If you want to play in the water, you have to get wet

I’ve been mulling over all that we’ve covered so far this semester, which seems a little daunting. How do I as a marketer/communicator use the different aspects and components of social media to promote my cause?

We recently added a list of social bookmarks to our site so our readers can share the articles we offer. I never visit those sites to see if anyone is using the tools; therefore, I have no idea if this is a useful effort on our part. We post our videos on YouTube, but we aren’t active in that community. And there are a host of other ways I’d love to promote my agency via social media. Time always seems to be the factor. And I’m learning that if you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat.

Roderick Ioerger of the Marketing Pilgrim, blogged that if you want to successfully market to an online community, you need to be an active member of the community.

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?

As I’ve learned this semester, you can’t understand something unless you dive in (think Second Life). And marketers will never understand the communities they want to reach, unless they become part of that community. The nature of social networks and online communities is to be an active participant – giving and receiving. If companies swoop in only when they have something to promote and are never heard from in between, I think they probably run the risk of being alienated by those communities who are expecting more from the members.  (Note to self:  markets are conversations.)

The hardest thing for companies to grasp is that it’s a huge commitment on their part. One they’ve got to be prepared for before they jump in the water.

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