Quite simply, social media is a new set of communication and collaboration tools that enable many types of interactions that were previously not available to the common person. Blogging and video blogging and podcasting are lead-generation tools or content marketing. Twitter is part customer service, part marketing, part team collaboration (and overall, the new social phone's key component). These tools are a lot more than just shiny things the kids are using.
In defining how they all work in sales and marketing, realize that using listening tools means that salespeople can listen for new prospects, hear their opportunities and complaints, and learn what others are saying about your products and your competitors. In understanding how these tools empower a new form of gatejumping customer service, learn what Comcast and Dell and Rackspace and Home Depot and the Roger Smith Hotel and many other companies have learned: People are talking about you. You have to answer.
There are business opportunities everywhere for these tools. I'm working primarily with Fortune 100 companies on executing these, in community management, content marketing, presence management, or enhanced outreach. We develop sales channels with these tools. We supercharge event experiences to improve leads. We augment marketing materials and build community experiences around brands and products.
There's lots more to this. You and I will approach this from lots of angles. ...