The following is an excerpt from Mari Smith’s chapter of  Success Secrets Of The Social Media Marketing Superstars (Entrepreneur Press August 2010)

Facebook is the brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg and co-founders Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin. The college friends launched Facebook from their Harvard dorm room in February, 2004. For the first two years, Facebook was only available to colleges. Then, gradually, Facebook opened their doors to the general public along with opening their API up to third party application developers. The newest gold rush began!

Since 2006, Facebook has continued to increase in popularity and always seems to stay one step ahead of the competition such as LinkedIn, Twitter, MySpace, even Google – in terms of being the most popular site for connecting with friends, family, colleagues, etc.

I have great admiration for Mark Zuckerberg. He’s a modern day visionary – I often liken him to Bill Gates back in the 1980s.

Mark’s mission for Facebook is “to give people the power to share, and help make the world more open and connected such that world problems might be solved.”

Social networking, particularly Facebook, has completely changed the way we do business and the way we connect, build, and maintain our relationships on both a personal and professional basis.

These are my “rules” for succeeding on Facebook – you’re welcome to adopt them if they speak to you:

1. Always be yourself.

I often talk about a concept I created called “ABM” which stands for many things, including: Always Be Me, Always Be Mindful and Always Be Marketing. Two words that are frequently used in the social media world are “authentic” and “transparent.” To me, when you apply ABM, you’ll always do the right thing anyway.

By being mindful – realizing you never know who might be observing your updates, posts and photos on Facebook, for example – you can be in full control of how you build your reputation and perception among your strategically chosen Facebook friends.

The part about “always be marketing” essentially means every time you show up online or offline, even if you’re having a conversation with one person while all your followers/fan/subscribers observe, you are still marketing yourself.

There is a widespread fear when it comes to using social networks, and that is PRIVACY. Just how much personal information should you reveal about yourself? Here’s the thing – you get to choose. Sure, the lines are blurred between our personal and professional lives, but you still get to maintain a private life.Fortunately, of all the social networks, Facebook has the most granular privacy settings.

2. Stay Focused

We live in an attention-based world now more than ever. Social networking has accelerated the amount of information available and the demands for our attention. People often just have a nanosecond to see you go by and decide whether you’re a fit for their network or not.

Across all social networks, it’s important to display total clarity in what you do, who you help and how you help them in your bio. Be careful of overdoing the links on your Facebook profile – I recommend just showing your website/blog along with a link to your Twitter profile, YouTube channel and LinkedIn profile, as appropriate.

On your Facebook personal profile and on your fan page, there is a small field under your photo that I call your “mini bio.” Here, you can fill out a succinct sentence or two and possibly include a call to action and a link such as I have in the screenshot to the left.

3. Have an abundance mindset.

I truly believe there’s enough for everyone and there’s no such thing as competition, particularly when in a service-based business. And, essentially, even if you sell a commodity/widgets, you’re still selling them with a degree of service.

4. To be an authority, you must be an author (writer/publisher of content).

Facebook gives us tremendous opportunity to publish a wide variety of content types, from photos, videos, links, notes, comments and more. By regularly updating your Status (ideally once per day at minimum), you can literally deliberately manage how you’re perceived among your network. In other words, everything you post should be with strategic intent. The more content you produce, the more authority and credibility you will command. In fact, author Gary Vaynerchuk talks about how every business should get into the content business!

5. Be generous. Give your best stuff away.

If you’re passionate about your topic, you’ll never run out of content. By giving your best stuff away for free in your Status update and imported blog posts, for example, your network will think that if you’re this knowledgeable and generous with your free stuff your paid stuff must be awesome!

6. Lead by example.

Stay informed – look for ways to stay just one step ahead of others in your industry and lead with a sense of confidence and grace. It’s not a race, per se, but you do want to demonstrate you’re on top of your game, knowledgeable… and that you’re human and still have a life! In other words, you don’t really need to try and appear like you’re online 24/7 – it’s important to set up realistic expectations among your friends and fans.

7. If content is king, connection is queen.

For some time, my motto has been “Relationships first, business second.” Since social networking has become so popular, we’ve shifted the way we do business… both online and offline. Consumers expect companies to be more approachable, human, engaging. Content does matter for sure, though it’s often the connection and conversation around that content that really brings it to life.

When the marketers move in, the members move out.” So the secret, therefore, that has certainly worked very well for me is to be a member! Of course, you’re a strategically-thinking member!

8. Implement “Radical Strategic Visibility.”

I created the concept of radical strategic visibility in 2007 and it’s worked extremely well for me, my clients and students. Essentially, you are seen by all the right people, in all the right places, at all the right times. People come up to you and say, “I keep seeing you everywhere.” And you reply with, “Great!! My marketing is working!”

While it’s vital to your business to have a vibrant presence on Facebook with an attractive and active Fan Page, you need to also have a presence on other popular social networks such as Twitter and YouTube. And then there is a whole range of ancillary sites that affect your presence on WordPress blogs, for example, like Gravatar.com, MyBlogLog.com and BlogCatalog.com and Google Friend Connect.

9. Take imperfect action and be patient.

Facebook can be overwhelming to really grasp and optimize for measurable business results. My advice is to get set up with a Facebook Fan Page and begin to add content. It’s not realistic to expect you’ll have a ton of fans right away – unless of course you have a large mailing list and can easily blast out to them and have a surge of fans. In any case, go for it and remember Facebook is just one piece of your marketing pie.

 10. Have an objective, strategy and means of measurement.

Let’s say your initial objective is to get your first 1000 fans on your Fan Page. But even then, you should have an additional objective as to what you want those fans to DO. Perhaps you’re simply building community for now, so you want the fans to keep coming back and interacting. Or, maybe you want them to opt in to your email list to access a free gift. Strategies for adding fans could be broadcasting to your existing email list, writing blog posts, purchasing Facebook social ads, launching a campaign of tweets and more. And to measure, simple counting the number of fans is easy.

Dubbed “the Pied Piper of the Online World” by FastCompany.com, Mari Smith is an in-demand Social Media Keynote Speaker, Trainer, and Consultant. She has a strong background in the world of relationships and Internet technology, and has been a passionate leader in social media since 2007. Mari is also President and co-founder of the International Social Media Association – an organization dedicated to best practices, quality education, and social media certification programs. Connect with Mari at www.marismith.com