Here’s a good lesson: Don’t get so blinded by the dazzling potential of social media marketing that you forget to make it, well, social.

For example, both Facebook and Yelp decided to quit the “daily deal” game (sites like Groupon, etc.) in the past couple weeks, highlighting an important lesson for businesses trying to navigate the new Dallas Internet marketing landscape.

Let’s review how the daily deal story has developed over the past year:

Groupon and LivingSocial showed up and turned the relationship between local businesses and the web on its head. These pioneers were then followed by about a thousand imitators, since daily deal sites have very low barriers to entry (all you basically need is a website and a sales staff to get rolling). So it was only a matter of time before some of the web’s true heavy hitters would realize how seemingly well-positioned they were to dominate the deals market. The idea was simple: people already used tools from those sites to connect with businesses. Why not put a deal in front of customers while the sites have their attention?

Sure enough, Facebook jumped in. Yelp jumped in. Google jumped in. Foursquare jumped in.

But a funny thing happened: Domination didn’t ensue quickly. And as we mentioned, Yelp and Facebook soon decided it wasn’t worth the investment.

According to Dave Payne, CEO of innovative daily deal startup Scoutmob:

Each of these companies came with different assets, but all of them had one thing in common…they were big, scalable platform companies.  Platform companies are fantastic if they can scale quickly (like these could), but they are not accustom to the high-touch relationship necessary to be successful in local advertising. The companies that have found success in the past (eg the alternative weeklies like Village Voice or coupon magazines like Clipper) have the DNA required to focus an inordinate amount of resources to identify, communicate with and close quality local businesses. This is not a problem that can be solved with a server and an iPhone app.  Over the past few months this has become apparent to Facebook & Yelp, so they decided that focusing on their core businesses — platforms — is their best bet.

One of biggest strengths of industry leaders like Groupon and LivingSocial are their huge sales staffs already well-established in local communities across the country (read: relationships). Scoutmob succeeds thanks to a slow-growth strategy that carefully gets the community involved, engages with local bloggers and artisans, and gives businesses a chance to tell their stories (again: relationships).

But just because Facebook and Yelp have built fantastic platforms that make it easy for other people to build relationships with businesses, doesn’t mean they could quickly or automatically build those relationships themselves.

In other words, stuff like a snazzy web design, a devoted company blog, and a smart social media marketing strategy can’t succeed by themselves. They’re just platforms. But what they can do incredibly well is give your company an unprecedented number of ways to engage with your customers and clients — to build relationships. That’s key.

Our Dallas social media marketing specialists can help you figure out which parts of the digital world can best enhance what your company is already doing well, and show how to use such tools to build fruitful, long-lasting relationships with your clients and customers.