Public relations agencies and companies learn a lot from social media. They don’t just market on social media.

And by learn, I mean, get their news and information. If you are following or have friended the right set of people on social, then it’s possible that you are all sharing news and information about products, services, trends, politics, and learning from one another. Of course as an agency or company marketer, you give a lot of yourself to promoting goods and services on social. But, you cannot only get the goods from Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Have you thought about what you can give and get outside of a Group?

Though, I don’t know what to call this new kind of news and information hub, it is quite compelling. I’m following people on Twitter and am friends with those on Facebook and LinkedIn who have keyed me into emerging enterprise software trends, provided an inside look at a crisis situation, shared how a company went from this to that, and more. I have posted items from Flipboard to social, from Google to social, from iPhone Apps to social, which I knew my network would learn from.

And it’s not about me.

When a person shares content onto a social network – even likes another person’s post – that “status” is made public to the network – but it’s so not about me posting the item. It’s about the item. While I’m careful not to share any political views to a business audience or business views to my family, etc., I am not always purposely promoting a particular item to fill my agenda. Most posts are for the sheer benefit of the community that I am in. Others may not feel the same.

There is no either or.

The most important task is to be who you are on social, post to share, and build trust first within your communities. If you accomplish this task, then an occasional commercial post will surface as appropriate vs. blatant self-promotion.

Spread it out.

I think that too many people have too few social media network accounts. Do not assume that all of your followers on Twitter are into your one feed. I have five active Twitter accounts. Sound crazy? Not at all. How many email addresses do you have? Most people have at least six. Take the same approach with social. Create a presence from the different audiences you are speaking to and with. On Facebook, you have the luxury of creating different “Favorites” Lists. In one click, I can see what my entire family is posting, those on Facebook. I also have lists for “Personal Friends,” “Clients,” you get the point. My Auntie D. doesn’t need to see what I posted about the future of the “Internet of Things” to my business audience.

Push and pull conversations.

People are over opinionated on social, and that’s good. I share my opinions too. The more dialog I get into, the more I learn. I even pondered why a particular discussion was happening and asked for clarity on an issue. While my friends and family may not be any more correct than a Wikipedia post, I appreciate their point of views and opening up of my mind. I don’t argue nor swear on social. That serves no purpose. I carefully weigh responses and engage smartly, if I have a point to contribute.

So, hear ye, hear ye, go get your news and information on social media.