These Social Media Behaviors Are Turning Off Your Followers

August 31, 2016

SproutSocial-Brands-Annoying-Actions-Social-Aug2016It’s a tough world out there: a recent study from Sprout Social shows that brands need to strike a very delicate balance with their social media promotions or risk losing their followers. Case in point: posting too many promotions is considered the most annoying action taken by brands on social media. But at the same time, consumers say they need to see a product multiple times on social media before they’ll buy it.

Let’s get into more specifics.

Far and away the most annoying action a brand can take is posting too many promotions, cited by 58% of respondents to Sprout Social’s survey, which was fielded among more than 1,000 Facebook, Instagram and Twitter users. Further back, around one-third or more said it’s annoying when brands use slang and jargon (38%), lack personality on their accounts (35%) and try to be funny when they’re not (32%). Let’s deconstruct that for a second: some of your followers want you to have more personality, but you can’t try too hard and you can’t use certain terms. So good luck with that.

(At least there’s nothing in there about using emojis…)

Moving on to the actions that really hurt – unfollows – the survey indicates that overdoing it on promotional messages (46%) is again the biggest culprit. Tweeting too much (35%) is also in the mix, though irrelevant information is a bigger turn-off (41%). Just so you’re clear, though, you also can’t be too quiet either: almost 1 in 5 say this would make them unfollow your brand.


So be active, but not overly promotional. But here’s the kicker: some repetition appears to be necessary. About 85% of survey respondents said they need to see a product or service multiple times on social media before they purchase it, with most of those (61% overall) wanting to see it 2-4 times. (If you’re promoting something only organically on Facebook, this means you’ll need to post it about 6,000 times in the hope your audience sees it 2-4 times…)

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There are some interesting stats surrounding social media’s influence on purchase behavior:

  • 58% are more likely to buy from a brand that they follow on social media; and
  • Three-quarters have purchased something because they saw it on social media.

Social’s influence is indeed rising as a paid advertising medium: social ads are now second only to TV ads in purchase influence among Millennials, according to MarketingCharts research.

In other results from the survey:

  • Almost 6 in 10 respondents said they follow brands because they’re interested in promotions, trailing only interest in the brand’s product or service (73%);
  • Retail edges media/entertainment and consumer goods as the most-liked industry on social media; and
  • Government and banking/finance are the most annoying industries on social media, with marketing and advertising close behind.

About the Data: The consumer survey was conducted by Survata, an independent research firm. Survata interviewed 1,022 online respondents between July 05, 2016 and July 11, 2016.


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