Marketing on social media is not a personal choice anymore. With almost 4 billion combined active users of various social media platforms, the audience present on these platforms is simply too big to be ignored from a marketing perspective.
Naturally, the demand for social media marketing as a service has skyrocketed, and so has the number on the attached price tag. Sure, there are many cheap options available, but that’s all they are, cheap. Agencies and consultants that cut corners and offer “affordable” social media marketing strategies rarely deliver results. Moreover, if not handled by someone who cares about your brand and knows what they are doing, bad marketing on social media can actually hurt the sales numbers you are already producing.
As a result, many small business owners are forced to DIY their social media marketing. When social media is not a core competency or able to be prioritized, mastering the art of turning engagements to sales on these channels can be a demanding task Even those who put in consistent effort may not be able to see results. In fact, if you post consistently but the content you put out doesn’t align with your audience, you may end up losing your hard-earned followers.
With that said, almost every problem with your social media marketing can be solved by building a better understanding of the audience you are targeting.
In this article, we will be focusing on the reasons why you may be losing social media followers on your brand accounts. We will also be discussing how you can slow down and gradually stop this trend. Without further delay, let’s start looking at the various reasons and how they can be fixed:
Reason #1: An incomplete profile
Besides being business owners and marketers, most of us are also consumers of various products and services. Chances are, you also follow a number of brands on your preferred social media channels. If you do, open up your preferred social media app and check out the brand profiles that you personally follow. You may notice a trend in all those profiles, that they are all filled to the brim with information about the brand, including a website, aesthetically pleasing profile and cover photos, and a defined theme in each of their consistent posts. There is a reason that every successful brand's social media profile is ‘complete’, and it is quite simple; it communicates professionalism.
On the other hand, an ‘incomplete’ profile with a missing profile photo or a poorly cropped cover image, for example, screams unprofessionalism. As a consumer, would you engage with or purchase from a brand that doesn’t even care enough to upload two photos to their own profile and write a well-thought-out bio?
The solution here is obvious. Write a brilliant bio for your brand profiles and upload a professional profile photo and cover image. Put your website in your bio, follow related accounts, and don’t forget to add any info pertinent to your brand.
Making sure both the images are satisfactory (to you) and professional will pay off in the long term when you don’t have to change your profile photo at a later stage. Doing so will confuse your followers and some may even click the ‘unfollow’ button because you changed your profile photo.
Reason #2: Your audience isn’t aligned with your brand
You can expect a normal ebb and flow of followers—as long as that number is overall trending up, your audience is still connected to your brand. But if you see that number dip, there’s a good chance that you need to branch out and attract more people who are aligned with your brand’s mission and values. Quality followers are always worth more than quantity, though. After all, buying fake followers is not just against the rules, it adds literally no value to your business.
The other popular way for beginners, especially brands, to quickly gain more followers is with a social media contest. Truth be told, this is an excellent strategy to boost awareness of your brand within your community and gain valuable, authentic user-generated content (UGC) in the process. Later, we will touch on how you can repurpose this UGC for marketing campaigns after a contest ends.
Brewed By Hand via Best Coffee encouraged its community to share their home coffee setups on Instagram or through a direct upload for the chance to win a new machine and specialty pods. Offer discounts, prizes like gift cards or free swag, or even a simple feature on your brand’s account, and users will be incentivized to enter. It works like a charm almost every single time, and most brands that employ this strategy end up with a hefty boost in their social media following after the contest is finished.
Sometimes, users will only follow your account to engage in your contest and unfollow after it comes to a close. If you recently hosted a contest on your social media handles, and are now losing followers all of a sudden, this might be the reason. So how can you combat this?
Solution: Choose what you are giving away carefully
Identify what kind of prizes would be most valuable to your niche community, whether it be a membership over multiple months or a discount code, and get your audience excited for future social contests. This way, instead of unfollowing your brand after the contest ends, your community will continue to be interested in future contests, and will engage with other content you share in the meantime.
