One reason I think that some people are reluctant to engage social media is that they are concerned about not knowing the rules, not knowing how to allocate resources, and about making mistakes.
Previous blog articles have addressed some of the rules. (Check out: How Many 10 Commandments of Social Media Do You Need?) And others have addressed resource allocation and metrics.
But I haven't really addressed making mistakes. The fact is that everyone's going to make mistakes because social media is about experimenting to figure out what works. And "what works" is likely to be different for each organization (thus the many version of the social media 10 Commandments).
It's also worth reading "Put Ad on Web. Count Clicks. Revise." from the New York Times. The key point here is: Revise. While the article focuses on advertising, not PR, the point about looking at metrics and then revising approaches to determine what works is relevant to PR functions, too.
The numbers we're dealing with -- like click-throughs on Twitter -- may not be large numbers. But some argue that a positive mention from a trusted source via Twitter or a blog is worth as much as thousands of media impressions for ads. There are all sorts of things to experiment with, such as tools, services, approaches, etc. And it may take time to figure out the best approach for you.
So stop worrying about mistakes. Think about how you can experiment, gain knowledge and be more effective.