Social media allows people to connect and interact while leaving a trail of data on preferences and relationships. Every time you "like" something you are generating data that someone, somewhere, might be interested in knowing. The interaction benefits the user by allowing them to have access to feedback and commentary from other participants in the social network. This data trail benefits the consumer of the data and can be harnessed to provide insight into products, trends, and the sentiments of participants to identify social value.
Social media is used to market products and services while simultaneously collecting a social trail of data about customers' perceived value of products and services. Social networks are both standalone and integrated and are used across both mobile and traditional websites and applications.