When used effectively, social media can be an extremely powerful tool for brands to engage with consumers and build large, dedicated audiences. That being said, it can be difficult for brands to properly engage with consumers on social media. Building a successful social media marketing strategy requires companies to understand why people unfollow brands on social media, and what behaviors drive people away from engaging with brands.
The problem is not that people simply do not want to engage with brands on social media- a recent study by Sprout Social found that 86% of people on social media do want to engage with, and actively follow, brands on social media. So what is the problem? Many brands are failing to deliver what their audiences actually want to see from brands on social media. Some reasons that people unfollow brands include:
- The content is too promotional. While brands use social media to market to larger audiences, the reality is that people don’t want to feel like they’re being marketed to. The Sprout study reported that 60% of social media users are annoyed with too many promotions from brands. People prefer posts on social media to have content that feels relevant and interesting to them.
- The posting is one-sided. 1 in 4 people reported being annoyed when a brand did not reply to them on social media. That being said, only 1 in 10 messages on social media get an actual response from brands. People are going to feel unvalued if a brand churns out promotional material but does not take the time to actively engage with their audiences and hear their concerns and ideas.
- The brand tries to hard to be “hip”. Many brands try to tap into current trends by using phrases or words that appeal to younger audiences in an attempt to seem cool- words like “on fleek” or “bae”. According to the Sprout survey, however, 38% of people find it annoying when a brand uses slang or jargon. It gives off the impression that the brand is trying too hard to seem hip or cool, when really it just makes it come across as out of touch.
- The brand has no personality. On the flip side, 34% people find a lack of personality to be just as bad as trying too hard to be hip. Content that is funny, or unique, is going to get a lot more engagement than content that feels bland and dry. Companies need to find a good balance and be sure that they are communicating in a way that reflects the brand but is still fresh and engaging.
- People are embarrassed by the brand. A reported 7 out of 10 people have reported that they unfollowed a brand due to fear of their friends seeing. Many people see social media as a reflection of themselves, and thus people don’t want to be associated with brands that seem outdated or that have a bad reputation.
In conclusion, social media is a powerful tool for engaging potential consumers, but there are many ways it can go wrong. People want to engage with brands on social media, but many are dissatisfied with the content the brands are delivering, and choose to unfollow brands. It is crucial for marketers to have an understanding of what drives people to unfollow and disengage with brands on social media, so that they can develop more effective social media strategies that will drive up engagement in the future.