Today: Paul Gillin, a social media trainer and author of five books about online communities, including Social Marketing to the Business Customer (with Eric Schwartzman) and Secrets of Social Media Marketing. He can be found on Twitter as @pgillin:
"Being interesting" is the key to being successful as a social marketer, says Gillin.
"No matter what the industry or context, successful social marketers have the ability to create a unique persona and content stream that engages the audiences they want to reach," he says.
What skills are the most important in social marketing? "The ability to create and sustain meaningful relationships," says Gillin.
"That's more than just attracting followers and likes," he says. "It's about helping others by giving generously of your own time and expertise.
"Giving is essential to real-world relationships, and it's just as important to those that exist online."
And, just how important is social marketing as part of the marketing mix?
"Today it's important. In three to five years it will be essential," Gillin says.
"Marketing is becoming more targeted and personalized, thanks to data analysis and ubiquitous networks.
"People want to be treated as individuals, not demographic groups," he says. "This will continue to drive the need to listen to them and to serve their specific needs."
So, what do you think? How important will social marketing be in the future and what MUST graduating students know?
10 Experts Weigh In On Social Marketing
Social Marketing: Utility leads to success, says Google’s Avinash Kaushik
Social Marketing: 'The lighter fluid on the marketing bonfire,' says author Ric Dragon
Social Marketing: Understand how marketing fits in, says Amber Naslund of SideraWorks
Social Marketing: Reevaluate the traditional '4 Ps', says marketer Valerie Simon
Social Marketing: Understand engagement, says Deirdre Breakendridge of Pure Performance