Monetizing social media ventures has proven to be a difficult task. With the pencil pushers and bean counters clacking away at profit and loss sheets, justifying the time spent on Facebook, Twitter, etc. can be next to impossible at times. If social media success is measured by being able to point to a balance sheet and state, “See we made a dollar,” then maybe it is time to find another measuring stick.

The key here may not be how much money is being made, but how much money is being saved. Take Facebook for example. Starting a company page is free, simple, and takes a limited amount of time investment. Once created, updates are quick and not only do they reach the actual page, but they also reach directly into many page members’ personal e-mail boxes.

To evaluate social media for each individual company, consider the cost of direct communication with customers; the geographical limitations that standard advertising programs experience, and the cost of obtaining a standard lead.

Don’t be shy about building the company’s social audience. Maybe it’s time to ask customers to post their experience with your company on a social media site or comment on your page. Sales gurus have proven that sales people have to ask for the sale, maybe it is time to ask your customers to get involved in the conversation.

I would like to hear about your social media successes and failures. Take a minute to write a comment and get in on the conversation.