What makes people follow or unfollow a brand?

Social media may be a possible starting point to the sales funnel, but how do brands manage their social presence to appeal to their audience?

A successful social presence for a brand should start with an understanding of its audience, as this will offer the insights on what content to create. This can affects its online reputation, its authority, its marketing efforts, and even its sales.

Sprout Social Index for Q3 2016 presents some very interesting stats regarding the reasons that people follow, or unfollow, a brand, providing a detailed analysis of the users’ motives for each move.

What annoys users?


57.5% of users find the increased number of promotional posts annoying and it’s the first reason they get irritated by a brand’s presence.

The prevalent reasons users are annoyed by branded posts are:

– too many promotions
– slang and jargon
– not having any personality on their accounts
– trying to be funny when they’re not
– not replying to messages

This means that brands need to balance the use of promotional content, improve their language and tone, be more responsive. There’s no need to try too hard to impress with your presence, when you manage to lead to the exact opposite result.

Why do users follow a brand?


73.4% of users follow a brand due to interest in its product/service, while 58.8% of them are more interested in its promotions.

Moreover, they are following a brand because:

– They’re entertaining
– Offered an incentive
– Interested in their industry
– To communicate with brand
– Friends follow/like their content

Thus, they usually need to be interested in the brand, or find an incentive to like it. However, they may also like if they find its content entertaining, which means that a brand’s personality can make a difference.

Why do users unfollow a brand?


46% of users unfollow a brand after too many promotional messages, while 41.1% of them unfollow after finding a brand’s information irrelevant to them.

It is also interesting that users are ready to unfollow a page if a brand tweets too often, or if it’s too quiet and less responsive. Even the frequent use of slang may be an important factor to them.

All the reasons above indicate why brands should have their own strategy, a unique tone of voice and a balance in content to make sure that their audience appreciates their plans.

How social media leads to a purchase

It’s interesting that 57% of people who follow a brand on social media are like to make a purchase from it. However, it takes an average of 2-4 times for them to be exposed on the service, until they proceed to the purchase. Even if it takes more times, users are still willing to become customers, provided that they are happy with a brand’s presence and the way it presents the content.


Most liked industries on social media

The retail industry seems to be the most liked among users on social media, followed by media/entertainment and consumer goods. All of them tend to focus on their users and engagement can be important, both to answer their questions, but also to create a human tone.


Most annoying industries on social media


The Government is considered the most annoying industry and the average response rate of 10.7 hours is not making things easier. Banking/finance, marketing/advertising and real estate are also following and it’s interesting for all of them to understand why users consider them “annoying” and how they can improve their presence.

Assuming from the responses above, these industries tend to suffer from an excessive use of jargon, promotional messages, while there’s always the important of being authentic, having a human perspective and finding the right frequency of posting.

Key stats:

  • 86% of social media users want to and do follow brands on social
  • 71% of users have unfollowed a brand because they were embarassed
  • 75% of users have purchased something because they saw it on social
  • 57% are more likely to buy from a brand they follow

What brands can learn

A social media presence for a brand is not just about posting content, or even monitoring the comments and counting the leads. It is important to understand your users, their expectations from your brand, or even their concerns regarding your presence, or your content.

This allows the brand to adjust its strategy and create a human element and a tone that will increase the chances of building a more authentic relationship, building its credibility and thus, its online authority.

Never ignore the users’ opinion and most importantly, never underestimate their voice.

You can create a more “likeable” social presence by:

  • learning more about your audience
  • balancing promotion with value
  • writing in an authentic tone
  • avoiding jargon language
  • being responsive

These will help your audience appreciate your social efforts and become more receptive to your content, which can ultimately increase the chances of gaining new (and loyal) clients.

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