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Published November 28th 2022

Why Do People Unfollow Brands on Social Media? How to Keep Your Followers Engaged

Followers on social media always ebb and flow. Here’s how to retain followers on social, so you can generate more brand awareness and leads.

Even if you’re gaining regular new followers on social media, it’s likely that you’ll also lose followers from time to time. Preventing this follower drop-off can help with sales, with 90% of consumers saying they buy from brands they follow on social media. But what causes people to unfollow companies on social?

Following numbers aren’t linear, and several factors might cause people to unfollow your accounts. Maybe they’re no longer in the market for your products, or they don’t find your content valuable anymore. Either way, there are a number of things you can do to retain followers on social media.

From adjusting your content strategy to encouraging interaction with your posts, here are some tips for how to keep followers on social media.

What causes people to unfollow brands on social media?

Here are some reasons why consumers might unfollow your brand on social.

Not adding value

Users want to feel like the accounts they follow add value to their time on social media. If your brand isn’t educating, entertaining, or intriguing your followers, you’re likely to see a drop off in your follower count.

Almost 38% of social media users say they use social media to follow funny or entertaining content. With this in mind, brands need to adjust their content strategy accordingly to entertain their followers, as well as provide educational content that keeps followers engaged.

Follower lifespan or change of interest

The lifespan of social media followers can change based on a number of factors, including the product you're selling and your target audience. For example, if you’re selling baby products, your followers – parents and guardians – might only have a lifespan of a few years when their child is young.

For any brand on social media, it’s important to take this into consideration when planning your digital marketing strategy. Through this planning, you can identify areas where you can expand your follower lifespan as much as possible. In the example above, for a company selling baby products, you could share information for those planning parenthood to attract parents or guardians to be.

However, make sure to not expand your content too much as to disinterest your core audience. Discussing topics which might not be relevant to your audience might have a negative impact, so bear this in mind. Equally, it’s important to recognize that follower lifespans aren’t always a bad thing, as your audience will remain actively engaged in your content.

A change of interest, or the ending of a follower’s lifespan, is a primary reason for any brand losing followers on social media. By expanding this lifespan, brands can keep consumers engaged for longer.

Inauthenticity

Consumers are expecting more from brands on social media. They don’t want to simply hear about products, but instead they want to know about the ins and outs of the brand. Whether it’s your latest sustainability practice or hearing how your products are made, consumers want honesty.

As Forbes says, “Being real and creating authentic content can forge a deeper connection with customers, encouraging brand loyalty, and taking the bond past sales.” Lacking this personality can cause a disconnect between your followers and your brand, making consumers less interested in your content. 

Try to keep your followers engaged by candidly interacting with them. Offer personality and honesty, and share your values across your digital channels.

No variety of content

Users on social media are keen to find a balance between heavy, educational content and light-hearted, funny posts. By failing to strike this balance correctly, your brand might risk dropping in followers. Equally, failing to share a variety of content can turn customers away from your brand’s social presence.

If your follower numbers are dropping, try to analyze the variety of your posts. Can you add more light-hearted content? Or could you sprinkle in some educational pieces? Keeping your strategy up-to-date can be the key to keeping your followers engaged.

How to keep followers on social media

Here’s our step-by-step guide to retaining your followers on social, so you can keep consumers coming back for more.

1. Keep an eye on your analytics

It’s always a good idea to start with your analytics. This can help you see what content resonates the most with your followers and which posts might be causing accounts to unfollow you.

Begin by reviewing your posts from the last month. Sort your posts from most engaged with to least engaged with, and try to pull similarities between these different groups. Then pull up a graph of your follower numbers over the same period, and see if there are any noticeable points of decrease in your followers. What happened on these days which might have caused people to unfollow you?

Pro Tip

Which posts are your followers saving or sharing the most? These engagement features on social media are super handy to see which types of content get your followers talking behind the scenes and sharing with friends.

Put a plan in place so you conduct this analysis regularly. This way, you can stay on top of any dips in your follower count.

2. Change up your content

If you’re looking to retain followers for a long period of time, you’ll need to change up your content regularly. People get bored of seeing the same content again and again as people’s interests grow alongside your page. Equally, if you don’t change up your style, consumers will lose the value of your posts. 

Review your content strategy frequently to see where to make changes that will benefit your followers. It also helps to see your competitors' posts, both for inspiration and to stay in line with current trends.

Pro Tip

Don’t be scared to be edgy with your content or to jump on the latest memes and trends. This proactive approach is key for high engagement rates, as trends help people feel included.

Here's some advice from Ross Middleham, Creative Lead at Met Office. Here, Ross discusses how to create variety in your content to boost engagement rates on social media.

3. Provide learning points

As well as having nice-looking Instagram posts, funny tweets, or entertaining TikToks, it’s also important to post useful content to social media. Regular learning points within your content strategy can add brand trustworthiness, increase authority, and ultimately encourage interest for your followers. Most importantly, it adds value to your content and will encourage individuals to continue engaging with your posts.

Try to educate your followers through your content. If you’re a hairdressing business, share tips on aftercare following an appointment. If you sell food products, share recipes or how-tos. If you sell something more obscure, like home rentals, provide tips for tenants to make the most out of their space. Think outside the box, and keep the consumer in mind.

4. Encourage users to share your content (or even better, make their own)

The biggest indicator of whether an individual will continue following you is whether or not they engage with your content. And engagements aren’t always as obvious as likes or comments. A lot of people use Instagram more sparingly, and even if they like your content, they might not literally like your posts. Instead, focus on shares and saves

When reviewing your analytics, pay attention to which posts your followers share the most. Try to post more of these types of content. When people are sharing your posts, they’re more likely to continue paying attention to the content you’re making. 

Equally, saves – a feature on TikTok and Instagram – are a great way to monitor engagement. This shows when a user has found your content really valuable or entertaining or they’ve saved it to refer back to later. The more saves you have, the better your followers are engaging with your content.

5. Post consistently (and schedule ahead of time)

A valuable method for retaining followers is to post consistently. Posting frequently with interesting and helpful content gets your followers used to seeing your brand on their social media feeds. This also helps keep your engagement numbers high.

If you go for even a short period without posting and then return, you’ll likely see a dip in followers or engagement rates. Avoid this by implementing a scheduling tool in your social media planning; you can keep your posting consistent – as well as post at optimal times.

6. Monitor your followers

The best way to prevent losing followers is to keep an eye on your follower count. You can do this in analysis tools like Brandwatch Measure. This way, you can get ahead of the curve if your follower count is dipping or stagnating.

In this case, you can dive into your analytics to see what’s going wrong and do some damage control. Equally, if your follower count is skyrocketing, you can locate why and implement more of that kind of content.

7. Play the long game

Gaining followers on social media doesn't happen overnight – especially if your brand is new to a platform. It happens gradually, with peaks and troughs as your brand grows on social media.

Try to avoid quick tactics to gain low-value followers, such as giveaways. While these methods have their place and can be quite useful, doing them too often will fill your following list with accounts that are more likely to unfollow you. This is because these consumers aren’t as familiar with your product, giving them less reason to continue following your brand.

Instead, play the long game. Utilize the tips above to gain regular, high-value, interested followers who will stay following you for the long run.

Roundup

Losing followers on social media happens to every brand. Yet, there are some easy ways to lengthen your follower lifespan and keep consumers engaged with your content. From posting educational content to staying authentic online, you can retain your followers for a longer period.

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