Many marketers see social media as merely a new channel to push mass-broadcast brand messaging. In fact, if you're thinking of social media as a "channel" in the first place, you're missing the real opportunity.
Social media is a tool that allows individuals to improve their lives by interacting with groups -- both with people and with brands -- facilitated by online platforms that erase typical boundaries of time and space.
More than a channel, it is the platform and context for the entire customer experience, and in turn the entire marketing mix. More and more, it will be the primary way your customers experience your brand, and the venue through which you establish and manage your relationships.
From The CMO's Social Media Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide for Leading Marketing Teams in the Social Media World, by Peter Friedman, the CEO and Chairman of LiveWorld. @PeterFriedman