Marketing for social media platforms offers small businesses a number of advantages when compared to more traditional forms of marketing. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram allow businesses to connect to their target audience by instantly responding to consumer comments, providing compelling content that generates interest, and by offering a unique look behind the scenes that shows a side of the business not normally seen by the public.
But once you’ve successfully drawn users to your brand and convinced them to join your online community, do they stick around or do they quickly drop off?
While it’s always exciting for a business to see how many new followers they’ve accumulated each week on social media, how often do you look at how many users “unfollow” you each week? User disengagement can tell just as big – if not bigger – part of the story regarding how your small business is doing marketing for social media platforms.
Successful social media marketing requires delicately balancing the needs of your audience with the needs of your business. Shift the direction too much in the direction of your business, and you lose the trust and interest of your audience. Here are a few of the top reasons why people may be unfollowing your brand according to a survey conducted by Sprout Social – and what you can do to reverse the trend.
Posting Too Much Promotional Content
This is by far the most difficult line to walk, as over 58 percent of users follow a brand because they’re interested in receiving special promotional offers. While everyone loves a good deal, the top reason why users unfollow a business through social media is due to seeing too much promotional content.
To strike just the right balance, consider following an 75/25 rule when planning out your social calendar. Basically, try spending just 25 percent of your time on social media platforms highlighting your brand content with call-to-actions. The remaining 75 percent of the time should be spent sharing, creating, and curating content that provides your audience with some value. This can include entertaining blog posts, interesting images that relate to your brand, or spotlights on individual members of your team.
Keep in mind that while social media platforms offer you direct access to your audience, abusing this access by only trying to make a sale will quickly lead to more unfollows as people lose interest in what your brand has to say. Keep your audience engaged and entertained, and they will be far more likely to respond positively when you do extend a special offer or promotion.
Providing Irrelevant Information
The Social Sprout survey found that over 41 percent of users unfollowed a brand if they frequently post irrelevant information.
The brands and personalities we follow on social media impact our lives in significant ways. The average person spends nearly two hours a day using social media platforms because they value the relationships they cultivate online. If you’re not adding value in this type of dynamic, you simply become static noise that will quickly become tuned out. Once a user scrolls past another post they find offers no value, it’s just a short time before they hit the “unfollow” button to remove you from their feed.
Providing relevant content means understanding what aspects of your brand provides value and helps to bring your community together. Look for ways that allow you to both engage with your audience while also successfully highlighting your business. Brands like Patagonia have enjoyed tremendous success by creating content that illustrates what their product does in nature by posting user generated videos and photos. They post informational videos on subjects that interest their audience – like hiking and camping – that don’t double as an ad or marketing pitch. They also ask questions about what people like about their products and how they could be improved. Most importantly of all, they actively engage with their audience by creating a two-way dialogue that makes followers feel important.
The Social Sprout survey also found that 35 percent of users will unfollow a brand they view as tweeting too much.
It’s not uncommon for most brands to post more content to Twitter than they do to other social media platforms. This is – in part – due to studies that have shown the lifespan of a tweet is only 24 minutes. If your maximum exposure for any given tweet is less than the length of a TV sitcom, why not post multiple times an hour?
Unfortunately, a brand can quickly saturate its followers’ feed until their message no longer resonates. Just as you learn to tune out a relative that continues to post inspirational messages all day on Facebook, over-tweeting can quickly lead you to losing your audience’s attention.
While it can be tempting to tweet all day to get your message out, show some restraint. Studies have found that the optimal number a tweets a business should make a day is between three to five. After that, user engagement and interest quickly drops off.