A recent Temple University study found that social media marketing can harm businesses in the long term. The surprising findings suggested that while SMM leads to an increase in sales in the short term, over-posting prompts users to unfollow them. The study pulled data from a Chinese retailed on WeChat.
Over-posting is a big problem on social media for brand marketing. It essentially boils down to whether you’re providing a relevant, entertaining experience to your followers—or if you’re focused too much on self-promotion. When 75.3% of shoppers make purchases based on what they see on social media, it’s essential that your posts help—not harm—your business.
Why People Unfollow Brands That Post Too Much
After the post tracked in the study went live, the retailer enjoyed a 5% sales increase the day it was posted. More surprisingly, the same post increased the likelihood users would unfollow the brand by 300%. Over the span of five months, the retailer experienced a 5% decrease in sales; in a year, they were met with a 20% decrease in followers.
The researchers could not determine is users who unfollowed the retailer turned to competing brands. Still, the decrease in sales and followers as a response to social media marketing should be troubling to brands marketing professionals.
Other variables cause users to unfollow. For example, those in larger cities unfollowed faster, likely because they’re already bombarded by information on a daily basis. Posts during rush hour were likelier to prompt unfollowing. According to the researchers, this is because users’ moods at this time of day causes them to disengage.
Avoid Pitfalls that Cause Users to Unfollow
Don’t worry, all hope isn’t lost! While it may seem discouraging that social media marketing can be harmful in the long run, such a fate can be avoided. All you need to do is carefully consider your posting strategy. First, focus on the long term.
For example, working towards a long-term goal is preferable over focusing solely on a short, aggressive campaign for an upcoming event. The latter will boost sales now, but the over-posting can turn fans away later. Ask yourself: what community, content and services do I envision for the brand—and how can I strive to provide this each day?
Avoid over-posting. According to HubSpot, 68% of users prefer that brands post only one or two times a day on Facebook. Only 19% said they would want brands to post three to five times per day. You should also avoid repetition. Fans can easily become bored by seeing the same content over and over, which will cause users to unfollow faster.
Next, don’t be boring! Whether a post is entertaining contributes to why people unfollow brands and tire of their posts. Keep posts and content engaging, delivering an experience your followers will enjoy. And when users engage, answer back to them! Cultivating engagement helps your posts’ performance, and can help encourage users to continue following when it’s genuine.
Finally, stay away from stilted corporate jargon. Use personality!