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The 10 Commandments of Social Networking
The importance of being personal, professional, and specific.

When used incorrectly, social networking might leave you wandering through a proverbial networking desert: a dearth of referrals, a drought of new business, a scarcity of meaningful relationships. Just time wasted wandering the web.  But when harnessed correctly, social networking is a wellspring of long-lasting relationships and potential referrals. To help you use social networking to grow your business—and enter the promised land of new business—here are the 10 Commandments of Social Networking for you to follow.

Commandment 1: Use tools appropriate for social networking.

Use your photo, not a logo, for your profile picture. You would not introduce yourself as Joe’s Painting, you would introduce yourself as Joe. The exception to this rule is if you are a part of a franchise that requires the use of the logo. However, understand that if you are using a logo as your profile picture it will take significantly longer to build trust in social networks. Remember, people do business with people first, brands second.

Use applications to make it easy and clear how to contact you. Just as at a networking event you would pass out a business card with your name and contact information on it, online you need to let people know how to contact you in a similarly easy and recognizable way.

Use your Facebook page to network—not as a brochure. If you want a brochure build a web site.

Just as you carry and distribute brochures, cards, and other collateral materials for your business, an impactful cover photo that captures the essence and emotion of your brand as well as a well-written “About” section will solidify your professional image. Don’t skimp on these! For best results, hire a professional who can make sure they are consistent and professional.

Commandment 2: Set a goal for every social network you join.

Before you go public, learn how to use the site and set up your profile. Only connect with the number of people you are able to manage. More is not better; it’s just more. Set a goal for the number of posts, as well as the number of interactions, per day. Use auto-posters like Hootsuite less than 10% of the time when posting. According to a recent study by Hub Spot®, Facebook posts posted via auto-posters suffer a 67% decline in interaction over those posted manually.

Because you have specific people you want to connect with, have a plan that prioritizes those with whom you will connect—and assign deadlines to each name.

Commandment 3: Act like a host, not a guest.

Social networking should be a party. You need to have fun! Thanks to the advent of DVRs and TiVo, we no longer have to watch commercials. If your page is only a commercial, your prospects are likely to fast forward before they get to know you. Remember, you have about three seconds to show them who you are, so think about how to make an instant impact.

Connect yourself to others by tagging people, businesses, and organizations. You will bring them to your page and you to theirs. Just remember not to tag your fans and friends in promotional photos. It will turn them off and cause them to stop following your posts. This is how you act like a host online.

Interacting with businesses on their pages will bring traffic back to you as well as help that business gain status.

Know who you are, and don’t be afraid to be that person. People may remove you, but for every unlike, you will gain five. Be real, don’t be boring, or don’t do it.

Commandment 4: Promote your product or service.

A good benchmark for promoting via social networking is the Rule of Thirds: a third should be about you; a third about your industry; and a third about your partners.

Never make a sales pitch as a means of introduction. Remember those door-to-door vacuum sales people? If you have an auto responder, that’s you online!

Five minutes of friendly conversation is more valuable than two weeks worth of links to your latest affiliate account. The more real you are, the more valuable your connections will be. This goes for outsourcing too. If your marketing team is 100% responsible for your social media, the less personal it will be perceived; it may be time to reevaluate and get the rest of your crew on board.

Commandment 5: Listen and ask plenty of questions.

Interact with at least 5-7 people a day; visit their page and make comments. On your own page, ask questions of your contacts daily.

Some ideas include:

  • What are you going to do to grow your business today?

  • Who are you meeting today that excites you? (This could create referral opportunities for your partners.)

  • What guilty pleasure are you giving in to today? (It’s okay to be silly sometimes!)

Be comfortable with being a little irreverent; people will like you even more.

Commandment 6: Offer support and be the connector whenever possible.

Offer tips and advice. You can never give away too much for free. Some of the top-selling business books of the past ten years have offered every word for free on a blog.

Pay attention to your connections’ interests (see Commandment 3 if you are uncertain how to do this), and connect them to others in your database who have similar interests.

If you let the world know how your connections have helped you, they might be able to help someone else in the same way.

Commandment 7: Manage your connections

Earlier, we mentioned more is not necessarily better. People interact with pages where hosts encourage interaction. So if you are a hair salon in Tampa and you have 5,000 followers, but 3,500 are in Beijing, you’d do better with 250 in your hometown. Remember, birds of a feather flock together.

