As a social media manager I have found many other "social media professionals" contradicting themselves in their best practices of networking. So I have a few fun examples, of social media mistakes that I have come across that should be avoided.

    Automating EVERYTHING

    • Problem: Recently I read an article by +Stephanie Frasco about how it is important to automate some of your social media, because let's face it, there is no way you can post on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, Instagram, Vine...(you get the picture) on a consistent basis. There is a fine balance in automating some things with social media but there is a fine line when you have created everything into a scheduling robot and you barely lift a finger to post something in live time.
      • Solution: Take some of Stephanie's advice and schedule your posts to your network, but take the extra time to engage with your audience and interact with them. The point of social media is to be "social". So make sure you put time aside for what can't be automated, that's human interaction and real connections.

    Making It All About You

    • Problem: Let's face it, we have all followed some brands across social media channels, that only promote their own videos, sales, coupons, blog posts, etc. that all link back to their own site. While I know many brands have great content on their site, how about showing off some other industry leaders and interesting information that can be a conversation starter. I'm guilty of promoting my businesses' happenings and contest, but that is something we all need to go through as we are developing a social media presence.
      • Solution: This is one of my own rules, to not try to "sell" yourself in every post you promote. I like to use the rule that 90% of your content should be interactive and of interest to your audience. They already "like" your brand considering they are connected with you, so enhance your brand loyalty by providing useful information. Again I will come back to the phrase, social media is for "social" purposes you don't want to drown your audience in your latest sale.

    Brand Uniformity

    • Problem: If you are connecting with your audience through multiple brands, it is important to have the same answer for the same questions no matter what network you're on. Your social media channels should be a representation of what your brand stands for that should be initially reflected in your website. Through social media those qualities should be reflected in your posts and how you carry yourself across your channels. For example, if your product has a 1-year warranty, you shouldn't be tweeting one of your customers that you will replace their 3-year old product because it was smashed by the kids.
      • Solution: Have a brand handbook that your social media team can refer to when dealing with online communications between consumers. It is also a good idea to have quarterly meetings to catch everyone up on the latest business products or developments so everyone is clear on what changes are happening within the company.

    Being Bias Through Your Brand

    • Problem: When you are posting as a business, you have to imagine who your audience is to target the right type of people that use your service or products. While there may be a wide range of people or a specific group that you target with marketing, remember everyone has their own feelings and beliefs. So when it is election time or a new human rights issue has been the latest news buzz, it doesn't open a door for your business to chime in. With the exception of businesses directly tied into political issues or if recent news relates directly with your industry, your opinion shouldn't be posted through your business' social media channels.
      • Solution: I have seen many social media flops with major corporations and brands because someone tweeted a racial picture or disagree with the latest election results through the business social media channels. To fight this potential horrible PR headache, be sure to layout all of the expectations for your social media team before they have the green light to post on the social media channels. Stick to what your business knows and the industry around it and you will be golden.

    Numbers Are #1

    • Problem: I see this especially with small businesses, the obsession of how many "likes" on Facebook or how many views on the latest video on YouTube. While it is great to have a large following on social media sites, too many companies have a one-track mind when it comes to growing their social media presence. Now, I'm not saying the number of likes or followers don't matter because they do. I'm saying that getting caught up in "how many" of things can take away from the true value of what social media can do for your business.
      • Solution: To get an idea of what can be of value through your social media channels, you have to first establish what your goals are. If you are looking to increase your website traffic your numbers for shares may be important and also you post reach. If you are looking to increase your brand awareness, the number of likes is important, along with the number of people talking about you. As you can read in a discussion started by +Charles Tiu, there are different ways to measure your success depending on what your social media goals are.

    When you begin to conquer the social media world with your business or company it is important to get everything set in stone for the regulations, expectations, automation, and other ways you are going to approach your marketing effort. Once you establish your goals, it's time to get social!