The Godfather trilogy is an all-time classic. And for good reason. It deals with intimate aspects of life that affect us all, from family to business.

When it comes to the latter, there are some morsels of wisdom that can be applied to the business of social media. Here are five worth considering the next time you need the Don’s advice.

“The richest man is the one with the most powerful friends.”

Relationships and influence are currency in the world of social media. While both may be hard to quantify and control, brands should not underestimate what the right ‘friends‘ can do for them in the realm of social media. From this perspective, brands should also remember that social media is not about ‘friending‘ the most consumers; in social media less is often more.

“They talk when they should listen.”

Never before have brands been given the opportunity to collect so much direct and honest feedback from customers. Yet many still focus on spreading their messages rather than using the internet and social media to listen to what consumers are saying. That’s a huge mistake.

“Times have changed. It’s not like the Old Days, when we can do anything we want.”

While there’s a lot of hype and hyperbole around social media, more than a few brands have learned the hard way that social media can drive heavy scrutiny of corporate activities and practices. Because of this, smart brands will recognize that it’s not always possible to get away with the things that were easy to get away with in the past.

“Your enemies always get strong on what you leave behind.”

Companies shouldn’t adopt trendy new social media tools just for the sake of adoption. Perhaps the latest social media flavor of the month truly isn’t a good fit. Yet brands should be aware that a strong overall social media presence can be a valuable business asset. That means that brands ignoring social media are ceding a potentially powerful advantage to their competitors.

“I got a business to run. I gotta kick asses sometimes to make it run right.”

Social media can do a lot of things for companies, but they shouldn’t become so enamored with the touchy-feely aspects of social media that they forget that they are businesses first and foremost. Sometimes this means standing up and defending themselves against social media criticism.

Photo credit: @labnol via Flickr.