Eighty-six percent of social media users follow businesses. Instinct would tell us that users follow brands for promotions and discounts. However, in reality the relationship is much deeper.
Why do customers follow companies on social media?
Social media users trust the stores and retailers they follow. Yes, they want to know about sales. After all, more than seventy percent of brand ‘likes’ on social media start with the follower being interested in the products or services — but they are also looking for relevant content. Relevant content is anything from advice, news, trends, tutorials, staff picks, etc. Successful businesses know their target audience and their interests. If you are a community retailer, this could mean posting about local news and events. At the end of the day, customers are looking to interact with businesses outside of the physical or digital retail space because they value the business’ point of view and trust that they will be engaged, or at the very least, not annoyed.
What behaviors annoy customers?
Sprout Social surveyed more than one thousand Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram users to determine what annoys them about brands on social media channels. The survey revealed that nearly sixty percent of social media users are annoyed by businesses posting too many promotions. In addition to too many advertisements, “People are also taking notice of the tone and content of social profiles that just don’t seem to fit,” the report reads. Instead of “trying to convince a younger demographic that your legacy brand is hip by inserting ‘on fleek’ and other casual chatter into your posts, you’ll be better off if you stick to being yourself. Thirty-eight percent of people find the use of slang to be irritating and another thirty-two percent are annoyed when a brand tries to be funny–when they clearly are not.” When it comes to social media, until you have a firm handle on what resonates with your followers and what doesn’t, it’s best to play it safe with the tone, language, and humor in your posts.
What causes people to unfollow?
We know what annoys followers. But what leads them to actually unlike your page or unfollow your posts? Even though the majority of followers initially come to your page because they are interested in your products, you will need to engage your followers to keep them around. Twenty five percent of social media users follow businesses to have a two-way dialogue.
Sprout Social reports that forty-six percent of users will unfollow a brand for posting too many promotions. Forty-one percent will also unfollow a company that does not share relevant information. “So expand your tactics and be sure you’re diversifying your social content strategy. Whether that’s through curating thoughtful third-party content, sharing more user-generated content, participating in co-marketing opportunities or engaging your communities with interactive quizzes and contests,” the report continues.
Creating the Path to Purchase
We know why consumers follow companies, what they are looking for, and what annoys them. How do we take the next step and convert followers into paying customers? For retailers, there is good news. According to Sprout Social’s survey, retail is the most-liked industry on social media. However, Sprout Social’s data also shows that sixty percent of people need to see a product or service between two and four times on social media before making a purchase. As many as one in five people need to see the product between five and eight times prior to making a purchase. Followers need repetition to purchase, however they are easily turned off by too many promotions. So the question is, how can retailers navigate this balance?
Create Ample Content
The bottom line is, you will need to post regularly to gain the traction needed for purchases. “If fifty-seven percent of people who follow you on social media are likely to buy something from your brand and most people need to see a post two to four times on social before they make a purchase, why wouldn’t you better target your followers with multiple messages?” Sprout Social’s report concludes. Followers need to see the product multiple times to make a purchase, but they also have to see other content in between. You don’t want to bombard your audience with the exact same messaging over and over again. Make sure your approach is balanced and that, regardless of whether a post is paid or organic, it’s providing your followers with value.
Businesses need repetition on social to close a sale. However if a consumer goes on your page and sees the same promotional post eight times in a row, you are not providing them with value or variety. They will see right through your tactic and think that one post is all you have to offer as a company. Social media can have a huge impact on your company’s bottom line. With a little strategy, offering your followers value and product recognition will build loyal, engaged, and willing customers.