Its difficult isn't it? When you begin in social media, you feel dwarfed by this immense creature called Social Media that stands before you. You think to yourself; how could I possibly ever tackle something this large and win ... its just too big?
The truth is ... its not impossible because of a little concept I like to refer to as cross-pollination. This is where two plants or media support one another, and the resulting whole is stronger than the mere sum of the parts. Another way to look at it is; don't fight, but rather join forces.
2 Types of Cross Pollination:
Cross-pollination is obviously something you're heard of before, typically though relating to plants and flowers. It can also work in social media though. In fact, cross pollination works in two ways:
1. because many people use more than one form of social media (eg. digg and stumbleupon, or Reddit and Stumbleupon, or Propeller, Digg, and Delicious), the more successful that a submission becomes in one, the more likely it also is to be successful in another. I've seen this many times; a post lumbers in Stumbleupon until it hits the homepage of Digg, then VOILA ... success on Stumbleupon too. In fact, many heavy social media users find alot of their submissions in other social media. Its definitely a case of success breeding further success!
2. friends that you make in one social media, can often become friends in other social media, and can help you establish a presence elsewhere.
How Does This Concept Help?
The implications of this cross pollination concept are this; to gain a foothold in the world of social media, you do not need to be an expert in all the major sites to begin. Choose 1 popular social media site to begin (Digg, Reddit, Stumbleupon, Propeller), and participate fully. Become a power user of that site. Military strategists might refer to it as 'divide and conquer'.
Once you've become a power user on that site, maintain your profile and effort there, and expand to another form of social media where you see your content already doing well as a result of others.
All in all its very simple ... maybe too simple. This is the key though to gaining a strong social media presence! Divide and conquer, then expand slowly to broaden your influence. When done properly, your reputation and work will proceed you in these new frontiers, entirely due to cross-pollination.