Social Media Marketing- The 10 Commandments of Social Media Marketing

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I know.

Comparing THE 10 Commandments to Social Media could be considered a bit of a stretch as I am a HUGE fan of THE 10 Commandments from the Good Book.

But WHAT IF- you could take a look at Social Media marketing and say,“Ok, if there WERE 10 Commandments, what would they be?” And let’s get creative here, and see what we can come up with that would make sense to the masses. Now again, this is PURELY an exercise of social media creativity along with some heavy duty research, but lets see what we can come up with.

Our team has been researching the past 5 months over 250 popular social sites, which also included news and personal blog sites,  such as,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ,,,,  and many other sites that are too numerous to list here. We wanted to see what each were saying about Social Media. We have looked at the posts they have that were applicable, (most of them I have read before) and compared each post with commonalities of all of the rest of the posts on all the other sites.

We found some interesting things.

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There were HUGE commonalities in a lot of the posts. We kept spreadsheets to see the common threads as far as word count, phrase usage, idea focus, tactic suggestions, applications mentioned, news items, story lines,  new software,  Social focus, among many other factors. We even looked at the keywords used on all the sites and what posts were showing up on the search engines, and what posts were most linked to. (We had help of course from a lot of folks for this project.)

Then we listened to what seemed like endless podcasts, and took notes on the talking points, as well as watched endless videos explaining social media, and put that data in the spreadsheets as well.

Then we looked at what was contained on the social sites themselves, like, facebook,,,,,as well as many other social sites. We compared the trainings on social media with what we found on a lot of these other blogs, podcasts, and videos. Then we looked at the Search Engines (Google, yahoo, MSN, and It was really eye opening as there were some things that I saw that I was not aware of that people were writing about.

Then we put it all together and looked at the summary of the research, and saw a pattern that was quite evident in the data. We saw that there were what we call the 10 “Commandments,” “Focuses,” or “Concepts” that absolutely ran across the whole social media spectrum in some format or way- constant-and continuous by just about everyone that we researched. This gave us a starting platform that we felt was accurate- and scalable- to write from, with these  ”Commandments.”

What are Commandments? They are not “suggestions.” These are MUST DOs in order to obtain a result or a position in the social media zone that you desire. In Social Media, most people want to create certain results in their efforts that can either be profitable, brand -able, or just enjoyable. These 10 things that we found in our research will help guide you and direct you to a stronger and more powerful social media experience or even more powerful results in your marketing.

NOTE: Social Media is NOT limited to the following 10 Concepts. But these are the 10 things that after researching, showed up stronger and more often in our data than any other concepts , ideas, or “Commandments” we found. These are what were talked about the most, focused on the most, and agreed on the most as critical for social media success for the average person.

Here they are:

1) Thou Shalt know that Social Media is not just about CONNECTION – but the Connection Network.

 In Social Media, it is said to be all about CONNECTION- but in Social Media Marketing, it is more about what is CONNECTED to that Connection. It is called the Social Network. And that Network has proven to be Golden with many respects. This Social Network can open up doors and introductions for marketers, bloggers, and social participants to a vast group of people that were never available to them before. But of course, the quality of the Network is a factor as well.

It IS about CONNECTION- but more also about the Social Network the person you are connecting to has behind them. Consider every Social Connection a potential doorway. It’s what lies behind the door that makes Social Media work. The True Value for Marketing is what lies behind that door.

That is what drives the enormous numbers behind Social Media- the Second Layer of Connection that exists with people.

2) Thou shalt know that Conversation is the platform that all social media rests upon.

 Whether it is called “Cafe Conversations,” or “Capsule Conversations,” Conversations are critical in Social Media. And that includes Talking AND Listening. You talk to folks in many ways, including blogging, tweets, writing on walls, personal videos, direct messages, joining in a conversation on a micro blog like tumblr, as well as social email and “audio utterz.”

