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7 Reasons People Unfollow Brands on Social Media

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Jayne Millar
24-Jan-2017
Facebook, Twitter

Social media is a great tool for companies to reach their target audience. While gaining followers on your social sites can be straight forward, retaining them can be harder than expected. To help you retain your followers, we’ve listed the top 7 social media pitfalls that drive users away.

First thing’s first, just like it’s normal to have churn in business (customers who leave you) it’s normal to have some people un-follow you online. In the end, it‘s human nature - you simply can’t keep everyone interested all of the time. However, there are some things that brands do on social media which can provoke the dreaded ‘unfollow’.

The following are the 7 most common reasons people unfollow brands on social media, so you can keep them in mind when developing your social content strategy.


1. You’re boring them

The top reason people unfollow brands (or anything really) on social media, is that they find the content boring. If you’re posting the same type of content every time, only talking about yourself, your products, your services, your events etc, chances are your followers will lose interest.

So what is important to followers? Fresh, new, and relevant content, that will entertain, visually stimulate, or engage them in some way. Always ask yourself if what you are posting will resonate with your audience. Will it empower them in any way? Are you providing them with something they’ll care about?

If your audience finds value in what you’re posting, they’ll continue to come back.


2.  You’re guilty of “posting diarrhoea”

The second primary reason people unfollow a brand is if it posts too often. Quality versus quantity is key with social media. If what you are posting is getting good engagement, then that is far more important than how often you post.

How much is too much? This really depends on the brand, and what your audience likes and appreciates. The best way to figure this out is to look carefully at what your followers are telling you and to do some testing:

  • Firstly, take a good look at your analytics/insights to figure out the best days and times to post. You can also find out what types of posts are getting the best engagement from your followers.
  • Come up with a few different schedules, and different types of content.
  • Try out each option for at least a month, to generate enough statistics, and compare them to see which combination performs the best.
  • Remember, whatever schedule you settle on, stick to it so that your audience knows what to expect.

3. “It’s not you, it’s them”

Over time, the number of pages and people we follow on social networks tends to multiply to a point where our newsfeeds become ‘cluttered’. This is when many people decide to cull who they follow. This scenario is hard to avoid, but here are a couple of things you can do to try to avoid being culled:

  1. Regularly review your past posts to see which ones strike a chord with your audience. Continue sharing similar types of content to keep your followers focused and interested.
  2. Remember, visually stimulating/engaging content (images, videos and infographics) will take precedence over all other types of content.

4. You offended them

Activities that could be considered ‘offensive’ include:

  • Too much automation i.e. copying and pasting the same responses.
  • Bad use of humour or criticism i.e. satire – be careful, context is everything!
  • Poor use of hashtags i.e. don’t try and be too clever or use too many hashtags – keep it simple and relevant, and always check if it has been used before for potentially sensitive matters.
  • Poor grammar or spelling mistakes – make sure your posts are checked by someone else if spelling and grammar are not your strong points.
  • Polarising points of view.

5. Your content is irrelevant

Content that is a poor fit with your brand values (or doesn’t relate to your audience) could be considered irrelevant. Start by reviewing your past posts and seeing which ones did best in terms of engagement. You should be able to work out the relevance factor by comparing them.


6.  You took too long

If someone takes the time to post to your page, they expect an answer from you in a timely fashion. If you’re not prepared to respond or acknowledge the followers who engage with you, you can wave them goodbye.

Ignoring people on social networks is, well, not very social. It is a good idea to have a social media response plan in place to help you identify the type of comment and to respond accordingly. Here’s a flow chart that can help you decide when and how to respond.


7.  They prefer your competitor

Occasionally people may unfollow your page because they come across a competitor’s brand they’d rather follow instead. But once again, this is a classic case of personal choice and all you can do to prevent it is to try and understand your audience better than your competitors.

Keep an eye on what your key competitors are up to on their social media profiles to see what’s working for them. Facebook has a useful section in the ‘insights’ area called “Pages to Watch” which enables you add competitors and compare how they are performing. You can view their top performing posts to get a better understanding of what type of content is working best for your common audience base.


So, now that you know the main reasons people unfollow brands, you can start to focus on what you can do keep them interested. There can be many other reasons people might unfollow brands on social media, but it’s always good practice to keep these in mind.

If you would like assistance developing a social media strategy, contact Xplore.

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