If you’re thinking about shifting marketing dollars away from traditional advertising to focus on social media, you are not alone. In Nielsen’s 2013 Paid Social Media Advertising Report, 39% of advertisers said that they would pull budget dollars away from offline marketing budgets to pay for social media ads.

At the same time, advertisers have their doubts about the effectiveness of paid social media advertising. Likes, shares, repins and retweets don’t track sales generated and brand lift, which are the metrics that most advertisers expect to see when calculating ROI.

In fact, social media “engagement” is not very useful if your company can’t turn followers and fans into paying customers. Having 8,000 Facebook likes (or 80,000 likes for that matter) is meaningless when only a handful of those people are interested in taking their relationship with you further.

Forget casual contacts and focus on genuine connections instead.

What’s involved? Frankly, companies need to come to grips with turning their backs on certain followers. These include the “lookie lous” that were attracted by freebies and other incentives when social media was still considered a popularity contest. Never really viable prospects, they remain nameless, faceless—and disengaged. Yet some companies continue to churn out the same old, boring brand messages because they are afraid to make a point, take a stand or otherwise stand out for fear of alienating a hard-won and potentially lucrative social media base.

What these companies don’t want to admit is that many of these social media followers will never be paying consumers. They can’t be “activated” into action because they aren’t listening and they don’t care.

Stop trying to engage the disengaged masses and find your true brand voice.

The trend watchers at Trendwatching.com go so far as to say that it is time for brands to push back—to engage in honest exchanges with consumers and to demand more of them in the way of action. As an example, they point to a campaign by UNICEF Sweden which calls ‘slactivists’ on the carpet for not backing up their social media ‘likes’ with the real-world financial donations necessary to save lives.

The UNICEF Sweden example is extreme, yet the point is that social media marketers must be willing to demand things of followers and fans if they want them to do more than just “like” and “share.” At the same time, Trendwatching.com offers very important advice:

Remember though, customers have to care about what you demand from them, and more importantly why. So make it matter.”

Which brings us back to the word chutzpah, which means “gall” or “nerve” in Yiddish. It also means “confidence” or “courage” which, as writer Maseena Ziegler describes in this Forbes article, are what it takes to stand out and succeed in our fast-paced, 140-character social media-obsessed world.  Used appropriately, chutzpah is “the new charisma” that connects companies with customers and keeps them coming back and referring others.

So go ahead, give chutzpah a try. Chances are that your real customers and prospects will find it to be a refreshing change.