It's the community life cycle, stupid

If a brand shoves product all day to your throat via social media, you have two solutions:

  1. Go along (which makes me assume you enjoy it)
  2. Leave

Most people (I'm also pointing at you, brands) don't consider the second group, because what matters is those people who stay with us for who we are.

Except it's not that simple.

Communities live based on common interests; otherwise, they're not communities, they're just groups of random people who happened to be at the same place, at the same time. And interests, as you may have experienced throughout your life, tend to vary. This means communities, by definition, are not something 100% stable or predictable; they suffer life cycles, and a community life cycle is what makes us say something's not right and something must change, because if we don't, the community dies.

Having worked with social media for over two years now, I have seen communities being born, grow, mature and yes, die. I have also seen communities being brought back to life, by the way (feels extra special when you're part of the ones who did it).

The punchline is communities have a personality that changes over time, and you better deal with it. This means that for every member you gain, you may be losing another one. And while you may argue that you only care about those who stay (it's plausible), this doesn't mean you should simply ignore why the rest of them left.

If you feel your community is healthy just by talking about your product (or anything else), that's great. But don't assume that this will last forever. Today you may have lost 100 people who you assumed are not needed based on who you are today, but... what happens when you have to be someone else tomorrow?