Don't use ads to prop up boring content. Use ads to accelerate successful content.
Always be honest and trustworthy, in everything you say and do.
People care what you had for breakfast—if you're a food brand.
Forget individuals. You're creating content that encourages groups to form.
Never tweet just the headline of a story. Be creative and give people a reason to click.
Everyone says they don't want to be marketed to. Really, they just don't want to be talked down to. Read More >
Hire a good writer so your brand has a distinct voice and personality on social sites.
Stop using exclamation points in every post. Unless you genuinely scream uncontrollably at cocktail parties.
"NEVER USE ALL CAP LOCKS" in tweets or Facebook, use your indoor voice in the world of social media.
Don't tweet about everything, tweet about what you know best.
Not everyone can be "trained" to create interesting tweets — it takes personality to tweet personality.
You should worry about all those who don't complain and simply go away mad!
People are going to talk about your brand. Can you afford to NOT participate in that conversation?
Sticky customer issues are sometimes best to take offline and resolve via more traditional channels, i.e. email, telephone, etc.
A tweet must be answered, no less than a ringing phone must be.
Social media engagement has to be an everyday routine. The keyword is "engagement"
If all you do is respond to complaints, that's all people will send you.
Open your fridge...how many of those brands do you really have time to have a relationship with?
Just tweeting or posting stuff is neither connecting nor engaging.
People are fickle, change their mind often, and don't usually do what you want them to do.
A small act of appreciation (on a brands part) will go a long way to the person who receives it
ON FOLLOWS AND FANS
Asking me to follow you on Twitter guarantees I won't. Read More >
Spend a little time getting to know each new follower and what they are interested in.
People love to feel that they are special. Make followers and those who interact with you feel like they are getting inside access.
Don't buy Twitter followers; it tarnishes your authenticity. http://ow.ly/cPcL1
Follow liberally. You never know who will lead you to discover something unique or important.
#SMR: Never buy fans for followers. Genuine users will find you genuinely pathetic.
Follow people who have something worth saying...then follow the people they follow.
Treat your followers like you'd treat your friends, not like numbers.
Having a LinkedIn and Facebook profile does not make one a Social Media expert.
People always matter most. Social tools enable and enhance our lives, but our lives don't exist in technology.
Cooperation is the most important attribute of any successful social media engagement.
Don't worry about tools - the two most important ones are always with you, your head and your heart.
Reach without influence is useless and irrelevant like that direct mail piece in your mailbox.
ON PROCESS AND GOALS
Be creative and spontaneous. Every mistake (if used creatively) can become an opportunity.
Rules are great but all aren't applicable to you. Test rules out to see what works for best results.
Social media doesn't exist in a vacuum. Make traditional media and social work together.
Solve problems for people who talk about you, even if they don't address you.
Don't focus on numbers (fans, followers, likes, etc.) focus on real conversations.
Consistency is critical. Don't expect results if you're not regularly putting forth an effort.
Social media should be part of the upfront planning, not an after-thought.
If fans distribute your content without your permission, offer to help.
Contests and sweepstakes are fine, if you want to encourage short relationships. Read More >
It's okay to drive people to your site instead of Facebook's.
Only way to figure out what works on social media is to try it.
Would you measure the ROI of your conversation with your friends?
If you're bored by social media, it's because you're trying to get more value than you create. Read More >
Automatic Facebook and Twitter posts do the opposite of their intent: they drive audience away. Disable it.
If you contribute content to a product for free, you are the product.
For restaurant's customer service there is no better tool than YELP.
For the love of god, stop regurgitweeting the same message you blasted on FB five seconds ago
Don't try to be everything to everyone unless you want them to ignore you.
Show the real people behind your brand, and have a sense of humor.
Thou shalt set up Google alerts for both your brand and your domain.
Different #socialmedia platforms lend themselves to different strategies.
If you are active in social media, you don't need to say so in your social media bio. That's like having a bumper sticker on your car that says "I drive a car."
*Some of these rules were distilled from interviews as part of our September 2012 Social Media Roadmap issue.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.