Over the past few weeks I have noticed a spate of demands for social media proponents to share their case studies. Michael Watkins asked whether anyone is doing anything with social media other than just talk, and Laurel Papworth responds by listing her favourite Australian social media projects. But the issue runs deeper.

On the one hand, as Mike Zeederberg of Profero explains, “… one of the key strengths of the social media space – if you're not part of the target audience, you'd never even know a campaign was running … no wastage, no mess, no fuss”. But many agencies (and the clients they work for) are often restricted from publishing details of their campaigns – competitive advantage being what it is. At best, such details are disclosed during conference presentations or worst, during closed one-on-one pitches for new work. All this leaves most of us guessing at the effectiveness and ROI.

So what’s an agency to do?

In this interview with Michael Kordahi, Heather Snodgrass, Greg Brine and Iain McDonald explain how an idea was transformed by a Twitter conversation and spawned a great online competition. In the process, the competition demonstrated the way that SEO and social media (in all its guises) can quickly and convincingly produce measurable results for an brand/product/service – or even an imaginary dinosaur – the Velociroflcoptersaurus.

As it turns out, the competition was fanned by Happener’s Markus Hafner and ultimately won by Nick Homes a Court (click here to hear how Nick’s strategy was developed and executed). A quick Google search yields almost 7,000 search results for a word that previously did not exist. Not bad going for a competition that started at the beginning of January 2009 and ended two weeks later.

It goes to show just what can be done (and demonstrated) when you approach it creatively. Nice.