We've all realized that social networking sites greatly influence your website's popularity. Of course you should take advantage of the effects, but at the same time, try not to be victimized.
The most significant aspect of social networking is 'the majority' rules. Before the social networking era, like or dislike of a website was purely a personal opinion. But today, those opinions spread quickly around the social network, and the general public buys those opinions without people confirming the facts themselves (i.e. not actually visiting the website in question themselves). The worst part is those opinions are not based on fair and objective an alyses; they can be based on biases or inflated rumours. Whatever they are, when the majority believes them, rumours will become 'truth'.
The best example of 'majority won-over truth' is geocentric theory. When everyone used to believe the sun went around the Earth, the truth (the Earth goes around the sun, of course) was rejected by learned society, no matter how many observed facts Galileo Galilei presented. And human nature has not changed, despite our technological advancement. People are still affected by rumours and they tend to believe what the majority believes.
To avoid a wrongful reputation, try not to give the wrong impression. For example, if testimonials of your products sound artificial, that wrong impression won't just prevent your products from selling, but it could trigger a rumour that the whole business is just a scheme. Even though you are running your business in a trustworthy manner, if your site conveys a negative impression, your site could get a bad reputation. You should not be deceptive, but it is important to make your honesty plausible. True or false, 'the majority' decides what 'truth' is in social networking sites.
© June, 2012