But you LISTEN as well. You do this with tools that are available with many Social sites. You can listen to twitter with “twitter search.” You can search what people are talking about with many applications, including Twhirl and Tweetdeck. You can also use social search engines as well to Listen to what is being said. And you can also hire great companies that do that for you, like Radian6. But Conversation is about BOTH Talking and Listening. You MUST know what is being said out in the social sphere.

And here is a tip: Make the person GLAD THEY TALKED WITH YOU. Make them the star of your conversation- not your ego. There are way too many one sided conversations out in Social Media. Keep the conversation focused on who you are ‘talking” to and encourage them, as well as guide them to larger possibilities.

Change the Size of their Conversations and you will change their life.

3) Thou Shalt know that VALUE is the Magnet in Social media, and reigns supremely.

 Value is King in Social Media. But not just average Value or expected Value. I am talking about Unexpected Surprising Value. Value that is so much that people talk about it and virally market it like crazy. This is how a new “buzz” starts. By creating a Huge Value with a blog post, free giveaways, new ideas, new software applications, discovery of little known information , news stories, and “how to’s” and the list is almost endless of the Value you can bring.

The amount of Value you bring to Social Media will always equal the amount of Impact you have with people. And that Impact either moves people TOWARDS you, or keeps them where they are. Either they become your friend and “follow you,” or they do not see any reason to. That is up to the Value they perceive in what you send out as your message and intentions.

4) Thou Shalt Know the Three R’s of Social Media.

Social Media is pretty simple. It is mainly about 3 things:

Reaching Out.   This is critical to Reach Out  to people and let them know you want to Connect and befriend them.

Relationships.   Once you have Reached Out, you start building a Relationship of Trust and Value.

Respect.   Respect in Social Media is earned, not just given. And you earn that Respect with consistent and powerful content with Value, great conversations that move folks, Integrity and ethics above all, encouraging others, offering solutions, and helping people to larger and more powerful possibilities in their life and business.

 5) Thou Shalt BRAND Your Message, Product, and Yourself Consistently, Visibly, and Uniquely.

 Everyone talks Branding as that is a must to do in Social Media. But here is where it can get tricky. You brand multiple things all at once. YOU are the brand- sort of. The first thing you need to brand is your Image and who you are, and you do this with a picture or avatar of yourself that shows who you are on your profile. This can also include a corporate logo for a company as well. Chris Brogan has branded a picture of who he is on his blog. The second thing you need to brand is your Message. This is what you want to become known for, and people think about when they think of you. Scott Monty has branded Ford Motors as part of his brand effectively and powerfully. The third thing you want to brand is your product and what Value it has that makes it UNIQUE and One of a kind. The product can be information that you market, actual products that are shipped out, services like consulting or accounting, or any other type of product that you have to market that people will see a need for.

All a Brand is, is Image + Message + Impact + Consistent Visibility = Perception. 

Your Image is what people SEE in their minds, Message is what people HEAR in their memory, Impact is what people FEEL in their hearts, and Visibility is what reminds people that you are there. Perception then becomes your Brand.

And here is what we have taught for nearly 20 years: Branding is not about just being remembered, or becoming known. It is about becoming totally UNFORGETTABLE. ™ THAT is a powerful brand.

6) Thou shalt Expand your Experience Through Social Site Applications.

 Applications are developed softare and are what Social Sites have available that make your experience more fun, useful, and productive. The most applications are generally found on the most active sites and usually are free. Twtter has over 150 applications, facebook has hundreds of applications, as well as many other Social sites out there. Many applications are very useful and written by outside people for the Social sites.

Learn what applications are available on each site that you are a part of, and choose the ones that you believe will work for you the best and increase your exposure, conversations, and productivity.

7) Thou Shalt GIVE freely, and be willing to Lose Control of your Information.

 Giving is what Social Media is all about. Many folks are talking about ‘Influence” and what it takes to create it in Social Media. That one is simple: GIVE.

GIVE stands for “Gain Influence Very Easily.” And when you give, and then give some more, the power of Influence that develops is amazing.

