Usually when people talk about advertising, they're thinking in "Mad Men" terms: the "we'll create a need for you and then tell you what to do about it" school of advertising. Social media has changed all that. Online social networking has ushered in a new world where word of mouth behavior and recommendations, always a huge factor in purchase decisions, is now visible and increasingly measurable online. Since a recommendation from your friend is more effective than a traditional banner ad, advertisers are taking notice.
Instead of fighting the instinctive human desire to talk to one another about experiences and products, smart marketers work cross-functionally with product teams to create ways to improve the product experience with strategically placed human conversation. The smart advertiser knows those helpful conversations are themselves, brand assets. Armed with those assets, smart advertisers find ways to deliver those helpful conversations to new people by using their distribution channels.
Best Buy's Twelpforce initiative is a great example. To improve the customer shopping experience (even before customers step foot in the store) Best Buy employees reach out to customers with questions via Twitter. They used one of their distribution channels (tv advertising) to inform the masses about this new way to engage with the brand. Smart!