrenched in heated debate. In social media circles, you might well achieve the same effect by bringing up the subject of measurement and return on investment.

One school of thought within the social media world is that the ROI of an active social media program is self-evident. Companies have paid big money for years for focus groups to tell them what customers think about their brand, products, or marketing ...

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