The 10 Commandments of Social Computing, pt 2

The 10 Commandments of Social Computing, part 2 is the 13th in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

TED Commandments

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Thou shall balance business and pleasure in social networking

Social networking is supposed to be fun; don’t make it all business. Don’t be ultra-serious all the time. Sure, your cause is serious, and important, but acknowledge that there are other sides to life, and don’t be afraid to have fun. Make a stupid pun. Link to the latest stupid LOLCat picture ( or dumb YouTube video ( It’s all about adding value, and sometimes that value is bringing a smile to your contacts’ faces.

Remember, you are competing with all sorts of entertainment, online and offline. You may find that a light and humorous tone may attract more followers or deepen existing relationships.

Be a Person! Be personal. Share things about yourself. Ask others for their opinions.

The more real you are, the better the online and offline relationship!

Thou shall be relevant

It’s not about your agenda — Talk about what’s important to your audience.

Sure you want to make your points about your cause, but do so in relation to your audience’s needs and interests.

One of the keys to social media success is providing what they want, not necessarily pushing what you want. Be relevant to their lives, even if it means straying off point. You want a relationship, a true, two-way understanding with your community. Think of the significant relationships in your life. How many of them are one-dimensional, built only upon a common interest in bowling, fishing, novels, disaster movies, or whatever?

Chances are in your best, most significant personal relationships, you connect on many levels. Ensure that you do that via social media as well.

Thou shall customize your strategy for your target groups

Before you even start using social media to improve your relationship to your followers, be sure you know who they are, how they differ, and how they want to be addressed.

How can you find these things out? Ask them.

Take the example of Fiskars, the Finnish manufacturer you probably know, if you know of them at all, as a maker of scissors. Scissors. A pretty boring category. Who cares what brand of scissors you buy? How utterly, utterly dull.

Well, if that’s the way you feel, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Think about Fiskars’ audience. What are they doing with the scissors (and punches, shape cutters, stampers, craft trimmers, embossers, knives and multitools, edgers, and other craft tools)?

They’re scrapbooking and doing other crafts.

If you know any scrapbookers, you know they can be very passionate, even fanatical. And they are inherently social. They like to get together IRL (In Real Life) and swap ideas, and work on their projects together.

So Fiskars did a very smart thing, way back in 2006: They created the Fiskateers social media site.[1]

How did they start their site? They found four women who were committed to scrapbooking and made them the heads of a nationwide campaign to create online and offline places (retail stores) for people bound by this common interest to gather and share ideas and community.

The site won awards. It generated results:

  • 6,250 members in 50 states
  • 1,000 certified volunteer demonstrators
  • In craft stores where Fiskateers are involved Fiskars has three-times-higher sales growth than in non-member stores
  • 13 new product ideas/month
  • 85 percent of “Fiskateers” likely to recommend the product to a friend[2]

And, by the way, Fiskars spent less than $500,000 on this effort.

So you need to understand the segments of your target market. And you need a strategy for dealing with each. For sure there are some you will not be able to reach online. But a surprising number will not only respond to you online, they’re already there and talking about you and your cause. Find their communities, listen, and tailor your approach to their needs.

So your question is: Can you find four women?
(Or eight men. 【ツ】 )

More Commandments

[1] Fiskateers site:

[2] Adam Singer, blogging about Jackie Huba’s (Church Of The Customer) Keynote at MIMA Summit Oct 5th, 2009:

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