"Social Media Marketing", "Social Networking" catchy buzzwords used to push new platforms and for dated industry "experts" to claim a newfound mastery.
Opinions on proper use of popular platforms vary immensely.
The real question is what are you using different social media platforms for and what are the methods you are using to promote awareness?
The image above comes from a viral event as a result of an idea on Facebook.com. Users in the UK plotted to reproduce this commercial by T-Mobile in real life and effectively closed down Liverpool Street Station in London. (<also source of the image)
Think of the cheap marketing that T-Mobile got, even if the whole thing was plotted by a social media marketing firm or happened "organically".
To be effective using social media to drive awareness and sales it requires GREAT CONTENT and a network that will respond.
The quality of your content is the most important factor, the better it is the more it will be passed around to create a viral effect. Without content that has the potential to go viral it's usually a waste of bandwidth and spam. (Don't even get me started on using social media spam as a "SEO tool", that's a series of posts) Others will link to it and get people talking about you, your company, your products and interacting and viewing your content.
"Direct marketing will reduce the chances of a piece of web content going viral. People do not want to be sold to, the initial social media marketing push should be more about the conversation than the sale. A more aggresive sales angle can be added later, once the social media push has ended." - Wordtracker.com
To effectively promote content via Social Media and Social networking you have to be networked. A twitter account that follows noone, a digg account that only self promotes, a facebook profile in the name of a dealership, linkedn profiles for corporate mascots, ning sites for car dealers that only consultant participate in really serve no purpose other than to republish content and has zero Social Media value.
To make sites like digg, facebook, stumbleupon and twitter work you have to work them or find some someone to work them for you in concert with yours and others GREAT CONTENT. Each site has it's own rules written and understood. Promoting your own content on twitter is completely acceptable and doing it on digg may get you and your domain banned plus have negative effects on your web rep.
Each site offers levels of connection with other users and those friends make using these destinations not only easier but profitable as well.
Want to test out the drivingsales servers on traffic from twitter? Tweet a story that others will retweet.
Want your commercial to get over 300,00 views from youtube.com? Make it worth watching over and over again.
Cuban Gynecologist: Local Car Commercial
Automotive Content can get noticed and drive traffic. Just remember what the users of the sites want to see and build your network in each location and connect with other users who can help your drive traffic to your content.
Here are some easily identified noneffective uses of social media and networking sites. Coming from someone who has built thier entire business from networking and inbound marketing.