Most of those senor execs running brands who really want to understand "social media" should consider getting some counselling - I'm part way through doing a masters in psychotherapy – (I speak with some experience...)
Counselling isn't for everyone. But by far the biggest barrier for brands in the online world, are the people they employ.
Brand as conversation isn't complex – its being human (I also happen to write algorithms for hedge funds for fun in my spare time – they’re complex – this isn’t). Only as a happy, calm, honest and open person - someone who has an easy relationship with themselves - someone who can be honest about their deficiencies as well as their successes - can you really grasp the depth and breadth of the opportunity out there.
First, if you are open, your ideas tend to resonate more deeply with the users you’re trying to empathise with.You can, quite literally sometimes, "hear" people better, when you yourself are open and listening properly.
Second. When inevitable crises arise, you’ll be able to enjoy and learn from the experience, rather than see them as an "audit of your soul" – as you may do now. It is usually only when things go wrong we learn and grow - so although these are times most people try to avoid, with a bit of counselling, you start to figure out they can actually be some of the most rewarding times in life. Bizare - but true.
Third. Genuinely successful people tend to display many of the attirubtes of people who know theselves well, once you start down the road, you'll find you resonate with them more. At a practical level you become more attractive to successful people - someone they want to associate with, hang out with, work with (sometimes even sleep with). Crazy but true. Although it misses the point of the excercise by a country mile - psychotherapy is a career development too.....
Seriously, visit the BACP. Find someone in your area. Book an appointment. What's the worst that could happen?