Posted March 24, 2008 8:09 pm by with 20 comments

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There are a lot of different ways to approach social media marketing. Still it seems many marketers are unwilling to engage with social media services while desiring the benefits the media represents. I was reading an article this weekend by Skellie, which I am not going to recap in its entirety, but you should go read it. Skellie’s article made me chuckle and in a way also made me sad because it really shows why so many internet marketing campaigns fail.

“The most common question I get from bloggers who want to know about getting Dugg is this: should I start using Digg — is that necessary?”

As a marketer if you have to ask this question then odds are you have already failed. How a marketer can look to use a tool without understanding it is beyond me. If you want to successfully leverage Digg, StumbleUpon, FaceBook, or any of the other popular social media websites then you should be a member of the site and actually be an active user of the service. If you as the marketer don’t chose to use the service, then is the service something really worth your effort to market too?

In my opinion any form of internet marketing is always the battle of opportunity cost. There is always some opportunity lost when a marketer has to spend time learning, using, and getting involved in the communities that they want to market too, but the return on that time investment often pays off exponentially when it comes time to market to the community.

To really excel at social media marketing, social media networking is almost mandatory. I think Tamar Weinberg says it best,

“Networking is a super important, if not the most important part of Digg. While Digg doesn’t allow private messaging on the service, there are many alternatives that Digg users have entertained for communication.”

Being able to cast a vote or actively promote in some way someone else’s publication is nearly as important as being able to market your own work. If you aren’t an active member using the services you want to market on then you won’t be able to return the support to the people who you will need to leverage if you want to continually be successful.

As a final aside I wanted to point out that getting involved in social media communities or any online community for that matter should be done with the intention to benefit that community as well as yourself.

More often than not the job of marketing tends to blind marketers to the fact that having healthy communities is important for having future successful marketing campaigns so being responsible in the way your interact, support, and market within your communities should always be in the back of your mind.

By supporting the communities you like, even when not marketing to them, will help ensure that they will be there when you do have something you want to share.

I would like to give a Hat tip to @doshdosh from Twitter for pointing out Skellie’s article that inspired this post.