Fast Company created this nifty info-graphic of social media rules. I loved it the moment I saw it!
Then I read it.
I wanted to still love it because look how colorful and graphically fun it is. But the content is not nearly as compelling as the look. It's not so much that the content is wrong, it's just that most of it is about marketing in general and very little is only true of social media. Beyond that, it completely lacks the context of brand, product, consumer and medium.
For example, #6 "don't try to be clever, be clever". That's absolutely true in every medium from package design to retail to television commercials to twitter --assuming clever is a part of the brand personality. If the brand is ernest it needs to remain ernest, even in the social environment.
Or #26 "have a crisis plan." Yes, do that but do it in a holistic way. This means it starts with the company and the brand. How you execute varies depending on whether it's a localized or broadly dispersed crisis. Again, it's the right thing to do but it's not a social media rule, it's just common sense business.
Lastly, I'm going to push back on a very popular bandwagon: #33 "your fans own your brand." It would not be true to say that a person who comments on another persons' Facebook page owns that person. Equally, it's not accurate to say that fans (or customers) own a brand. A company owns a brand. The people who choose to be customers (and those who choose not to) influence the brand. People who choose to interact with the brand in social media (whether friend or foe) also influence the brand. But to say they own it is too simplistic and quite frankly fatalistic. This particular bandwagon annoys me almost as much as when every marketer started using the phrase tribes. Grrr.
But I digress, let's get back to the point about the list. It's pretty and it's also pretty uninspiring. I think we marketers do this far too often. We don't really say anything that matters but we make it look good --in the process of making it pretty we completely lose sight of saying something meaningful. Personally, I think we should do both.