Regularly go through your connections and weed out the ones who are totally irrelevant to you (like those people in Beijing following your hair salon). If your community doesn’t resonate with your target market, they will not want to interact there.

Commandment 8: 60 minutes online a day is enough to be successful with social networking, not just with friends.

If all of your followers are related to you, you need to get out of your cave and into the web. While games can help strengthen relationships, the time you spend on gaming does not count as business development. Three to five messages back and forth warrant a phone call. Remember, your goal is to create a relationship to generate results.

Commandment 9: Make all your interactions specific to the individual

You can do this by:

  • Taking a moment to review their profile.

  • Commenting on their profile photo or their photographs, including people and locations in the photo.

  • Use first names, spelled correctly, when replying to messages.

Commandment 10: Follow up

The goal of social networking is to take the relationship to the next step, whether it’s booking a sales session or a speaking engagement, setting up an appointment for coffee or a beer, or getting together to learn more about each other’s business, etc.

Utilizing these tips can help you properly engage in social media, in the pursuit of making more money in less time.


This article is inspired by the “10 Commandments of Networking a Mixer,” created by Dr. Ivan Misner, and adapted them for the world of social networking.

About the Authors:

Tiffanie Kellog helps people make more money in less time while having fun. She owns Thread Art, a business that specializes in helping companies make more money through promotional products! Tiffanie also loves helping people grow their business by WOM Marketing. She trains via BNI Members and Referral Institute programs. She is also a contributing author on “Money on the Table,” professional speaker, and a blogger at

Renia Carsillo helps people make more money.  She is the author of One Man, One Show: 21 Weeks to Profitable Self- Employment and the upcoming, Lessons of a Recovering Know-It-All.


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12 Responses to “The 10 Commandments of Social Networking”

  1. jenelle livet Says:

    Thanks for the great info. I see so many people who just blast their ads on their Facebook pages and only just do hootsuite posts. Social networks are just that and the quality of fans will always outrank the quantity. I do Facebook marketing consulting and there is the culture of the more fans you have the better. The problem is also that Facebook will reward you for the amount of interaction you have on your posts so there is a whole industry out there selling programs to take advantage of this. My thoughts are with you and you will always get much better results when people know, like, and trust you so use social media for this purpose.

  2. Nancy Cantor Says:

    Thank you, Tiffanie, I appreciate the clarity of you suggestions. It gives me some rules to follow so I can be more effective.

  3. Michael Walker Says:

    This is an excellent post Tiffanie. Many businesses are still just starting out in social media, fumbling through, making mistakes along the way, and hopefully learning as they go. Your post will help many to get on the right path with online networking. And I totally agree with your sentiment about not selling or pitching too much and also giving away your content for free. In fact at our company, we make efforts to give away our advice the vast majority of the time to build trust and good will. It helps to show the public, and Google that we are good at what we do, but also it helps people find the info they are looking for, and ultimately I think its the right thing to do for people. Thanks again for your words of wisdom!

  4. Doug Goldstein Says:

    Thanks for the article. It’s easy for people to get caught up with modern networking tools and forget, to their detriment, the “old” rules and guidelines for effective networking.

  5. Cheryl Hansen Says:

    Tiffanie, Excellent! So practical and well written…definitely a link for me to forward!

  6. Fargo Landscaping Says:

    Awesome info, thanks again! I will pass it along! -Greg

  7. Eric Becker Says:

    Tiffanie, just getting on the band waggon and was referred to this article. Great stuff, great tips and thank you. Will be paying it forward with this one.

  8. Tiffanie Kellog Says:

    Thanks all so much for your comments!
    I love networking online, and I thank Dr. Ivan Misner for the 10 Commandments of Networking a Mixer that inspired Renia Carsillo and I to create these commandments for online!

  9. Anil Kumar Gupta Says:

    You answered the question, why social networking takes time! As usual, there are no short cuts in life even though everyone keeps looking for one!

  10. Pablo Correa Says:

    Thank you very much Tiffanie, Reina and Dr Ivan for such a well condensed and straight to the point article. I will use it in my education slot and I will share it with my fellow partners.

  11. Tracy DeMatteis Says:

    I can’t agree more with having a photo of yourself and an About You section on your social media and website. I see far too many that I review and say “OK, but ‘who’ is this company.” I want to see the face behind the business and know their story.

  12. Kathleen D'Antonio Says:

    Thank you so much Tiffanie for the wonderful ideas you have imparted to all of us… I hope to put them to good use in the future. Kathie D’

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