A friend of mine sent me a link to an interesting study recently, on why people follow and unfollow brands online. I’m going to share with you some insights from that research this morning, because although much of it might seem intuitive, many companies still fail to really get it.
The study was done by SproutSocial.com on behalf of Social Media Today, a respected authority on trends and best practices in digital marketing. The data was collected from 1,022 online respondents during a one week time period in July 2016. You can link directly to the report HERE. Given the sample is based on an online group; it represents online users well, but would be slightly skewed if being used to observe overall population behaviour. Never the less, it’s relevant, since increasingly many consumers are engaged in some sort of online social interaction. *Note: Finding numbers have been rounded.
- 57% posting too many promotions
- 38% using slang or jargon
- 35% not having any “personality” on their accounts
- 32% trying to be funny when they are no
- 25% not replying to my message
Basically what we see in the above is if you excessively brag, use a communication style that feels stilted, weird or tries too hard, and you don’t engage, you’re going to get dumped. Honestly, doesn’t this description seem like a bad date anyway?
So if that’s why brands get dumped, why might people choose to follow them in the first place?
- 73% interested in their product or service
- 59% interesting promotions
- 51% they are entertaining
- 42% offer an incentive
- 41% interested in the industry
- 25% to communicate with the brand
- 21% friends follow/like their content
Again, in relationship terms, if you are interesting and entertaining, enjoy things I like, engage in conversation and are respectful of my friends, you’re probably a keeper.
Social media is meant to be social. It’s relationship economics. But somehow many companies seem to have forgotten that the same rules of respectful friendship still need to apply.
People will follow brands to hear about promotions and incentives. But many also follow simply to be entertained. That’s an important consideration when you’re looking to build a brand presence. Getting followers is great, but connecting with an audience and getting engaged followers is better, since it significantly increases the chances of them becoming a paying customer.
How does that work? Take a look at this – the numbers are staggering. Percentage of people who purchased because of social media:
- 75% yes
- 25% no
If you need further proof of the value of social media marketing, here it is. The likelihood of buying from a brand people follow on social media:
- 58% more likely
- 38% no change
- 4% less likely
The findings reinforce the importance of content marketing. If you provide your audience with relevant, useful and entertaining content, along with some promotional offers occasionally, they’ll be increasingly likely to buy from you.
The key of course to any relationship though is to understand who you are first, know who is your ideal date, and then just build the friendship. That takes self-awareness, and community understanding.