The 15 commandments of social media marketing

Follow these edicts rendered unto thee, lest thou be smitten and a plague fall upon thine agency. (No kidding—these are smart ideas.)

When it comes to developing outstanding marketing strategies, you and your marketing partner should always remain “tactic and channel agnostic.” That means, don’t get married to any one communications vehicle.

Instead, use the medium or media that can best convey your brand to your core target audience and move them to take a desired action. Often, and ideally, this involves different tactics working in concert, including social media, to get the optimum result.

So what would Moses say about social media? I’ll channel my best Charlton Heston voice to offer the following 15 commandments as a (tongue-in-cheek) guide for staying on the righteous path.

1. Thou shalt confirm a clearly articulated and agreed upon brand, including clarity of target audiences in order of priority.

2. Thou shalt have agreed upon business goals before creating social media campaigns—so is the law.

3. Thou shalt first empower your internal audience to live thy brand and be thy brand ambassadors.

4. Thou shalt create brand-centric social media campaigns that emotionally connect to your core target audience, or thou shalt perish in the wilderness.

5. Thou shalt always be authentic, credible, and transparent.

6. Thou shalt not confuse a communications vehicle or tactic with a marketing strategy upon risk of stoning.

7. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s strategy—for a good strategy or tactic that serveth thy neighbor does not mean thou should do it, too.

8. Thou shalt not confuse media buzz or numbers of “likes” with building thy brand and achieving thy business goals.

9. Thou shalt not indulge in random acts of social media—ensure thou dost it consistently and well by following a strategic, goal-oriented plan.

10. Thou shalt not try to create the next viral video—the odds of favor being bestowed upon thee are exceedingly poor.

11. Thou shalt create “hub and spoke” integrated campaigns—a big, strategic idea that employs multiple marketing communication disciplines will make you strong and mighty among the nations.

12. Thou shalt appoint a dedicated and highly competent high-tech priest or priestess to oversee, run, monitor, measure, and always improve it.

13. Thou shalt empower thy target audience to do the work for thee—grant them the tools to take things into social media for thee, for this shall imbue credibility upon thee.

14. Thou shalt strive for engagement and interactivity—merely posting or pushing out information is an abomination.

15. Thou shalt make peace with letting go of ultimate control of your brand. For if you cannot, then do not tarry in this land.

David Warschawski is CEO and founder of Warschawski, a brand-centric marketing communications agency based in Baltimore.

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