Posted to Ben Finklea's blog on September 9th, 2009

Five Social Media Mistakes

As we approach the turn of the decade, most companies are not only blitzing the Internet for new customers, but are becoming “socially active” on an array of networking sites. In fact, this tactic has become very lucrative for those companies who majestically leverage social media marketing. But for every business who proactively practices their online social savvy, other businesses are stumbling their way onto Facebook and LinkedIn like a drunk uncle during a wedding toast. Here are five social media mistakes that happen entirely too often:

1. Mixing Business with Pleasure

Everyone knows not to dip their pen in the company ink but when it comes to the online social networking, it is absolutely crucial to keep the business and personal content very separate from each other. It can be tricky, as revealing the human side of your brand is critical for building trust and relationships. One way around this confusing grey line is to create a personal account for friends and family while establishing a Fan Page for the business for connections with clients, vendors, colleagues and prospects.

2. All Talk, No Listen

Social networking sites are all about the conversation, and conversations build relationships, trust and confidence. If all you do is push your message out and don’t take time to participate in a conversation, listen and evolve from what you learned, no one is going to engage with you.

3. To Blog Or Not To Blog

Some folks are on the fence about blogging. Why blog if you are engaging through Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter? Think of it this way, if a social platform is sold, shut down, or hacked, will you have other avenues to communicate? A blog is your show, home base for your online presence, and where you can start funneling friends and followers to for a more intimate setting.

4. Lack of Consistency

Remember that class in business school called “Branding: 101”? Didn’t think so. Every online profile, website, and professional persona should have a consistent message and image that includes a picture of yourself or business. This can be a logo, glamour shot, or candid photo of you kicking some major butt in a board meeting. When someone friends or links with you on one site and follows your links to other profiles, you want them to be confident they landed in the right spot.

5. No Linkage

Efficiency is such a valuable word. If you have several social profiles online, it would be a serious lack of efficiency not to link them all together. Yet another reason to have a blog. You will be attracting contacts from all different platforms and have the opportunity to increase engagement laterally while introducing them to different profiles of yours online. Sounds like a win/win.

The online social scene is constantly evolving with new best practices surfacing every few days or weeks. Volacci would love to hear your new ideas of social media marketing and other mistakes that we may have missed.