On an individual level, none of your professional contacts wants to hear how itchy that rash is or what you're having for dinner. They don't want to know how mad you are at your brother or how much you love candy corn. Updating your status with too much of the wrong information can hack away at your professional reputation--and possibly even ruin it.
2. All [insert your name here], all the time
You do not want to be that person or organization that gets hidden or, worse, deleted because you flood the social waters with updates. Too much--even of a good thing--is too much. Organizations that automate their posts need to be especially careful to space them out. Too many post nothing all day and then bombard users' news streams with multiple updates all at once. It won't be long before your updates become just white noise even to ardent fans.
3. A quick trigger finger
Many of the best practices around email hold true with social networking. There's no end to the trouble you can get into when you communicate anything--on any platform--without thinking about it first. This goes double for social networking because that, say, rant against your boss will ultimately go to far more people and live longer than any single email would.
4. Untended social presence
The only thing worse than posting too much is posting too little--or not at all. Organizations that slap up a Facebook page or set up a Twitter account without engaging with their customers are missing a huge opportunity--and perhaps losing customers to companies that are using social media to seek customer service, provide coupons, and so on.
[Find out how successful social media use lets one small business compete against bigger businesses. Read Fast Food 2.0: The Burger Goes Social.]
5. Anything goes attitude
Social networking works best when users are able to freely share ideas and opinions. With that said, an organization that puts no boundaries around employees' use of (and expected behavior within) social networks is just asking for trouble. A social networking policy that provides guidelines while encouraging use is increasingly a must-have.
6. Rogue accounts and administrators
Many organizations' social media efforts started at a grassroots level, with accounts being set up and administered by individuals who were not necessarily sanctioned to do so by their organizations. This is a problem that gets worse when said people leave the organization--and take their credentials with them.
7. Weak passwords
Speaking of credentials, weak passwords are a big problem with social networks. If someone guesses your organization's password, he or she can do a whole lot of damage to your reputation in a very short amount of time. And, ironically, many social profiles provide just the information the bad guys need to make a very educated guess about your passwords.
The same information that can be used to guess passwords can also enable bad guys to target phishes scarily specifically.
9. Adorable kittens/scantily clad women/free iPads
We're only human, after all--a fact that malware purveyors know only too well as they attempt to tempt us into downloading nefarious apps. If your mom posts on your wall that she got a free iPad for doing almost nothing and you can, too, your mom's social network account has likely been hacked, and clicking on the link to the free iPad info will likely result in malware being downloaded onto your computer.
10. Being anti-social
Perhaps the scariest thing about social networking is having no social presence at all. If they haven't already, organizations will find that having presence on major social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ will be as important--and expected--as having a webpage
Attend Enterprise 2.0 Santa Clara, Nov. 14-17, 2011, and learn how to drive business value with collaboration, with an emphasis on how real customers are using social software to enable more productive workforces and to be more responsive and engaged with customers and business partners. Register today and save 30% off conference passes, or get a free expo pass with priority code CPHCES02. Find out more and register.