I just read this great article on PCWorld that outlines mistakes you need to avoid regarding your business and social media and I felt the need to bring attention to it because I've seen many, many local examples of just doing social media wrong. I really want you to read the original article, but if you're as lazy as I am you're probably staying here for my summary...which I was planning to give you anyway.
1. Hand the keys to someone who isn't ready to drive.
While the article goes in about giving the job to an outsource or a low level staffer I think they left someone out: Media Relations. I have to agree, letting someone who doesn't know how much their words can impact a business run social media is a huge mistake. Outsources aren't on the ground and when they do post it's boilerplate. Low level staffers...well they just don't care. Media relations should be able to effectively handle this just. Problem is social media isn't particularly part of the media relations course load (I really hope it is these days though). I find that in most organizations media relations don't know how to use it, aren't empowered to use it, or never heard of it.
2. Fire the person in charge of social media
This is right up there with replacing any IT specialist. Make sure if you're going to fire them that you take away their "keys". I put that in quotes because physically locking out your displaced IT guy doesn't mean he can't access your network. Most IT specialists have too much respect for the craft to use your (now unguarded) infrastructure against you, but for many the temptation is too great.
3. Confuse a reply with a direct message on Twitter
With email, it's easy. You press reply and you can send a message to someone who sent a message to you. Twitter doesn't work like that. When you hit reply EVERYONE can see your reply. If you want to reply to someone directly on Twitter you have to use direct messaging. A reply on Twitter is essentially the same as reply all in email...but with a much bigger audience.
4. Commit rank insensitivity
This one is simple but it's easy to see how people would not see how wrong this is. Don't use a hashtag to exploit any trending topic rooted in human suffering. It's bad for business and makes you look like a jerk.
5. Fail to understand corporate confidentiality
Simply put, be mindful of what you share. Trade secrets, meeting information, etc. can land you in hot water.
6. Ask for potentially hostile users to chime in
Once you let people post to your feed, that's it. You will occasionally get negative feedback. The only way I see around this is to maintain total control is not to allow anyone but you to post.
7. Get political
Chick Fil A. Nuff said.
8. Fail to understand the mechanics of social media
This harkens back to #4.
9. Neglect social media security
Guard your password.
Really though, read the article. Good stuff.