A few different studies released this week offer important insights into Facebook user behavior; specifically, why do people unlike business pages and how can we, as marketers, better communicate the company’s brand message?
DDB Paris and OpinionWay partnered to research the reasons why Facebook fans stop following a page, while KN Dimestore and SocialVibe studied the effects of incentivized advertising on brand perception and purchasing behavior.
So why are fans unfollowing, and how can companies turn it around?
1. There’s No Spark Any More
The top reason users Unlike a page on Facebook is, “The brand was no longer of interest to me.” Ouch. Maybe they went through their list of Likes to pare it down one day and you didn’t make the cut. Or, they saw a post of yours one day and it just struck them that you have nothing to offer anymore.
So how do you grab their attention? KN Dimestore/SocialVibe found that more than 90 percent of people pay attention to the brand message when interacting with incentivized engagements.
Simply put, what’s in it for me? You don’t have to give away the farm, nor should every message be a contest or giveaway. There should be an expectation in users, though, that incentives are a regular part of your message and they should stay tuned to see what’s next.
2. You’re Kind of Boring
The number two reason for fans to stop following, with 46 percent of respondents citing this as the reason, was that the information shared by the brand wasn’t interesting.
“Engagement in Facebook brands’ walls is down 22%,” said Syncapse CEO Michael Scissons. “But declining engagement has less to do with brand fatigue in general than with marketers doing a bad job and shoving boring [content] at consumers.”
Do you understand the types of content your users like to share? The implementation of Facebook’s Share button should help marketers determine, beyond what was previously available in analytics, what it is that triggers a fan to hit the Share button. For more on creating shareable content, see Guillaume Bouchard’s “Social Content Seeding for SEO.”
3. Fans Feel You’re Spamming Them
Thirty-six percent of DBB/OpinionWay respondents Unliked a brand because they felt that they heard from them too often. This is a tricky, as users from different countries have very different preferences when it comes to message frequency. Users in France, Germany, and the U.K. want to hear from you far less often than those in Turkey, where 45 percent of fans say they want more.
DDB’s planning director, Sebastian Genty, weighs in on staying real and avoiding annoying consumers.
“Brands got blinded by the technology, forgetting about the basics of relationships in the way they interacted with consumers. They need to learn to behave like any human being, with respect and transparency. Rhythm is key, as in any new relationship,” Genty said.
Regardless of where fans are from, the actual message you’re sending out is more important than how often you’re posting. Be consistent.
If a post doesn’t add offer something of value to your audience, why are you posting it? To fill space and keep you in the feed and make your page look active until you have something good to share? That’s just not good enough anymore.
Yes, EdgeRank is important, but you have to find a balance between posting to rank and posting to engage readers.
4. Your Fans Weren’t True Fans to Start With
Remember when you launched the page and were possibly under a lot of pressure, maybe from the company, to really get it going and win over a bunch of fans? We know that fans like incentives; the KN Dimestore/SocialVibe study affirms this, noting that 48 percent of people report that while they may initially opt-in to a brand engagement for the incentive, they end up staying and paying attention to the brand message.
Sarah Hofstetter, senior VP-emerging media and brand strategy at 360i, raises an interesting point, though. To gain fans, many brands “went for the lowest common denominator, which was free stuff. And so consumers began expecting the freebies. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
What’s the magic solution? There isn’t one; it’s necessary to pay attention, monitor, analyze, and adapt to each of the above factors. Who are your fans? How did they find you and what is it going to take to keep them there… and at what cost?
Interesting content once every month or two keeps very few engaged; timeliness, content quality, user expectations, cultural differences, and incentives all matter. The secret is in finding the formula that works for your brand and staying flexible enough to adapt as it inevitably evolves.