Most companies first recognize the value to listen to their customers in social media using tools such as Sysomos or Radian6. The ability to quickly and efficiently monitor and respond to questions in social media adds to the general positive sentiment surrounding the brand.
Visibility in social media has a clear value. The more you are visible, the more your brand will be recognized by the general public. Be sure to measure your visibility by analyzing how often your owned content is shared in social media. Remember, it is not about the amount of fans or followers in your channel, but about the impact of your message.
A lot of social media networks offer advertising solutions. so yes, add your social campaigns, apps and other tools in order to generate business leads. just be sure to measure your ROI objectively and compare the ROI with more traditional methods.
If you have an integrated social media monitoring and data solution offering you the opportunity to monitor, analyse and use data for CRM mashups, you can create a lot of value for your company. 'Behavioral targeting' towards your customers is not only about preferences, you'll make a decisive competitive difference by applying the knowledge about communication styles in social media engagements.
Have you ever thought of using the knowledge you gathered in social media for the benefit of you business partners? Personally, I have very positive results from several partnering projects.
Gathering knowledge and experimenting with social media is valuable as long as you objectively research your findings to it's true value. Don't get carried away by vanity metrics, measure ROI.