Social media has the potential to grow small businesses in ways that would have been unthinkable just 10 years ago. But only for those who realize it’s a dialogue, not a monologue.

Too many companies disseminate content without an ear to how the community is responding, says Melanie Spring -- founder of the Washington, D.C.-based marketing firm Sisarina. “In reality, it needs to be a conversation,” she says.

For this reason, Sisarina introduced a TweetUp event series in D.C. where local business people could connect in real life with their social media contacts. Events like these stress to attendees how digital platforms promote human-to-human interaction.

Learn more from Spring in this short video about how business owners can change their approach to Facebook and Twitter to spawn authentic engagement.

Related: What Truly Authentic Companies Know

Related: Tweet Naked (Book)