As we head into (what could be) a pivotal year for social media, I thought it would be a good idea to review some of the great principles and practices that have been established to date.

Here’s my infographic inspired list of 19 social media best practices. I know I’m missing more than a few so I encourage you to add to the list and fuel some discussion in the comments.

What ideas or concepts do you feel will be the most important as social media continues to evolve? The comments are yours.

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About Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas

Mark Smiciklas is a Digital Strategist, author and President of Intersection Consulting; a Vancouver based digital marketing agency that teaches organizations how to leverage the dynamics of the web to achieve business goals. Mark is also the managing editor at and is an established marketing and social media practitioner recognized for his visual thinking and practical strategic approach. You can connect with him on Google+.

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

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  • The Franchise King


    Fantastic video. Great job simplifying things.

    Take you about 10 minutes to put together?


    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the comment and kind words. Sometimes with a labor of love it's best not to track the actual time invested :)

  • Christa Watson

    The one I'm going to steal for my work is “Interact FIRST, sell second!” – So simple and yet so powerful. Thanks for the great list!

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks Christa. Glad one of the visuals resonated with you. That particular one was inspired by a Seth Godin post entitled “The Panhandlers Secret” – You can check it out here:

  • William J. Ward

    Thanks for putting this together. I'm teaching Internet Marketing at Western Michigan University and will be sharing it with my students. (#mkt3730 / #mkt4760) Great way to put some solid principles and best practices together in a fun way.
    I look forward to seeing this evolve. Keep me posted on updates.

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks William. I hope your students enjoy the video. Please encourage them to share their thoughts in the comments here. It would be interesting to hear their views regarding some of the principles presented in the video.

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  • Sue Edison-Swift

    Thanks for the credible, engaging and affirming support for the three most important factors in a successful social media strategy: relationship, relationship, relationship.
    Sue E-S

    • Mark Smiciklas

      You are most welcome Sue – thanks for dropping by.

  • Mark Smiciklas

    Thanks William. I hope your students enjoy the video. Please encourage them to share their thoughts in the comments here. It would be interesting to hear their views regarding some of the principles presented in the video.

  • Mark Smiciklas

    Thanks for the comment and kind words. Sometimes with a labor of love it's best not to track the actual time invested :)

  • Sjackson

    Great video and concisely informative for those without social media knowledge. I believe there might be one harsh view in there though. One needs to make sure their outsourced social media needs to be accountable for context, not all outsourcing is bad if the outsourced company keeps the clients best interest in mind. Look for credibility!

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the comment. I see your point and totally agree that not all outsourcing is bad. The idea I'm trying to convey is that it's important for organizations to understand the impact of transparency and that varying degrees of ethics exist when it comes to how their voice is communicated.

      For some great insight check out this series of posts by Todd Defren on the subject of social media ethical dilemmas:

  • Nick Stamoulis

    Having a strategy is extremely important before jumping into social media. Before submitting content, there should be a goal in mind. Like any other marketing strategy, you should create a business plan for social media and what you plan on doing with it. Great video.

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the comment Nick. I believe easy accessibility to “free” publishing tools has fueled impulse and experimentation…which can be cool. But I agree that tactics devoid of strategy is not the best way to optimize social media – I think more and more organizations are starting to recognize this.

  • heatherrast

    Mark, this was a really fun way to bring some of your great visual thinking messages together.

    You invited additional thoughts, and I have a few – although they may be implied within one or more of the graphics ~
    1) Flexibility. We start with a strategy encompassing goals and objectives, and then execute tactically. What about how a practitioner should be flexible with those tactics, be able to adapt to market changes, user preferences and habits, etc? Not to mention continual communication (“state of the union”) with C-suite.
    2) Continual improvement. So we listen, we learn, we moderate and respond. What about aggregating and categorizing the feedback/signals, analyzing their importance, and distributing it internally to drive change/product development/skills training/etc.? Hmm, I think I smell a blog post here. :-)

    Thanks again, very good stuff!

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Great points Heather. Components of your social media plan need to be pliable – I would argue even more than other business strategies due to the rapid evolution of digital technology. In addition to core strategies/tactics I really like the idea of an ongoing cycle of audience research >> pilot projects >> assessment >> strategic adjustment.

  • Jorge Barba

    Great stuff Mark. Thanks for putting it together!

    Love that first slide, speaks volumes. Bookmarked and shared.



    • Mark Smiciklas

      You are most welcome Jorge – and thanks for dropping by with a comment.

  • Integr8 Networking

    Could you expand on why we are heading into 'a pivotal year' for social media? Sorry to be a dunce.

    • Mark Smiciklas

      I'm the dunce for not explaining myself :)

      I think the overall sentiment is that 2011 will be the year we move past the hype and really start to focus on bigger issues such as strategy, building business value, cross department integration, social business, etc. I believe it's a pivotal year because we've had the benefit of a few years of experience and learning – and now have the opportunity to use social technology to ignite change in and around the way we do business and communicate with our internal/external audiences.

  • Storch Kirill

    Really great article I loved it. My question to you, what do you think about the efficacy of iframing portions of your website into your Facebook in order to provide a cool app that would incite conversions?

    Something like this. The advantage is that it looks a lot cooler than standard FB page, also it provides you with conversions and good resources. One con is that its slow and somewhat an unusual fb branding technique….any thoughts? It currently converts at about 3%.

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  • Christa

    A nice general outline for an intro. It would be great to expand on each idea for those of us still getting our feet wet in social media.

    And the electro/sitar music rocks!

    • Mark Smiciklas

      Thanks for the great suggestion! Maybe a short post on each best practice might be in order. Also glad you enjoyed the soundtrack – Thunderball is awesome :)

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  • Jackie

    Is there a good seminar or course you can recommend – online or other – for getting a good understanding of the current social media world as it relates to financial PR? What people are doing, who they're reaching out to and how it's working also. Many thanks. I am based in NY by the way.

    • JasonFalls

      We don't focus specifically on financial PR, but you're welcome to ask the

      experts and community members at…. There are

      some folks there who have more detailed experience in financial worlds. And

      we can always go find answers.

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