What can motivate people to unfollow your business on social media?

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What can motivate people to unfollow your business? The results are not surprising, though many business choose to ignore the data in favour of old school marketing methods, ego driven motives and generally lacking in care factor with hyper corporatism.

At mebsites.com we like to market using our personalty and we have a different skew on things so lets put our spin on the data below. Note: I would also recommend reading the other articles in the bibliography to get their perspective too.

Image Source: sproutsocial.com 27 Feb 2017

So what do your customers really want on social media – and what annoys them or turns them off? To find out, Sprout Social recently conducted a survey of more than 1,000 people to get their thoughts on various aspects of branded social media content. And while the survey pool is relatively small, some compelling trends did emerge from the data, which are worth noting for those looking to maximize their company’s social media presence.

Core data and some common objectives from business owners.

71% of people surveyed have unfollowed a brand on social media because they were embarrassed

This is totally understandable and for some products or industries the embarrassment factor may need to be accounted for, such as; explicit or adult brands, personal products, political positions.

A great example of this is all the companies in the United States right now trying to capitalise on political trends. Many have miss stepped and it has cost them big league! While a position is great you might want to check outside your bubble to make sure your brand is not going to be dragged unknowingly into nut bar land.

75% of people surveyed have purchased something because they saw it on social media

This is so true and it is why all businesses are or should be on social media. The trick is the delivery. Being a business and being part of your customers social network comes with some responsibility and should be done in a measured way. You don't want to be viewed as the crazy uncle who constantly shares lizard people conspiracy theories to the family all day.

57% of people are more likely to buy from a business they follow on social media

People buy from who they know and trust first. This is the great thing about social media. You can earn customers trust via relevant and good content.

86% of people surveyed like to and do follow businesses and brands they like of social media

There are huge opportunities for local businesses to build an audience of advocates.

41% of people will unfollow a brand that does not stay on topic or relevant to their market.

You must keep relevant. Users are following your social channel for a reason. What you do is something they are interested in first, so you need to keep your content interesting and within the space your users are interested in. That doesn't mean it needs to be all vanilla, but if you have a strong manly male audience interested in cars don't start talking about makeup and strong political issues. Keep it within their space of interest on the topic.

For example:
Cars -> Tools -> Racing -> Garage -> Mates
Babies -> Baby accessories -> baby health -> Baby activities -> Home making
Shoes -> Fashion -> (sports / Celebrity)
Business -> Marketing -> Finance -> accounting -> Systems -> Networking -> Sales
Skincare-> Products -> Practice -> Health food -> lifestyle

Stay on topic to be concise. Things can be different if you are the brand (A social celebrity), as people will be following you to know what you are doing and your thoughts. However, if your social media starts going in a different direction to your branding your unfollows will increase. Staying on topic and on what the market wants from you is important.

Some popular examples:
Gary Vaynerchuk
Tai Lopez
Kim Cardassian
Gas Monkey Garage
General Electric

57% of people surveyed find constant promotional offers on social media annoying.

To quote Gary Vaynerchuk a great method is the jab jab right hook. Put into social media terms; content content (promotional) offer. It is the age old tactic of offering something for free to make your users more receptive to an offer later. Nothing special rely, just in a different format to the traditional bricks and mortar shop front.

Now that we know where to aim our content positively, what are the actions that we need to be mindful of on social media as a business owner or content manager

Image Source: sproutsocial.com 27 Feb 2017

Posting too many promotions

1) Bombarding users with promotions and products. The days of interruption marketing are over. Stop screaming your offers and promotions at your users. Most of the time they are following you for the brand experience first and the offers. The more good content you post the more users will be willing to consider the measured use of offers when you do post them. We like to use the 80/20 rule 80% of your posts should be content 20% offers.

Using Slang or Jargon

2) Jargon is great if you are in the space already, but you need to be constantly in the mind set of educating new users/followers. Take the time to explain the jargon and slang otherwise your content will have no point of context for new followers and they will in frustration.

Not having any personality to their accounts

3) I am a big fan of being yourself and pushing this through your brand. Every business wants or says they want to be professional, helpful etc etc you can still have this and be yourself. I'm not saying everything should be over the top zany, I'm saying be yourself. If you are bland and boring, be it. If you are a little quirky (like me) then be it. Just portray yourself. That way from your social, to your website, to your phone manner to the actual delivery everything will be consistent.

For example, Mebsites is very code/r focused and we are for the most part your typical nerdy coders. We are very exact, introverted, analytical, practical and measured, with a slight twist of quirkiness which sets us apart. We work hard to make sure this is portrayed through all our social media materials and we embrace our analytical and practical approach. Customers come to us for this reason and if they are looking for loud extroverted type of agency we clarify and even refer on if it is not going to be a good fit.

No one wants to look at a news feed wall of bland.

Trying to be funny when they're not

4) No body enjoys a good dad joke more than me. However, being funny is actually an art and it takes practice. As I said in point 3 be who you are not who you think you should be. Honest can pay big online.

Not replying to my messages

5) Not engaging with customers is just poor practice. I once took over a reluctant clients social who had told me many times it was a waste of many and what they 'just' needed was more customer enquiry. I take a look at their facebook account and see 42 unanswered direct messages. Many saying; how much for?, can I book you for Tuesday, why aren't you replying I wan't to buy xyz.

No wonder he had a problem. Ignoring your followers, posts, replies and messages is akin to having a retail store and ignoring everyone who walks in and then complaining no one is buying! (Note: I have seen this in practive too).

Always engage with anyone who interacts with your social account. Especially, when it is public. You can turn negative posts into massive positives and business. Remember it is not just the follower who may see the post and your reply, but all their friends and many others who view the post.

As an added benefit, social sites and google measure levels of engagement with posts and increase the rank, reach and suggest-ablity of your content based on not only the amount of views, but comments / replies and positive / negative responses.

Why do people follow a brand on social media

I'll finish up with why people actually will follow your brand on social media.

73% Are interested in your product or service
59% Are interested in promotions
51% Find your content entertaining
42% Were offered an incentive ( I wouldn't target to get followers like this)
42% Interested in your industry
25% To communicate directly with your business
21% Because a friend or family member had also followed you

Going back to point on blasting people with promotions and me me offers, people are already following you because they are interested. So take the time to built brand equity with them for the long term game and provide them with value from content from your brand, then give them an offer. Followers will be far more receptive.


The Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q3-2016/

A. (2016, October 04). New Study Looks at What Makes People Unfollow Brands on Social. Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/social-business/new-study-looks-what-makes-people-unfollow-brands-socialThe Q3 2016 Sprout Social Index. (n.d.). Retrieved February 26, 2017, from http://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/q3-2016/

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Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
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