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A recent post on the Schaefer Marketing Solutions Grow blog asked if we’re killing our customers with engagement. The post suggested that maybe social media efforts should be concentrated on helping people in valuable ways rather than creating “noise” through a contest, question, or conversation. The author says that the conversation-based approach to social media is business-centric, not customer-centric. Tim Kachuriak, our Senior Vice President for Innovation and Optimization, responds with his take on social media conversations.

Want to master Facebook?  Come up with a good idea.  People don’t care about your organization and they certainly don’t care about your campaign.  People want amusement and enlightenment; they want content that inspires, shocks, surprises, and delights them.

But you are just using Facebook to syndicate your blog posts.  You are recycling the same old stuff.  You are so obsessed with being “liked” that you forget what it’s like to be LOVED.  Because of that, your voice is becoming less and less relevant to your audience and it’s fading further into the background.

So start by listening to your audience.  There are a ton of tools out there to help you do it, including Google Alerts, Twitter Advanced Search, HootSuite, TweetDeck, Radian6, and others.  Get to know what kind of things that make your target audience LOL and ROFL.  Start to analyze what they like to share.

Then, instead of just trying to figure out how to automate everything, take some time to do some manual thinking.  Think of a cool idea.  If you forgot how to do this, hire someone to help you do it.  Think about an experience that you can provide your audience that would be worth their time, something that amuses, enlightens, inspires, shocks, surprises, and delights them.

Then, do that.  Create a new website if you have to.  Don’t worry about branding it—in fact, it may be more effective if it is unbranded from the onset.  Your goal is to ignite a conversation about your idea so do make it easy for people to share it, but don’t be too pushy.  If people like your idea, they’ll share it.

Now that you have effectively engaged your audience—now that they are part of the conversation—you can introduce a call to action.  People will respond if it fits within the context of the conversation.  In fact, when you take this approach, the results may amuse, enlighten, inspire, shock, surprise, and even delight you.  And that is something worth sharing.