Are you starting conversations about your brand–or just starting conversations?

It’s easy to measure the wrong things when it comes to social media. Some people make the mistake of gauging success based on sheer numbers of friends, followers, connections, etc. (Click here for more on that topic.) But even when you commit to the more difficult, more meaningful work of using social media to engage the audience beyond just collecting connections, you still may end up generating conversations that are somewhat meaningless–at least from a marketing perspective.

What’s the difference between just starting conversations and starting conversations related to your brand? Imagine you’re a restaurant. Starting a conversation might look something like a Facebook post that says…:

“The weather’s great! What are your plans for the weekend?”

…while starting a conversation related to your brand might look like this:

“The weather’s perfect for lunch on our patio. What’s your favorite thing about eating al fresco?”

The former will likely get conversations started–but they’ll likely be limited to conversations about the weather. When that happens, it’s tempting to think you’re connecting with people, but it’s really pretty meaningless if you’re trying to build your brand or develop substantive relationships with your customers and prospects.

Instead, consider ways to build a bridge between conversation starters and your brand. Ask yourself, “How is my brand related to the topic?” If the answer is, “it’s not,” then it would likely be better to come up with something else to talk about.

Starting random conversations without any regard for their relevance to your brand is certainly easier than crafting messages uniquely tied to your business. And if you’re accustomed to communicating in that way on your personal page, you may be conditioned to think such “interactions” have value. Remember, however, that likes and comments have limited value if they don’t reinforce your unique brand attributes. Not all likes are alike, and not all comments are commendable. Work on building relationships that last, instead of just making fair weather friends.

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