Reason #3: Not posting the right content
Saying that you are losing followers because you are not posting the right content can mean many things, and in this section, we will discuss all of them.
Too much promotional content
In a survey conducted by Goodfirms, too much promotional content was among the top ten reasons people unfollow a brand.
When marketing a brand and its services/products on social media, a good rule to stick to is the 80:20 rule. This rule states that of all the content you post on social media, only 20% should be promoting your services or products. The majority of your content or posts (80%) should be aimed at being social and engaging your audience with value. This value can be in the form of actionable information, tips, tricks, insights, or industry knowledge, or in the form of entertaining content, but perhaps the most valuable type of content when it comes to authentic engagement is UGC. Customers like to see other people like them engaging with your brand, and by amplifying real experiences through your social channels, you make your target audience feel more heard and appreciated. This will translate to even more interaction and engagement from your followers
Cosmetics brand Morphe reshares community photos, crediting the user in the caption to build rapport and social proof within its online community.
Brands that already know about the 80:20 rule, or about the importance of sharing non-promotional content often make the mistake of sharing irrelevant content. According to Goodfirms, irrelevant content is one of the top two reasons for users to stop following a brand. 45% of users unfollow a brand because the brand shares too much irrelevant or promotional content. Note that “irrelevant content” doesn’t simply mean content that isn’t relevant to your niche. It can also mean that you are posting the ‘wrong’ kind of content for a specific social media platform. For instance, sharing personal anecdotes and stories may work well on Facebook but the strategy will almost certainly backfire on a professional network like LinkedIn.
That’s why it is important for social media marketers to continually check their content for relevance. This doesn’t just help you maintain your follower numbers, it also helps your brand build niche authority and credibility. Practice social listening by identifying which posts are the most successful within your community, and what type of content gets your audience excited about interacting with your brand online.
Only posting content on your profile
Another common mistake that brands make on social media is to simply post content through their own handles. They don’t join conversations or groups, which can potentially lead their audience to unfollow them. Unlike traditional forms of advertising, social media marketing success cannot be achieved by simply ‘shouting’ your content at your followers.
On social media, it is important to engage with your audience.
That can mean anything ranging from following back your most active followers, engaging on their posts and stories, and joining relevant conversations in social media groups.
Doing this will give your social media presence dual benefits. One, you will be able to boost your brand’s visibility by posting in comment sections and groups, improving your chances of attracting more relevant social media followers. Two, this will also enable you to build more niche authority and credibility for your business. And three, by engaging with posts in your community and even reposting content from your customers, your account will appear more authentic and welcoming.
Finally, engaging with your audience will also help you establish a human element to your brand, instead of having a faceless corporate perception.
Posting too frequently
While inconsistency in posting content on social media is a well-known way to fail, posting too much can also potentially hurt your brand. Across all age groups on social media, the top reasons for unfollowing a brand account stem from posts coming across as “annoying” and “spammy.”
If a user has to scroll through 10 posts on their feed simply to see a post by someone other than you, they will feel that your content is ‘clogging’ their feed and will be prompted to unfollow.
There is no right answer to how many posts are ‘ideal’. However, there has been a lot of research conducted on the matter and the ideal answer depends on the social media platform(s) that you are using and, of course, on the preferences of your audience. With that said, the scores of studies and surveys conducted on this matter have revealed some numbers that you can use as a starting point and then modify your strategy based on the response you get from your audience.
The bottom line is that social media is a conversation channel, and should always be treated as such. If you’re rapidly losing followers, the chances are, your social media marketing strategy is not customer-centric.
Whenever you design a new campaign or are authoring your latest social media post, ask yourself if you are adding value to your audience’s lives. Being customer-centric doesn’t guarantee your chances of success on social media, but it greatly improves your chances.
Vaibhav Kakkar is the founder and CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing services and development solutions. He believes in building systems over services, and he's helped scale agencies from scratch into niche-leaders with million-dollar turnovers.
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on pixlee.com. Any statistics or statements included in this article were current at the time of original publication.