Barry Libert, CEO of Mzinga and author of “Social Nation: How to Harness the Power of Social Media to Attract Customers, Motivate Employees, and Grow Your Business,” says we are “on the cusp of a new era,” which calls for a shift to social media to connect with clients on a personal level. Last week we told you about four pitfalls to avoid when “going social.” Here are the next four from Libert.

1. Underestimating the power of going social. Social media and community collaboration bring many benefits, such as brand building, customer loyalty and retention, cost reductions, improved productivity and revenue growth.

2. Relying on traditional approaches. Ten years ago, you would have been mystified to think of pushing out ideas and products to your customers before they were as complete as you could get them. With social networking, that approach is now becoming outmoded.

3. Develop your own social software and analytics solutions. Like remodeling the office or handling legal issues, this is not a DIY task. Hire someone skilled in those areas. Libert says, “Various vendors provide ready-made, complete solutions to help you build your fans, followers and friends.”

4. Treating members and fans as “numbers.” Create a community for the people who matter most in making your business thrive–a place for them that is connected to your brand. They invest in you by buying products and services from you, so invest in them by creating a community they can call their own.

Barry Libert is an author, keynote speaker and CEO of Mzinga(R), a provider of social software, services and analytics. For more information about Barry, go to www.mzinga.com.