One of the constant challenges in using social media for a brand is building and maintaining your user base. In addition to your website, social is owned media and like any medium a bigger megaphone is better. OK, so not really an appropriate metaphor for social since we’ve talked repeatedly about the need to converse and not lecture in social, but you take my point. We don’t want people leaving the party before we have a chance to meet them and chat them up.
So why do people unfollow brands in social? Glad you asked because the folks at Buzzfeed and Fractl surveyed 900 social media users to find out why users unfollow, and what behaviors companies should avoid. The short answer is you’re boring:
21 percent of survey participants said they unfollow brands that post repetitive or boring content. 19 percent say they would unfollow a brand on Facebook if the brand posted too often – more than six times a day. Other activities that cause users to unfollow are offensive activity by brands, and content unrelated to the brand.
That’s from the Social Times report on the study. It’s a fairly widespread issue. Over 25% of people report unfollowing a brand on Facebook in the last month and 12% of Twitter users did so in the last few days. I’m not sure that this should come as a great shock to any of us. No one likes to be bored or offended or badgered, whether in social media or at a cocktail party. The problem is that many of us who manage content in those channels (social, not cocktail parties!) aren’t even aware that we’re being unfollowed. But there are tell-tale signs.
Do you monitor engagement? Every social platform gives us analytics. Has there been a change in how people are reacting to your content? Fewer shares? Users tend to be quiet about their activities – they may just block you from their news feed or remove you from a Twitter list so you don’t get noticed. When was the last time you looked at these data points to see if there has been a change?
Whether it’s social media or email (which suffers from a lot of the same issues according to the study), we have to converse and engage. We can’t be boring or soon we’ll be speaking to an empty room. That’s not our goal, is it?