Usual policy applies - thanks Mr Giles
Before I get properly in the post, I've got to put a disclaimer on this one:
*WARNING - OVERSTRETCHED ANALOGY ALERT*
Right, that's over with. Cocktail parties then. Not much to do with advertising, you might think.
And, you'd probably be right. But humour me, just this once...
You know at cocktail parties, when there are always people who have hordes of people around them. Slightly unreal, too perfect. Defined principally by their amazing ability to bore the piss out of all and sundry.
This is what most brands are online.
You don't try and have a conversation with this sort of person, simply because you feel you'll get shouted down by their generalised, seemingly automatous conversational skills and beliefs. You know the kind - those who have such wide ranging and rambling beliefs that talking to them and defining what they mean is like nailing sick to a wall. Not pleasant, oddly revolting and impossible.
Now, what about those people who sit in the corner, clutching their drinks and looking a bit disinterested? Yeah...those people. Those, who if provoked, will bore you senseless unless you are interested in their (slightly boring) conversation topics.
This is what some brands are online.
A wee bit limited. Conversations don't get very far from a basic point. Any attempts to integrate them into the wider party usually fall flat. Don't usually get on very well with the opposite sex. If you want to listen and are interested then great; they can be very interesting. The sort of person who, if interested in audio, knows more about the expensive wires than the speakers - because, as EVERYONE should know, you should spend twice as much on the wires.
How about the last group? It's a bit smaller than our first group. But damn, people are there because they want to be. One person in particular - who has his own style, way of talking and method of storytelling, is interesting people. He's not preaching, but letting it go with the flow and interjecting when it's appropriate.
This is what most brands should strive to be online.
It must be stressed that not every person can do this. Some are like our first boorish sort. These people should stay away from parties, or indeed, any form of social media. Listen a bit more, for God's sake. Define what you mean.
The second; well, yes, some people are like this as well. They, at least, know what they mean. It's a bit of a one way conversation though. Not satisfying, but at least you know what they stand for, and no, they'd never betray you or do anything of the sort. But they might turn out to be a bit of a broken record. Which no-one (except those who are really interested) really likes.
The latter; well, don't we all wish. We soon find out whether we can do that though. First, and most importantly, we have to listen. And I'm not sure if everyone can.