Why are brands’ social media fans unfollowing them—and what can they do about it?

by | Aug 27, 2019 | Public Relations

Brand followers on social media are a fickle bunch—it just takes one slip for your average “fan” to unfollow you, and therefore fall out of the loop on your special offers and insider deals. New research from social marketing research firm GoodFirms indeed reveals that nearly 4 out of every 5 people have recently unfollowed a brand or person on social media.

The reasons consumers stop following a social media page are just as different as they are, but the majority seem to turn away when they are no longer interested, or if they start seeing irrelevant content—which is why marketers and brand managers need to make brand-relevant content, consistency, user-engagement, and transparency their main focus points in order to retain their followers.

Social media lives in a virtual world, but the actions taken there are very real—and the impact on key business metrics like awareness, sales, consumer loyalty is critical. Another recent GoodFirms report shared insights on user habits and social media experiences with brand managers, social media marketers, and businesses. The new report includes the input of 450+ social media users from around the world.

The new research reveals that 85.12 percent of participants have unfollowed a brand, and the reasons were quite varied—no longer interested, posted too much or too often, made offensive posts, lack of engagement, fake news, too many promotions, etc. One key reason they unfollowed a brand was due to irrelevant content (66.99 percent). Branding experts stress that consistently putting up relevant content is the best way to connect with your customers and prospects to generate leads, make sales and enhance your business globally.

Why are brands’ social media fans unfollowing them—and what can they do about it?

What makes people lose interest in your brand’s social media presence and unfollow the page?

According to the research, over time, many brands tend to keep serving up the same information or otherwise lose their edge, and fail to induce creativity and user-engagement from their posters. Branding expert Christina Albe, who founded Haus von Albe, said she followed a few brands on Instagram that attracted her with nice offers on home goods, mattresses, etc. But with time, she unfollowed most of them because they “made me feel self-conscious or were serving the same kind of content they had been for years. I was no longer inspired.”

She added that she can be interested in one type of brand content only for so long. She responded to some brands she unfollowed, “Thank you for the lifestyle content and new product announcements, but what about a bigger message about products. How do you take that on in a newer way?”

Why are brands’ social media fans unfollowing them—and what can they do about it?

So how can brands maintain a user’s interest and avoid getting unfollowed?

Most people follow a social media page because they saw an interesting post or product announcement, or to sign up for offers, so it’s no surprise that those followers would lose interest if the announcements of offers no longer targeted their needs—which is why brands need to stay relevant and consistent. And a dash of entertainment never hurts.

Consumers are looking for brands to act more like people, with multifaceted interests and opinions, for continued interest and engagement. Albe’s advice for brands: “Take a stand, show your diversity, teach me something, give me a takeaway of each post, rather than just posting a pretty photo with an ‘inspirational’ quote—I already get a lot of those from my friends. I don’t need it from a brand.”

Richard Carufel
Richard Carufel is editor of Bulldog Reporter and the Daily ’Dog, one of the web’s leading sources of PR and marketing communications news and opinions. He has been reporting on the PR and communications industry for over 17 years, and has interviewed hundreds of journalists and PR industry leaders. Reach him at richard.carufel@bulldogreporter.com; @BulldogReporter


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