I just made a presentation to business and marketing students from across Ontario at the Queen’s Marketing Association Conference.

My topic: How to get Social Media Smart. My thesis was simple: You’re into marketing. You want to work in marketing. Social Media Marketing is huge and growing and if you’re not already active in this space you’d better get there fast.

Before I get to my seven tips on How to Get Social Media Smart, a few quick observations…

  • While these university students get social media, their experience is largely limited to Facebook, YouTube and reading blogs. Only a couple wrote their own blogs. Most didn’t know much about Twitter or LinkedIn; few used social bookmarking tools or feed readers.
  • The exception was one guy who put up his hand for everything — he blogs, he Twitters and Jaikus, he uses feed readers and social bookmarking. If I were hiring for a marketing job, he’s he guy I would want.
  • They also told me that Facebook is still gaining in popularity on campus. It’s easy to get stuck in our tech geek bubble where Facebook is, like, so 2007, but it’s worth remembering that Facebook is still, by far, the No. 1 social network in Canada. Marketers who don’t have a Facebook strategy are behind the 8-ball.

That said, I offered them seven tips on How to Get Social Media Smart. Here they are:

  1. Join another social network. Facebook isn’t enough. Try LinkedIn or Twitter, or another social network.
  2. Read blogs, lots of blogs.
  3. Listen to podcasts. My favourites include Marketing over Coffee, For Immediate Release and Six Pixels of Separation. (Come to think of it, I’m probably somewhat indebted to Mitch Joel of Six Pixels for this list; he did a similar list in his New Year’s Show).
  4. Join the conversation. Don’t just lurk. Blog, microblog, post comments on blogs, leave comments on podcasts.
  5. Use a feed reader. (I use Google Reader.)
  6. Use a social bookmarking tool. (I use del.icio.us.)
  7. Manage your own online brand. Google yourself. Try to develop a consistent online persona. And remember that everything you post online (even in a closed community like Facebook) can live on forever.