By Megan Bennett, owner and president of SociallyAcceptable 

Megan Bennett | Writer/Producer | Well Done MarketingWhen companies set up social media channels for their businesses, their goal is pretty much always to share information about themselves and educate their consumers on just how cool, needed, awesome, unique, and innovative their product or service is.

Well, that’s just wrong. Not just a little wrong, either: It’s hand-wringingly, head-spinningly, forehead-smackingly wrong. In fact, 73 percent of businesses think that consumers want to hear about all the new stuff they are creating or producing. But if you ask consumers, only 51 percent of them see that as a reason to interact with a brand.

Social media is not about telling people how great you are. That’s what TV, radio, print, and outdoor have been doing forever. That’s the old way, and it works for those one-way media.

But it doesn’t work for social media. Social media is a two-way street. It’s a conversation. And the sooner companies realize it and the more they take that knowledge to heart, the more successful their forays into the social media world will be.

How do you do it? Well that’s the part you have to figure out. The thing to keep in mind is to keep the conversation real. A real, honest conversation will last a helluva lot longer than something forced. Remember how your mom once told you that you should treat people the way you would like to be treated? Well, there you go. Talk with people like you like people to talk with you. I’m guessing you don’t like salesy shtick. Well then, avoid that.

If you’re managing the social media channels for your company, you have to understand who your audience is, what they want to talk about, and how and when and how often they want to engage with you. You learn this by trial and error. You ask questions. You watch your engagement and you measure. You look for the posts that do the best and you look at when they do the best and you post more of that kind of content at that magic sweet-spot time. And then you keep watching and keep measuring because it’s all going to change again as your audience grows and evolves.

Hey. I never said it would be quick or easy.