Could it be that corporate social media has seen its day in the sun? Only a few short years ago social media growth was exponential. Now it’s slowing down – almost to a crawl. Yet the explosion of the social media channel caused major corporations and small businesses alike to throw budget and people power at it.

Today, I feel that the burst of corporate social media has come and gone. Now, corporate social media as a channel has taken its place alongside the many other communications channels that are available to businesses and their brands. Corporations are reallocating the resources they once channeled into their corporate social media initiatives to other marketing, sales and customer service departments.

It wasn’t that long ago that social media as a communications channel was the place to be, especially for big corporations. Business and brands alike jumped on the bandwagon to be among the first or second waves of those to be part of the corporate social media growth phenomena.

It’s a little disconcerting that what was just recently touted as the channel to be in, is now almost an add-on in the corporate landscape. Why is this happening? Has business grown more fickle? Or is it that corporate social media initiatives haven’t delivered the desired results?

Like any emerging channel, corporate social media had a growth/learning curve. This resulted in ill-defined tasks and roles as well as a lack of understanding about realistic objectives or ROI expectations. The essence of social media is that it takes time. It takes effort and it takes patience. The expectation of a quick ROI was ill-founded. Corporations saw small businesses, entrepreneurs and even everyday people take to social media and succeed virally – thinking it was easy. Inevitably many found out that it wasn’t that easy and even if initiatives did achieve viral status, few garnered true ROI.

The state of corporate social media is really sitting on a precarious perch. It’s at risk of becoming part of corporate communications, or even worse, shared by many departments with no one strategy leading the way. Many would say that social media is part of corporate communications. Well, maybe I just see it differently.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on this? Do you agree that social media as a channel in business is moving away from what it was intended to be?