"Participatory online media where news, photos, videos, and podcasts are made public via social media websites through submission. Normally accompanied with a voting process to make media items become popular."
Social media is a whole new breed. It has plenty of characteristics that differentiate it from the conventional media. However, it is not to say that you stick to social media alone and ignore other methods of marketing like radio, TV, newspapers, magazines and outdoor. One of the most important advantages of social media over traditional media is that social media is all about users generating comments, reviews and spreading the word all on their own -- word-of-mouth on an overdrive.
For marketers, this wild animal could seem to be daunting at first due to the fact that "they choose to put you up for display on the social web". You will have no control over what they say about your products and services. You can do nothing. However, if you master the art of influencing people, you get a fair advantage – more powerful and effective than any other marketing method – over your competition.
Social media is real; it is there whether you want it or not. You can't help not wanting when your brand, business, products or services are being discussed. You will be forced to participate. Social media may be used by those who want to buy your product because they want to know what others who already purchased your product think.
If negative messages are going out or if your products are being criticized and you choose not to participate because your ego is bruised, you are endorsing those negative comments which will kick you out all the way to business closure.
For marketers, social media should be an inevitable inclusion in their marketing strategy. When included, it pulls your product out and hurls it into the orbit where successful brands seem to exist. If you are aiming for a long-term success and an almost unanimous vote in the favor of your brands, participating in social media is a must.