Ah…another cry for social media as merely a channel for listening, conversation and community. Of course, it’s written by someone who has no revenue generation or profit and loss responsibilities.
Tom -- good post. I can't disagree with anything you've said -- companies still think control, don't listen enough, and there sure are some smarmy, self-proclaimed experts out there who somehow get companies to pay them.
All that said, in the b2b and b2g worlds I live in, projects need to demonstrate some kind of quantifiable ROI to get funded. Period. Naked conversations that don't lead to anything won't cut it. My engagements are always more quality than quantity plays, so that no doubt helps.
If a client can publish truly interesting content on a regular basis (with my help of course), express an opinion, respond to comments and build an audience, there's nothing wrong with trying to appropriately monetize that audience.
Some successful tactics my agency has employed include off-line events, registration required content and social media mapping that moves a prospect through the sales tunnel.