Barry Libert, CEO of Mzinga, which provides social software to businesses, and author of “Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business,” says, “When it comes to building a successful social network for your company, you need to understand that there’s a lot of prep work to be done. You can’t just set up a Facebook profile for your company, tweet once or twice a day, and expect public interest in your company to shoot through the roof.”

Read on for four social media pitfalls Libert has identified.

1. Underinvesting in social initiatives and abandoning them too soon. Social networking won’t magically materialize before your eyes. You have to build a solid foundation early on, by investing time, thought and money in attracting fans and followers — and your efforts will have to be continued.

Strategies include posting high-quality content people want, letting customers tell their stories and post their grievances, and then responding to their criticisms. Use customer and employee testimonials for new customers to learn about you. Also, using multiple approaches, like a blog, Facebook profile and interactive website will reach more people.

2. Not thinking of ways to encourage and inspire your followers and fans. They are basically volunteering their time and energy to serve as developers and advertisements for you.

3. Relying on a “build-it-and-they-will-come” mentality. You have to actually reach out to potential fans and followers and make it worth their while to accept your invitation.

Libert says, “Marketing 101 principles still apply. That means you need compelling incentives to have people join your community. You also need an aggressive programming strategy, one that includes defining your key audiences and targeting them through all available channels to ensure that they know that you want to build a relationship with them.”

4. Putting off going social. Competition negates the luxury of waiting until it’s “convenient” to go social. Start gathering loyal followers and fans now, before another company or advisor woos them first.