7 Guaranteed Ways To Lose Twitter Followers

Recent research provides some interesting insights into why consumers fall out of love with a brand on social media. In a newly released report, 'The Social Breakup,' the team set out to "understand consumers' motivations and actions as they terminate their relationships with brands through Email, Facebook, and Twitter."

facebook-wrong-300x237Recent research provides some interesting insights into why consumers fall out of love with a brand on social media. In a newly released report, ‘The Social Breakup,’ the team set out to “understand consumers’ motivations and actions as they terminate their relationships with brands through Email, Facebook, and Twitter.”

Based on the research, here are seven reasons consumers unlike or unfollow brands on Facebook and Twitter, along with tips for avoiding each.

You struggle to keep content engaging and fresh

Check out these stats. 52% of consumers unfollowed a brand on Twitter because the content became “repetitive or boring.” On Facebook, 38% unliked a brand for the same reason. This speaks to the fact that social media, particularly for business purposes, is simply not easy. It requires investments of time, money and intellectual capital that most organizations are unwilling to put forth.

Rather than think like a media outlet that’s fighting and scrapping for subscribers, eyeballs or ratings, brands tend to get lazy and default to almost exclusively pushing out press releases or media coverage via Facebook and Twitter. Most consumers aren’t willing to put up with that over the long haul. Companies have to start building content exclusively for their social networks, or at a minimum better tailoring things for them.

You turn on the fire-hose and walk away

Related to pumping out “boring” information is having a solid understanding of consumer expectations related to frequency of updates. A full 44% of consumers said they unliked a brand on Facebook because the brand posted “too frequently” and 39% gave the same reason for unfollowing a brand on Twitter. Just because technology allows you to auto-publish content from one place out through several others with one click of a mouse doesn’t mean you should do it!

There may be instances that warrant a higher frequency of updates (major announcement, event, etc.). In that case let your Fans or Followers know ahead of time and give them a timetable for when normal update frequency will resume. It’s all about setting expectations.

You don’t know what the deal is

Speaking of expectations, like it or not, consumers have been trained to expect deals on social networks. In fact, 27% of consumers said they’ve unfollowed a brand on Twitter because “they didn’t offer enough deals” and 24% said the same for Facebook. Here, the solution is simpler.

Sure, a one-time only deal offered via a social media channel can get you an influx of Fans or Followers, but it most likely won’t lead to a long-term relationship (which should be the goal). As a brand, you have to make the choice–either offer regular ‘deals’ via social channels or don’t offer any, there is no in-between.

You only speak marketing

We’ve heard it over and over, marketers often struggle to break free from marketing speak and that often spells doom on social media channels. In fact, 43% of consumers have unliked a brand on Facebook due to being inundated with ‘marketing posts’ and 41% said the same goes on Twitter.

Social networks are about people and relationships, so even if you’re operating a brand presence, you’ve got to make it personable. The key is to take off your marketer hat and be a real person – just be you align with key brand attributes if at all possible.

You overly self-promote

Nobody likes someone who is constantly self-promoting, and the same goes for brands on social networks. 24% of consumers unfollowed a brand on Facebook because its posts were “too promotional” and 21% said the same for Twitter. As counter-intuitive as it may be, brands that promote others more-so than they promote themselves tend to fare the best. Bottom line: it’s not all about you.

You don’t add ‘real’ value

The numbers: 17% on Twitter, 20% on Facebook. That’s how many people cited brand posts that didn’t focus on “real value” as the reason for unfollowing or unliking. While reason #4 above is about ensuring your brand presence on social networks has a personality, the notion of adding value refers to when that personality goes too far.

You might be willing to put up with mindless updates (“I’m about to watch Avatar on Netflix”) from close friends, but when it comes to brand channels, sharing such information too often won’t cut it. Limit the silly or mindless updates to once or twice a week at most–your fan and follower count will thank you for it.

It’s not you, it’s me

Just like in life, sometimes things change and your content may not be relevant to someone any more. 12% of people on Facebook and an equal percentage on Twitter cited changed circumstances as a reason for breaking up with a brand on social media.

Outside of these seven reasons, why do you fall out of love with brands on social media?

Trevor Jonas is Director of Social Media for Access Communications, a full service public relations agency with offices in San Francisco and New York City. He oversees social media strategy and execution for two of the agency’s largest accounts and serves in an advisory role across the client base. An avid blogger since late 2004 and early adopter of social media tools and technologies,Trevor has coached and trained countless C-level executives, customer service agents and corporate communications professionals on the ins-and-outs of effectively engaging in social media. He has contributed to Global PR Blog Week, WebProNews, Social Media Today and has been quoted on social media topics by Read/WriteWeb, Webbiquity, Wired and other outlets. Trevor currently runs two blogs – TrevR’s Takes, which focuses on social media, and The Cork Board, which focuses on his hometown the Napa Valley.