And losing control of your information is part of it as well. Most folks want to CONTROL their information, their marketing strategies, as well as their results. That is part of traditional marketing. But what if you could blend traditional with the non- traditional? Let some of your information go. Give it away freely and let it be virally marketed by others. Give a free ebook away. Give a free mp3 away. Give a free product away. Give a free download away. Give some of your best content away free.  Control the rest. See what happens with both sides of the equation- controlled and Social Media. You will like what you find in the Social Media side.

The New Marketing Stars of tomorrow in Social Media will not come from those who are great marketers, but from those who have a LOT of people marketing FOR THEM- without asking them to. Would that be called Marketing Nirvana? That would be close to it. Be willing to Lose Control, and Gain a Massive Advantage.

8) Thou Shalt Build Relationships that are based on a Platform of TRUST.

 Relationships are the building blocks of Social Media. Trust is the Concrete. You must build powerful relationships with people to market to them. But a wall that is built with bricks and no concrete will fall with the first strong wind.

Build TRUST and do it everyday. Be honest. Be a person of integrity. Be a person that people can feel good about and know you are there to help enlarge their life. Be a Leader that people are willing to follow. And build Trust in your message, actions, conversations, branding, videos, blog posts, and any other form of exposure that you take in Social Media.

The Rule of TRUST: Relationships are the tiles for the platform of Social Media. Trust is the glue.

9) Thou Shalt become Tribal, and enroll in groups, attend events, and empower the Community.

 There is a reason it is called SOCIAL Media. being part of what is called a “tribe” or community is what Social Media is about. This is one of the CORE powers of web 2.0

Connecting, Relating, Reaching, and Conversations are ALL a part of building a Community in Social Media, as well as “Niche sites’ that can be that much more tribal. What you have in common with people helps build the Community.

What you bring to the table to grow that community is GOLD.

10) Thou Shalt Have a Host Mentality with a Permission Focus.

In Social Media, it is much like a party you hold in your living room. I did a post on that a while back called “Social Media is your Living Room.” If you were in your living room, you would be playing HOST and inviting people in, talking with them, being social, making recommendations and giving advice, showing photgraphs off or watching videos, and introducing the crowd to each other. That is much what Social Media is about- HOSTING.

With a small twist. You need to ASK PERMISSION to give them advice and make recommendations, as well as introduce them to the others in your living room. That is not hard to do. And if you have permission to do this, it is much easier to get them Comfortable with you, Connected with you, holding a Conversation with you, if it feels like your Living Room.

Play the Host, and ask Permission. That is being Powerful and Polite at the same time.

These are the 10 Commandments for Social Media Marketing. Yes, there are more than these, but these are what came up with the hard data we had, and formed the basis of this post, to help you improve and understand more Social Media and Social Media Marketing.

blessings…doug firebaugh

(c) 2009/ all rights reserved

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Conversation Builds Customer Loyalty

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Doug Firebaugh
Doug Firebaugh is an in demand speaker, trainer, author, and successful entrepreneur that has, along with his wife Jodi, dedicated his life to helping people radically accelerate Success in their life. His training articles, blogs, and e-zines are read by more than one million people a month. He has helped over 10,000 people reach an annual income of more than $50,000 a year. His training products are shipped all over the world and he stays on the road every weekend teaching the Success Passion Message God has put in his heart. He is endorsed by Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, among many others and has shared the stage with a literal whose-who of the speaking industry, including Zig Ziglar, Jim Rohn, Mark Victor Hansen, Denis Waitley, Tommy Hopkins, Charlie “Tremendous” Jones, Les Brown, Brian Tracy, to name a few. A born again believer, Doug and Jodi give all the credit for any accomplishments to God. They live in Birmingham, Michigan.
Doug Firebaugh
Doug Firebaugh

12 thoughts on “Social Media Marketing- The 10 Commandments of Social Media Marketing

  1. What a great way to clearly and concisely explain the power, value and “rules” of Social Media.

    This post should be required reading for all of us who strive to incorporate Social Media into our marketing mix while making TRUE connections that convey a genuine care and concern for the other person.

