Don’t make this social networking mistake

I recently read a blog post by Diane Charton that shed light on six mistakes to avoid when using social media.

I found all of her tips really interesting, relevant and insightful, but one in particular caught my eye:

4. Mistaking social networking for traditional advertising or corporate communication:

“You can’t think of social networking as a form of advertising- it’s actually closer to a form of customer relationship management. You have a chance to listen and learn from your customers, provided you can get them to talk to you. Social networking is about forging connections, creating credibility and building relationships rather than hard-selling.

Inject some personality into your social networking presence so that it is inviting and engaging. Competitions and humour are great ways to invite customers into your world.

Don’t be too dry or corporate in your approach, though you should always remain professional. Also remember that anything you post in a social networking environment will be there to haunt you forever.”

I really liked how Charton described social networking as customer relationship management, because I believe that sites like Facebook and Twitter allow companies to reach out to others and add a more humanistic side to their traditionally tense, formal personas. And therein is what aligns social networking with public relations and sets the two apart from advertising.

What do you think? Do you agree with Charton’s characterization? How do you feel about her other suggestions?

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