First off, what exactly is social SEO? Social SEO is a hybridization of social media marketing and SEO. The two disciplines are actually much more intertwined than some marketers may believe and it no longer makes sense to operate them in separate silos.

Fragmentation of your online marketing efforts often means your actions aren't being properly leveraged across various platforms, leading to a diluted and confused brand messaging strategy.

However, just because you recognize that social media marketing and SEO go hand-in-hand, that doesn't mean there aren't pitfalls you should be careful to avoid. Here are 4 social SEO mistakes to watch out for:

1. Using Social Media As An Advertising Vehicle

Please don't turn your social profiles into a soapbox to sell your products.

Most social media interactions are being driven by the consumer. Social profiles are a great way to interact and engage your target audience, build your online brand presence (with a well optimized profile), share and promote your content and much more but they are not an advertising medium for your company.

Businesses that use social media solely as a platform to sell their products/services quickly learn that no one is listening.

2. Assuming Social Profiles Will Replace Your Website

At the other end of the spectrum, there are a handful of companies that invest so much time/effort/manpower into their social profiles that they decide to basically abandon their company website in favor of their Facebook page.

This move could prove deadly for your company. You don't really own your Facebook page, Facebook does. They have the power to shut down your page without warning or explanation. Where would that leave you and your company?

Not to say that I think Facebook is leaving anytime soon, but imagine if Facebook vanished off the face of the Earth tomorrow. If your entire web presence was built on the social network it would vanish too.

3. Expecting Overnight Success

Both SEO and social media are incredibly long term processes. Joining the two together doesn't make them any shorter so don't expect instant success.

Too many site owners are in a hurry to prove ROI (which is understandable in todays economy), but it means that long terms projects are often sacrificed for short term gains. That is no way to succeed in the online marketplace.

Social SEO requires a constant and dedicated effort in order to help your online business thrive.

Remember, social media is built on real relationships (even if they are online) with real people. You cant force someone to interact with your company online, so you have to give them enough time and enough incentive to bother.

4. Targeting The Wrong Audience

One of the basics fundamentals of marketing is to identify and understand your target audience. If you don't have a firm grasp on who you are trying to reach all of your messaging will fall on deaf ears.

When it comes to social SEO, you not only need to know who your audience is, but you also need to learn their online behaviors. You might be trying to sell products to IT directors, but how does the average IT director use the Internet? What sites do they visit? How comfortable are they with social networking? How do they search for things? Knowing how your target audience interacts with the Internet will help you position your website in the best possible way.

Social SEO has the power to radically improve your online brand presence when managed correctly. It takes the best of social media marketing and SEO and fuses them together for an even stronger campaign. However, there are plenty of opportunities to make a simple mistake that could limit or derail your campaign entirely. Try to keep these four in mind when executing your social SEO campaign and you'll be much better off.

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