Social media is a living, breathing organism, so it's important to keep up with it and learn from the experts about what to do and what not to do. I am not a social media expert, so I make a habit of listening and learning from others and, when I think what I need to do is over my head, I hire an expert.

I recently heard about a number of blunders that could have a negative impact on your productivity and potentially on your brand. So, here are the top four that I believe are worth sharing.

Failing to use Circles on Google+

Many people do not use this tool to segment their market. Therefore, a message that you might have intended only for certain people in your database is sent out to your entire base. By using Circles, you can send a targeted message only to those customers that will benefit from the message. Using Circles allows you to deliver a message that is pertinent to them, will resonate with them (if you have segmented your database properly) and will probably result in the recipients' taking action.

Leaving out a company

banner photo on LinkedIn

In 2012, LinkedIn introduced banner images for company pages, which is similar to your cover photo on Facebook. Many businesses have yet to recognize the marketing worth of this visual feature. Without a photo, your page looks dated and readers will associate your dated page with your brand. The banner is a great way to avoid that negative association and will support your unique product or service.

Not posting an image with an article on Facebook

More Information

Fact box

According to data from Zabisco, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information than to just copy. Remember that old adage that, "a picture is worth a thousand words." Including an image will encourage more commenting and sharing.

Mixing business with pleasure

Every now and then, you can get away with posting some personal information. Be very careful with this.

The purpose of social media is to communicate about those things that relate directly to the audience regarding your brand, civic efforts or your products or services.

It's important to respect your audience's time. Limit your message to information pertinent to your business' products or services -- what your audience wants to hear. If in doubt, I recommend not "posting" it.

Kathy McShane is managing director of Ladies Who Launch, Connecticut. She can be reached at or