Losing followers on social? The issue is bigger than you think

Chasing vanity metrics such as likes and followers is pointless (given most of the algorithms on social don’t favour organic posts). But losing followers is still bad. It’s a sign that maybe you’re turning people off your brand. Take a deep dive into your losses and you’ll uncover insight that informs your content strategy, your social activity and even your wider marketing efforts.

Looking at recent data from Sprout’s Social Index, a survey of over 1000 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users, you can see just how far reaching the insights can be.  After all 86% of social media users want to and do follow brands on social – there must be a good reason for actively leaving your brand page.

You need to know who you are

For most brands it is an offer or good deal that tempts in followers to join a page. Its keeping themgraph-embarrassment that is the issue.

Getting your tone of voice right is important, but so too is sticking to your brand personality. A third of people find a lack of personality annoying. Language that’s spicy is not always welcome. And definitely don’t try to be the cool kid with slang or jokes. Don’t be the dad at the school disco: if it is not your brand, it is just embarrassing.

Stop being garrulous. Too many brands won’t stop talking. Couple the chatter with irrelevant content and you can see why folk leave your carefully crafted profile. Instead, look at key times to post, optimise content around what works, and above all know who you are and stick to it!


How many times do we have to say: stop selling!

Almost 50% of your carefully (and often expensively) acquired followers leave because brands won’t stop selling. Yes I am frustrated, because it is so obvious. No one wants promotions in their lovely network feed. So stop it!


Facebook and Twitter actively reward your paid posts for being relevant. They know a thing or two about engagement. The truth is most brands don’t know they are actually being irrelevant. Why? Because they never look at the data. They don’t check to see if consumers and customers are actually interested. They are too busy creating more irrelevant content to push out; all the time losing the interest of their advocates, fans and followers.

Perception is everything

You might be doing everything right, but people still unfollow you? Well, it might just be your brand perception that is off kilter.  Sprout took a look at response times on social media and the perceived response time by followers.


Some industries do rather well out of the disparity between perception and reality. Media and charities for instance, are considered excellent responders, but in reality they are not.

Banking, finance and utilities are thought of as poor engagers by consumers. The truth is the complete opposite.

The last example might be one to raise with the wider marketing team. For some of these industries changing perception can be tough. It is more than just social that will need to change. What is interesting though, is that monitoring leaving followers, might be a good barometer for how your audience feels about your company.

And that’s why understanding why your customers unfollow your brand it important. It will help you understand what content is relevant and engaging, it will help you talk to customers just enough, it will take out the sales messages and help you build relationships and ultimately, it will help you change perceptions.

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