The 3 Giants of Social Media And Their Most Important Teachings


I don’t mind telling you that one day I would like to achieve the ‘giant of social media’ accolade that 3 of my online heroes have – Jeff Bullas, Mari Smith and Guy KawasakiOf course I would. I am at the time of my life now where my children have all but one grown up and fled the nest, and I can give my (almost – my husband seems to be staying put) undivided attention to my work.

The life of a social media marketer/influencer/guru is a funny old game. Online, and in the realms of social networking, these people are like gods. They are A-list celebrities that the likes of my colleagues and me revere as much as my daughter does David Beckham… but to the rest of the world, their names are as meaningless as, well, my husband’s.

But this is a truth, I suppose, of nearly all disciplines. I suspect that if I made my living selling house insurance then there would be a Jeff Bullas of that world, too. If I were a traffic cop, then I’d be as completely star struck by the Mari Smith equivalent in that game when she pulled me over. And if I was at law school, then I’m sure I’d despise it as much as Guy Kawaski did when he was there.

All disciplines have their front-runners, their key influencers, their great thinkers. I have my own thoughts, my own influence, and my own fan base – but, as yet, my presence is nothing compared to what these 3 giants have.

And there’s good reason for this. I don’t believe in self-effacing – there’s nothing wrong in recognising what we’re good at and playing to our strengths (or, as Guy Kawasaki says: “If you don’t toot your own horn, don’t complain that there’s no music”) – but the knowledge of these people far surpasses my own at present.

I am one of their most dedicated disciples, however, and I must admit that I try and read everything that they have to say. And my job as someone whose gigantism is still on the rise, as it were, is to take in all the wisdom, process it, extrapolate it, and then add to it in my own writings. And if I can do that, then it will be the next generation’s turn to do the same with my output – and on and on it will go, the depth of knowledge thickening with each new cohort of social media experts – and it will all be recorded forever online. My goodness, I love the internet!

Ok, so here are my favourite teachings from my 3 favourite teachers. I hope they inspire you as much as they have and do me.


Jeff Bullas

“Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play. This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.”

“Finding inspiration and your creative side comes from within and without. Read a lot, watch what other top bloggers do and steal their ideas. Picasso, David Bowie and Steve Jobs did.

“Persist and you will become creative.

  1. Always think: How can I put a new twist on an important idea?
  2. Essay form is effective for business blogging, but a great story is even better.
  3. When you borrow an idea or gain inspiration from it, give credit (and a link) to the source.
  4. Find your groove for brainstorming topics, whether it’s in your kitchen at 6 AM or throwing ideas around with a buddy after work.
  5. Customer FAQs are a treasure trove of topic ideas.
  6. Never cheat the reader by giving a pointless post a provocative title.
  7. Strive toward finding your real voice and thematic niche, but don’t feel as though you have to accomplish these things in a matter of weeks or even months.
  8. Rather than fretting about hitting a particular word count, say what you have to say and then stop creating.”


Mari Smith

“Engagement doesn’t pay the bills. Be strategic: get the leads and convert the leads to paying customers.”

“A large part of this relationship marketing concept is allowing yourself to be a little bit vulnerable and let people in.”

“Content is king, but engagement is queen, and she rules the house!”


Guy Kawasaki

“Simple and to the point is always the best way to get your point across.”

“Do not write to impress others. Authors who write to impress people have difficulty remaining true to themselves. A better path is to write what pleases you and pray that there are others like you. Your first and most important reader is you. If you write a book that pleases you, at least you know one person will like it.”

“Go APE: Author a great book, Publish it quickly, and Entrepreneur your way to success. Self-publishing isn’t easy, but it’s fun and sometimes even lucrative. Plus, your book could change the world.”

“Do you know what the difference is between PR and advertising? Advertising is when you say how great you are. PR is when other people say how great you are. PR is better.”

Amen, Guy. I for one say you’re great – but what do the rest of you think? Who’s your greatest influencer, and what is your favourite thing that they’ve had to say? Let us know below. 

  • Thank you for sharing your best kept secrets! Now on to stalking these experts!

  • Thank you kindly, Kerry! 🙂 xx

  • John Sorensen

    Thanks for the article, I enjoyed it.

  • Thanks for reading John 🙂

  • Thank *you* Marie 🙂

  • Haha 🙂 They’re worth it Brittany! Thanks for reading.

  • Shyam Chander

    This is really worth reading Kes! It’s really helpful for my new job as a “Twitter Strategist”!

  • Simone Picone

    Wonderful insights, very inspiring

  • Reimund Noll

    But still they are business people and will never reach the sphere of famous artists. Sorry. 🙂

  • Kristine Allcroft

    One of my favs that’s not on the list: Mark Schaefer – Love what he writes, and well, I’ve met him face to face so I’m kind of biased. He’s gracious, warm, funny and smart. But as far as his writing goes: he has that amazing quality I call prescience – the ability to look into his digital crystal ball and see what’s coming with accuracy of perception that keeps his writing fresh.

  • Tony Thijs

    Kerry, you might add one wisecrack, don’t underestimate what you can mean to others. Not as much as from an ego point of view, but business wise.
    Sure, Mari, Guy, Jeff and others produce a lot of wisdom, but recondensing that wisdom targeted at concrete customer cases is for your and mine customers just as important.
    And, allow me making that compliment, you’re doing a great job in condensing all that wisdom!

  • Kristy Shangpliang

    Totally agree! automated DM don’t impress me at all 🙂