I have been thinking a lot lately about how businesses are using social media to develop relationships with their consumers in hopes of creating increased opportunity.

Many businesses will say they understand that social means social, but in the purest sense, do they?

One glimpse at their social networking feed and you might say to yourself… wow, these people are engaging their followers. And don’t get me wrong, good use of social networking requires consistent engagement, listening, and responding to the community.

However, if we peel back the covers another layer, we will most often see that most if not all of this engagement is entirely me-centric.

With me-centric engagement, it only requires that you only engage with those who engage you based on an update you posted or perhaps even a question, comment, praise, or concern.

With this, it’s all about you.

And hey, kudos to you for engaging, listening, and responding in a consistent manner. That is a good thing and it will pay dividends down the road. It says you have a plan for using social media beyond just broadcasting your messages and therefore just creating noise.

That being said, what if you took your me-centric strategy and upped it to an us-centric strategy?

Can you image what adopting this strategy would do for your brand, company, or organization?

Now, I don’t expect you to accomplish this with every single person you are following, but making it a daily discipline could bring you huge dividends.

Me-centric versus Us-centric is the difference between waiting for people to come to you based on who you are rather than you going to others and engaging them based on who they are.

When a brand, company, organization, or even personality has done that to me… they made a fan for life because suddenly, it wasn’t about them and what they offer… it was about me.

This happened for me one night when I was on both Facebook and Twitter. On Twitter, I was communicating back and forth with a local news broadcast team about a news story they were reporting. At the same time, I was on Facebook posting random stuff.

I will never forget this. I had just got done posting a question on my Facebook wall about whether people liked red or black licorice better.

Guess who the first person was to respond by posting a response to that question? It was one of the news anchors I was tweeting with about a story they were covering. And you know what else… they were also in the middle of the broadcast (probably commercial break) when they responded to my licorice question.

What? Did you just read that correctly?

This is what I call Us-centric. If as a brand, company, organization, or personality, you can get this down…

Because quite frankly, in the end… you should do this because this is how the rest of us do this. This is what social networking is all about.