Maurice Wheeler, Founder and Planning Director of Digital Outlook, laid out five key ground rules for companies or brands seeking to have presence on social networking sites.
1) Help me, don’t sell to me – don’t just put up an ad, but offer something of community value.
2) Keep it real – don't pretend to be something you're not, either by disguising your site as a fan site or by representing yourself as a happy customer. Today's youth have very quick bulls**t detectors (and some technical tricks) and will find you out and embarrass you.
3) Make it unique -- whatever you offer in your social network space should be unavailable anywhere else, even in your other marketing or promotion.
4) Be open and accepting whatever the consequences – if you are attacked or criticized, resist the urge to lash back, respond or delete the offending content. Take a deep breath, and let your community defend you.
5) For us by us. Offer opportunities for the community to contribute; sense of ownership is vital.