    With technology being a great bridge to the entire world, it also have the power to alienate and divide if we are not aware of the “golden rules,” which after all can be applied to every area of our lives – but often we must be reminded that it is indeed NOT all about us!

    I’ll be sure to share this resource with my circle of friends!


    You are so welcome! It is NOT about us- but THEM- and what we can bring to the dance that will make thme wnat to dance with us some more. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Pingback: Twitter Tweets about social media marketing as of February 26, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  3. The most powerful insights seem most often to come with the impact of the blindingly obvious: “Well, of course!” But it is precisely that obviousness, it’s ubiquity that makes it so hard to identify or classify (fish discover water last).

    I am grateful. You have saved me from months or years of groping for guidelines, a mental map, that can differentiate those of us determined to make relationships the center of our focus versus those who devoted more to the results of “relationships.” Those for whom relationships are a means to an end, most often a “conversion” of some type. I don’t mean to say conversions or results don’t matter, they are where we get what we can spend. I want as many as I can get. The difference isn’t one of values. It’s focus.

    Am I getting this?

    If I’m right, both can be done with integrity, it seems to me, but from different temperaments. I suppose the key is to work in alignment with one’s temperament, one’s disposition. Consequently, I am relieved to have stumbled (actually twittered) across your gift, this synthesis of the “shared social media reality.” These insights help me to take my next steps more confidently. The terrain you’ve mapped offers the promise, or at least the prospect, of firm footing.

    Motive matters as much or more than technique. Sometimes being p–sed off is the only authentic response. We can exchange rants. Grief may be shared. Truth revealed perhaps just a smidgen more because the sum, our network within which we are embedded, is bigger than its parts. These commandments seem less prescriptive than enabling. Right action has a framework. It really is a world view.

    Thanks for giving. Can’t wait to pass it on.

    But you knew that. It’s blindingly obvious.

    Benjamin- I loved your note dude. Not what is SAID- but what it FEELS when you read it. Social Media is so obvious- and yes, you can have Results AND Relationships. But it is a fine balance and most do not fare well in that balance. These 10 Commandments are nothing more than a synthesis of what has been said 1000 times before, but with a twist. We all learn from each other, and this is a very simple process if you think about it. If we stick to these “Rules” I believe most people will have tremendous Social media Success no matter their reason for being on web 2.0 -ville. Thanks for your kind words and yes, motive is as important as technique. Again, it is a balance that Social media FORCES all of us to focus on and pay attention to-like it or not.

  4. Love this post! It’s up there with John Jantsch’s Social Media Pyramid as far as relevance and usefulness. Succinctly stated in plain English. Perfect guide for those who are new to or completely overwhelmed by social media. Will translate especially well to my niche, which is Christian non-profits. Bravo!

    Kris, thank you for your kind words! And Christian? Now THAT rocks! amen!!

  5. Hey Doug great info really enjoy your nuggets i really appreciate all that ive learned from you and all that you gave to our team and im using it everyday and im on track to see a high 6 figures if not 7 within the next 12 months thanks again for soaking me with leadership GOD bless

  6. Doug,

    Great blog post!

    I will say, if you ever heard Jerry Clark’s training on colors, I forget which color is the one of the person who is motivated by the facts and the data, but whatever color that is, you are most certainly that color my friend!

    Take care and God Bless!

  7. Pingback: Twitter Tweets about social media marketing as of March 1, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  8. Pingback: Twitter Tweets about social media marketing as of March 10, 2009 | The Lessnau Lounge

  9. Where do you find leads for your company? I only want to buy 10 at a time. I’m looking for people inrerested in a home based business. I want to take my business to the next level. I like working on the computer as well as the phone,but I’m tired of spinning wheels. I do not mind working hard,but I want to see results for my effort.

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