Social properties absolutely qualify as advertising tools, but it is considerably more than that. As mentioned, the word of mouth effect brings its own degree of credible advertising. In addition, it often acts as a megaphone for existing ads; great advertising prompts conversation and sharing.
A good example is any brand that uses a representative character of as part of a campaign. The character then takes on a life of its own online, possibly with its own social profiles. Fans engage with the character, which is another route for the brand to reach customers.
Social media also introduces the capability of interactive advertising. If a promotion is posted, it is available for immediate use, of course, but is also then on the table to open a discussion or to accept a comment or question. With advanced analytics, the popularity can be tracked and show the result of the promotional efforts.
Lisa Wehr is CEO and founder of Oneupweb.
On Twitter? Follow Wehr at @LisaWehr. Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.
Cover art compiled from "Social media, communication" and "Social media icons set in dollar" images via Shutterstock. In-article image also via Shutterstock: "Tick placed in excellent," "Staff rating silhouettes," "Brand rubber stamp," "One person says something," and "Business woman screaming."