The “Duh!” Factor in Social Media Success: A Review of Paul Gillin’s “Secrets of Social Media Marketing”

November 30th, 2009   •   4 comments   

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I don’t know Paul Gillin but I love him already. I just finished reading his newest book “Secrets of Social Media Marketing” and to say this is a “review” would not do it any justice at all so how about we just say here are my favorite points he covers in a book every marketer and CEO should have on their priority reading list. First, just a few things about why I love it: He is a great, straight-forward writer/thinker and doesn’t bore you. Second, he writes in first person and I love that—“write like you talk” (duh?). Thirdly, he supports comprehensive information he shares with real-life corporate and business examples.  This book is not hype or fluff, but real, good information supported by real people in real companies.  Finally, this book defines the primary social networks, tools, and resources—so many I’ll skip including the technical information here but if you want “definitions” and explanations, they are all in here.
Vastness and complexity made simple, I found myself writing “duh” in the margins of this book.  Here are some of my favorite points and why everyone interested in social media marketing success should read this book:

  • Social Media (SM) is all about people sharing opinions in blunt terms but don’t take it personally
  • Don’t fear negativity-use SM to engage, boost awareness and improve
  • Thanks to SM, negative stories can die as fast as they spring up
  • Most companies have happy customers
  • Here’s a good quote: “If your products suck and your customers hate you, you probably have good reason to fear negativity”
  • Frontline personnel should be empowered but also trained
  • Ad spending trends are clear…what happens when current generation of teens moves into our workforce? Change will kick in!
  • SM campaigns are cheap, Metrics are still immature, many CEOs are still in the old-school of traditional marketing/ads
  • SM is about having goals, strategies, and working backwards, making choices, keeping it simple (duh!)
  • “The best technology is usually not the best choice”
  • Companies can learn to apply technology to well-understood internal problems and then go “public” when they have bugs worked out
  • Embrace niche markets…In SM, small = beautiful
  • Empower your trained talent to speak for your company
  • A good blogger is: passionate, sharing, goal oriented, humorous, ambitious, receptive to feedback
  • Don’t blog if: you are a control freak, not receptive to criticism, not committed long term/big picture
  • Too often large companies fear legal and Wall Street and miss opportunities to cash in by communicating. Relax! SM is about communication and using conversations to embrace feedback, respond, gain trust, improve image=profits (duh?)
  • Corporate culture = People
  • You can’t use Lawyers as your “front people” (don’t say it)
  • SM gives us “Influence Marketing”
  • Southwest Airlines’ CEO Gary Kelly used his blog to get customer feedback to execute profit enhancing strategies for the airline
  • Blogs are your best bet for controlling and leading conversations but they aren’t for everyone (this book spells it out for anyone who wants to blog)
  • Types of blogs: CEO, Executive, Group, Company Platform, Topical, Advocacy, Promotional
  • Secrets of blog success: Succint, Transparent, Responsive, Accepting, Insightful, Genuine, Humorous, Timely
  • “The CEO takes a disciplined approach to his task”
  • Words now are more powerful than they have ever been
  • If you are a brand that needs to market on MySpace, get a kid to help you (don’t you just wanna say “duh”?)
  • Southwest’s Gary Kelly used LinkedIn to post a question. He got 167 answers in a week
  • Advertisers on LinkedIn include: Dell, Microsoft, HP, Porsche, BrooksBrothers and BMW
  • Use YouTube to archive dated commercials: Anheuser-Busch archived its 2007 Super Bowl TV ads there and had more than 22 million downloads in a few days. How much is that worth?
  • Twitter is “real time word of mouth” and a lifeline to connecting with Influencers
  • Be a “Niche Innovator”: Find as many outlets possible for content, RSS feeds, etc. Point customers to your information online, be good at what you do and leverage that everywhere
  • Online conversation monitoring yields great insight in lots of segments—Smart businesses are listening!
  • Approach customers as peers NOT acquisition targets (go ahead-say it!)
  • “Ditch the Pitch”! Engage, don’t sell.
  • SM gives us efficient communications in mass with customers so “we no longer have to compress a message into sound bites constrained by economics” (ads?)
  • SM is about conversations which are about being respectful
  • Forget using: “state of the art”, “leading edge”  These superlatives are ambiguous, embarrassing in SM
  • Be intuitive about content, key words are key for a reason. SEO is huge; Find topics that inspire passion!
  • Google is the “Great Equalizer”
  • GM has used SM to “reinvigorate” its image
  • Don’t be so busy with process that you forget what the story is all about. Use SM to tell your story ( I LOVE THIS by the way)
  • Cross-link everywhere. Bloggers call it “Link Love”
  • Use video but keep it short. Use pictures and images
  • Homemade is authentic. Good “viral” examples have been cheaply produced
  • No one has figured out a formula for ‘going viral’-don’t even try
  • Contests are some of the riskiest/most time consuming tactics
  • Online Promo Secrets: write for search, update often, file site map, use tags, “love link” syndicate everywhere, bookmark

And that my friends summarizes why I love Paul Gillin.  Enjoy and keep talking.


  1. Naomi Trower says:

    I really love the point of "Don’t Blog If" not receptive to constructive criticism, influence marketing and niche innovator. I get so many emails a day just telling me that they love my niche "Social Media Marketing for Real Estate Professionals". I’m glad they like it because I LOVE IT! 🙂

  2. Ken Mueller says:

    Thanks for this post. I now I have another book to put on my Christmas list!

  3. Paul Gillin says:

    Wow, I’m so flattered! Thanks for your kind words and recommendation. I’ll be pleased to post a link on the book site and I hope we get a chance to meet at some point. The greatest compliment I ever hope to receive is to hear that someone found my work approachable and understandable. It sounds like that was the case with you. I’m so grateful for your nice review.

  4. Anna Cummins says:

    I appreciate your post. Very clear & honest.
    I too love Paul Gillin.
    Must go now to talk to the world about your post. 😉

    Thank you.


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