Ten Commandments of Social Media Marketing

Posted by in Social Media & Online PR on August 16th, 2007 32 Comments

Top Ten lists, while there certainly seems a glut of them recently, they are never going to go away. They’ve been with us since biblical times.

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if you don’t know the rules, how you gonna win- via flickr

When it comes to top ten lists go the [tag]Ten Commandments[/tag] are the grand daddy. Being a fanatical devotee to social media marketing, I wondered if I could sum up all I’d learnt into a similarly effective rhetorical list.

[tag]Ten Commandments of Social Media Marketing[/tag]

Thou Shalt be Honest – it’s a pretty good maxim to live by in all areas of life but it s particularly true online. If you’re telling a lie or trying to pull a fast one, you will always get caught out. Bad news travels fast, so any lies you do tell are certain to come back to haunt you.

Thou Shalt Participate – it’s vital you are part of the community and conversation. Traditional media was like standing in a room full of people with a megaphone shouting your message and social media is like being at a party with everyone talking. You’re only going to get your message across if you take the time to talk to people on their level.

Thou Shalt Sacrifice Control – social media must be a nightmare for control freaks used to getting their own way with conventional media. You’ve got to be prepared to let go and embrace what happens. If you create an advert don’t worry if someone uploads a parody to YouTube; it enhances the impact your original ad had. You can’t steer social media and if you try you’ll only end up disappointed.

Thou Shalt be Helpful – you can’t be selfish in the web2.0 world of social media. If you are a Blogger link out to people and they’ll link back. Make something useful for other people even if it might not be that valuable to you. The more you giveaway the more you’ll get back in goodwill, mind share and ultimately revenue.

Thou Shalt Encourage Creativity – there’s no rules yet in social media marketing, so it’s your opportunity to be really creative. Try lots of ideas, many may fail, but some will overwhelm you with their success. And don’t hog the metaphorical microphone, let all your team get involved, from your most junior member of staff all the way to your CEO. If they all have something useful to add to the conversation, you can help give them the platform to say it.

Thou Shalt Not Get Too Big For Thou’s Boots – a few front pages on digg and it’s easy to get carried away and think you’re an internet marketing superstar. Arrogance is never an attractive quality. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and you’re marketing will always work better.

Thou Shall Take Risks – None of us know what the next big thing is going to be and if we did we’d probably be working in venture capital not search engine & social media marketing. Take a chance on new platforms and technologies. Once in a while you’ll get your fingers burned, but you’ll always be one step ahead of your competitors.

Thou Shalt Have an Opinion – if you are scared to voice your point of view you will struggle to get anyone to listen to you. There’s a level of professionalism we should all strive for but it’s a lot lower than you might think!

Thou Shalt Enjoy It – [tag]social media marketing[/tag] only works when you believe in the product and you enjoy participating, if you don’t appreciate the process you won’t value the outcome.


Though Shalt Learn to Count to Ten – As spotted by Geoff I actually only had nine commandments. I wish I could pretend it was a subtle nod to the debate over top ten lists over at sphinn, when actually I missed one out when pasting from Word to WordPress! The final commandment was actually Though Shalt Measure Your Impact which is hugely important as with out thorough statistical analysis you will never be able to understand your success.

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