To me this is an easy question to answer, but a hard one to explain.
Let’s start with the easy answer:
Social Media is word of mouth on steroids.
or, if you want to say it without a reference to drugs
Social Media is word of mouth in overdrive .
Social Media is a new way of quickly and efficiently communicating and building relationships. Social Media tools are often used to support this.
And now to explain it:
Like 2.0, Social Media has a few specific trades.
Social Media characteristics
Now that the users are empowered, businesses can no longer just broadcast their information to users, they will have to engage into the conversation with them to keep them informed and engaged with their company.
The big thing about Social Media is the fact that people are engaging with each other and with businesses. The fact that sharing of information is encouraged means that some form of transparency is also needed. Filling in many forms or creating a password just to give feedback is not done.