There are many social media users and businesses delving in to social media that don't exactly "get it". There seems this idea that big is better than lean. I'm not talking about men on magazine covers here, I'm talking about the idea that quantity beats quality. It is often hard to grasp how an Facebook fan count or Twitter followship of 1 million people does not result in sales while a smaller company with only a small percentage of fans/followers who are engaged are driving market share, sales, higher customer lifetime values, referrals, and the list goes on.
In order to lay some ground rules for being successful using social media, I have put together 10 commandments that will ensure users and businesses alike can reap the rewards of successful social media efforts.
1. Thou shalt share, not tell. When organizations use social media they often hope to get their consumers and audience to "like" them or "fan" them, but do this in an organic and relevant way with your fans.
2. Thou shalt add always value. Many organizations have not grasped the idea that you have to constantly and consistently add value to your audience or they will go the way of the dinosaur, EXTINCT!
3. Thou shalt participate in conversations, not chains. Many organizations still operate by Porter's Value Chain model, where Z follows Y, which follows X. These linear models optimized efficient delivery of a known thing. But this doesn't help us when faster, fluid responses are what we need (Thanks @nilofer)
4. Thou shalt pay it forward. When somebody adds value to you or your brand, return the favor to them by giving them a shout-out.
5. Thou shalt be S.O.C.I.A.L. This means be sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic and likeable (Thanks @ValaAfshar)
6. Thou shalt follow the #etiquette of each social network. Always use the appropriate speak that is relevant to the social network you are using. #BeerBongFriday might not fly or resonate with an audience on LinkedIn. See @ChrisBrogan's Guide to Social Media Etiquette)
7. Thou shalt produce relevant content. Produce content that your audience finds useful and want to share it because it is useful to others.
8. Thou shalt not sell. Social media is social. People use it to relate to one another and just like you wouldn’t walk into a party and start pitching your wares, you shouldn’t hard-sell on social media, either. Develop brand advocate and they will sell for you.
9. Thou shalt listen before speaking. You start your social media adventure by listening first. Find out what your customers and others might be saying about you online. Tools like HootSuite allow you to listen across multiple social networks and integrate with Google Alerts to monitor what is being said.
10. Thou shalt react but don’t overreact. If you see something posted about your company online that you don’t like, feel free to respond. But don’t get overly emotional about it, and don’t fire back. Respond with basic facts and a real desire to solve the customer’s problems.