Many marketers today are still primarily focused on traditional media channels and are not familiar with the array of social media opportunities at their disposal. When they decide to finally shift their tactics, their kneejerk reaction is to jump into the most obvious choices, like YouTube and Facebook, without honestly evaluating these new channels' strengths against their own corporate goals.

The reality is that YouTube, a sexy, high-profile Web 2.0 darling, is not necessarily the right vehicle for most marketers. The good news is many social media web sites and tools have matured to the point where marketers can really begin exploring opportunities that do make sense for their business. Here are some examples of ways that companies have leveraged the social realm to elevate their brand.

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