"Take too long to respond, or not respond at all, and the situation can turn into a public bashing spree," Miller says. "How to avoid a customer service nightmare: set guidelines for the hours you're present on the channel to answer questions, and quickly facilitate or answer all inquiries."
11. Posting too infrequently. "Social media marketing takes patience and persistence," says Rand. "You can't just post once a week -- or less -- and expect people to come flocking to your door to buy your products/services," she says. "If you don't have the time or commitment to devote to posting five to seven days a week, you might as well not bother and focus on more traditional advertising methods such as direct mail or pay-per-click ads."
12. Sounding impersonal or automated. "People use social media because they want to interact with other people, not with some unnamed, personality-free company rep," says Jenna Woodul, executive vice president and chief community officer, LiveWorld, a social content marketing company.
"Even if your social media handle is your company's name, introduce the folks that moderate it on your Profile or About page -- and let them include a tag so it's clear which messages are theirs," she says.
"A personal touch makes a significant impact," adds Stephanie Petelos, media representative, ProctorU, which provides secure online test proctoring. "It annoys people when responses are automated or sound too robotic -- and [that can cost you] followers," she says. "Making the extra effort to respond with a little wit can put a smile someone's face and leave a positive impression."
Just be sure that whomever moderates your social media presence is aware of your company's social media guidelines and understands that she is representing the brand.
13. Sending automated direct messages (DM) to all of your new Twitter followers. "This is really easy for companies to fall prey to because it seems too simple," says Griffis. "The problem is that people don't appreciate robotic, impersonalized messages, which usually result in unfollows," she explains. "If you want to increase traffic, give people a reason to follow you by providing value and creating conversations," not sending them automated DMs.
14. Overusing hashtags. "#Everyone #Hates #This #StopDoingItOMG," writes Sarah Bradley, the head of social media at Receptional, a Web marketing consulting company. "Instead of piggybacking a trend or keyword that might not bring you any additional interaction, think about why it is you want to use a hashtag," she says.
"Do you want to show up in as many streams as is humanly possible within the character limit? Or would you like to engage with a demographic on their level?" Bradley asks. "If there a global trend that is getting everyone talking that you can contribute to rather than barrage with meaningless and shameless promotion of your business, you'll find that your online reputation improves and people will trust what you have to say more."
15. Not including a measurable call-to-action in social media posts. "Include short links to a resource, Web page or blog post in your social media posts, something that can be measured," says Rebecca Otis, content/social media manager,
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff is a contributor to CIO.com and runs a marketing communications firm focused on helping organizations better interact with their customers, employees, and partners.
Read more about social media in CIO's Social Media Drilldown.