Social media is about conversations. Social media is not about pushing marketing messages to the tools that support social media.

People are joining online communities using social media tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter because they are looking for connections; looking to communicate their thoughts, ideas and experiences with the people and companies they do business with on a regular basis.

If you are simply inserting your messaging into these online communities without engaging in the discussion, you are missing the point of what social media is about.

By participating in the online conversations, it gives the appearance to your friends, followers and connections that your business has some personality, that there are real people behind the brick walls.

The best way to do this is to respond to the Facebook wall posts, answer questions, address concerns, thank those who take the time to retweet your Twitter messages, talk with people who interact with your messages in the LinkedIn groups you are a member of.

All these steps are simple things every business should be including in their social media marketing strategy to become actively engaged in the conversation.