1 in 3 social media users have stopped following or “un-liked” a company or brand on a social network, finds Performics in December 2012 survey results. The most aggravating turn-offs for these former followers are irrelevance of posts (49%), over-frequency of posts (38%), and a lack of expected or promised content (35%). A separate study from SocialVibe and GfK finds that 37% have disengaged from their brand connections, with one-third of those blaming too many updates. As that study attests, losing these connections can have an impact on potential sales.
That’s because the study found 70% of consumers socially connected to a brand have made a purchase as a direct result of that connection. Breaking that figure down into its component responses: 19% make purchases often; 29% make purchases sometimes; and 22% have made a purchase once or twice as a result of a brand connection.
While social media followers provide a fertile audience, then, brands must be careful not to overstep their boundaries, and they must provide content that is relevant and engages. Interestingly, beyond the already-documented negative effect of over-communication, other reasons given by the Performics survey respondents for ceasing to follow brands were that they don’t provide coupons, discounts, or specials (30%), they have different opinions and values than the respondent (22%), and because the respondent follows too many brands as it is (18%). So, the challenge for brands is to cut through the clutter rather than contribute to it, and to offer value. Indeed, 22% of the respondents to the SocialVibe survey said they simply did not see the value in staying connected.
Social Media Marketing Requires a Deft Touch
Notably, results from the SocialVibe study demonstrate that moderation is key to retaining followers. Although over-posting drives followers away, consumers do want to connect with brands and receive updates from them. For example, 16% say they connect with brands because they want to stay up-to-date on the brands’ news and information, while 23% check back weekly for updates, and 17% check daily.
This suggests that consumers want updates from brands, just not too many. Finding the happy medium that caters to followers’ desires is the challenge.
Facebook Users Influenced by Likes
If brands can strike the right tone with their followers, there are benefits beyond just direct sales to their audiences. New research from 8thBridge [download page] that looks specifically at Facebook users finds 36% to believe that the more Facebook likes a product has, the more likely they will be to buy that product.
Facebook users seem fairly willing to share and seek advice, too. Roughly two-thirds have shared a product with a friend on a social network. The primary reasons for doing so include wanting to express tastes and preferences with friends (38%), wanting to share a great product or experience with friends (35%), and getting discounts or rewards for sharing (30%).
About the Data: The Performics data is based on a survey of 1,986 consumers, who were required to have at least one social network account. The SocialVibe results are based on a survey conducted by GfK of 878 consumers actively engaged in social media. The 8thBridge data is gleaned from a survey of 1,819 US Facebook users.