From MySpace is the main place to “what’s MySpace?” illustrates how rapidly social media has evolved. Not only do network sites come and go, but the technology to share information and connections has also grown exponentially. As brands and individuals engage in social media conversations, it often seems that they are talking at each other rather than to one another. One explanation for that is the level of maturity or experience of the participants. By maturity, I don’t mean simply “age-appropriate,” but rather a sense of community, of sharing, of not just being all about me. The recent stunt at the MLB All-Star Game, where a spectator vowed to run onto the field if he received 1,000 tweets or retweets, is the epitome of selfishness. He got his “ask” and then he got arrested, but one wonders if he got any “sense” at all.

Brands have to be cognizant of their own online behavior and “asks” so that they do not appear to be immature. There is big difference between playful humor and rude arrogance—and brands need to be aware of the distinction. Always drawing attention may seem natural to a brand marketing manager, but it is not in the best long-term interest of their product or service. Showing how the product or service relates to the consumer, whether B2B or B2C, is the first step in mature behavior. That relationship is what others want to learn about. The how and why a product matters to others is the real currency of online conversation.

Another indicator of mature behavior is the willingness to let others in on the conversation and to be part of the dialogue. Don’t let your desire to be all-marketer-all-the-time define your online community. Ask for and listen to the opinions of others. Share those comments and observations and see how well that behavior can improve results. Even though a branded community needs to have business goals and meet certain KPIs, it needs to do so in a mature fashion to really make the grade.

Have you noticed any outrageous behavior by brands? Feel free to share.

Kevin Lynch
Kevin Lynch

The focus of Kevin’s 40+ year career has been on strategic counsel, alliance and partnership formation and business development.