Projections for 2011 indicate that many more companies will be investing in Social Marketing.

Most companies invest money. Because that’s what they’re trained to do. It’s in their DNA: throwing money at problems. I believe there are ways of making that model work if you collaborate with focused shops that will help you to become part of the conversation. That are as passionate about your brand as you are. That help you develop a personality in the social space without just becoming another Social Marketing factory. Or applying the broadcast model to the Social Web.

The Web is an interesting organism. The more time you spend in it, the more you get out of it. Many outside vendors phone it in by building silly apps or Social Web presences that satisfy the need of your boardroom (# of followers, likes, etc.) but don’t do anything to advance your brand in the new, brave world of Social Business.

Here’s the truth: The Social Web was built on blood, sweat and tears. Not money. When we engage with clients, we always recommend taking all their social efforts in-house. Often, that’s not doable. And that’s fine. It’s a journey. It has to start somehow. But we still ask for a commitment from the client to be fully engaged, developing a roadmap to transform the enterprise into a Social Business. And insert humanity into the conversation and everything the company does.

In the end, your only competitive advantage is being human. It should be expressed through your products. Your service. Any touchpoint with your stakeholders.

When we start to engage enterprises, the human factor is often just a tactic. Our goal is to change it into a mindset.