I was fortunate enough to attend a speaking event of Paul Gillin’s, author of The New Influencers. I, and about 30 other interested learners, sat in on a presentation on social media for businesses. The list I’ve complied includes a lot of social media essentials that I got out of that event. Sometimes those of us that work in social media can get so wrapped up in our work that the obvious isn’t so obvious anymore. Remember, these fundamentals are what motivate us to take part and where our innovations and ideas emerge.

You may ask, “Why 17 things?” No reason really, other then that’s just how many things I was able to write down.

1) You can’t know everything on the internet. You can however, know something really well. Choosing wisely is important and where some business finesse is necessary.

2) Get involved in small markets. You have the opportunity to be really specific in your needs because geography is no longer an issue. Mr. Gillin’s wife has a successful blog about rabbits. Yes, rabbits. Yes, it’s successful.

3) Billboard advertising is the only media that we haven’t learned how to block out. Yet.

4) Social networks are developed and filled with organized influencers.

5) Customer service is the weak point of a company.

6) Why bother with a homepage?

7) Less than 10% of people believe what they read in traditional media.

8 ) When a company makes a customer service error all people want to hear is “I’m sorry. This is not indicative of how our company runs.”

9) 2011 – The predicted year that internet ad spending will overtake ad spending in all other media. A good example is Fosters, the Australian beer. They say that 100% of their advertising budget is in internet ad spending (p.s. some may disagree that Fosters is actually beer).

10) Be painfully open, honest and transparent.

11) Write about what you are passionate about, not about your business, people don’t care about your business objective. Butler Sheet Metal has a blog titled The Tin Basher. It has nothing to do about the business and everything to do about the people that work there. Since its inception business has increased 5-fold and the stats on the blog are pretty impressive. You know, for a blog about sheet metal workers.

12) Traditional media: Production is the end point. Social media: Production is the beginning.

13) There are three keys to a social network:

  • Profile – this adds personality
  • Friends – access to my information is the currency of our relationship
  • Groups – adds a sense of belonging through a common interest that is no longer defined by geography

14) There is an illusion that every topic already exists on the internet.

15) Regarding social networks – “People are not running away from creeps and pedophiles; they are running away from marketers.”

16) Work backwards. The first thing you need to figure out is what it is that you are trying to accomplish and then figure out what tool will help you accomplish those goals.

17) Did I mention that you need to be painfully open, honest and transparent?

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