Why do fans “unlike” or “unfollow” your brand?

Exact Target released a report last week that reiterates what we already knew about brands and companies testing the consumer’s patience with non-stop promotional material. It fails.

Apparently, the #1 reason across all three platforms – email, Facebook and Twitter – for folks unfollowing brands is too many postings or updates. Just like with any person to person engagement on social platforms.

Interestingly, this was also in line with Seth Godin’s Permission Marketing post (wow! how long ago was that in social media years). For e.g. when Seth launched his Permission marketing book, here’s what he had to say about it:

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

Social networking sites are the very epitome of how Permission based marketing works. And, yet what do marketers do? They treat it like traditional email marketing and push messages non-stop and end up driving away the same consumers who opted-in to following your brand.

The study actually interviewed folks about email marketing, Facebook and Twitter marketing and it’s nice to see how in all three mediums, the #1 reason you drive away your “fans” is by bombarding them relentlessly with useless promotional content.

What can your brand learn from it?

I think Seth Godin said it best.

In order to get permission, you make a promise. You say, “I will do x, y and z, I hope you will give me permission by listening.” And then, this is the hard part, that’s all you do. You don’t assume you can do more. You can promise a newsletter and talk to me for years, you can promise a daily RSS feed and talk to me every three minutes, you can promise a sales pitch every day. But the promise is the promise until both sides agree to change it.

So, what is the type of content and the frequency with which you update your Facebook and Twitter pages? If your company has a social media business page on Facebook or Twitter, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Comments (



  1. Mario Sundar


    But, I also think it comes down to your brand as well as the quality of content you put out there. If you can maintain a high quality, volume may not matter, but it’s really tough to sustain it.

  2. John Cummings

    I was sending a Facebook update once or twice per day with an inspirational fitness message or a link to a new article about fitness. It seems that was too often. Many of my friends are maxed out at 5,000 friends so they have a ton of traffic anyway, but I think for the people with a couple hundred friends or less, my page was taking up too much of their bandwidth visually because my fan numbers would go up and then back down. I’m switching to no more than once a day.

    John @bodysite.com

  3. Annabelle Sun

    This is very true. I had followed a company on Twitter. They tweeted like 40 times a day. My homepage was full of their tweets. It did made me annoyed. I think organizations need to tweet something important and useful not share information randomly. 5 tweets a day that’s maximum number i can accept.

  4. muskie

    This is right on the money, as they say. Brands or Bands that I like that overflow my inbox or wall with stuff that is totally irrelevant, I unsubscribe to or just tend to ignore.

    Of course I probably post too much stuff to Facebook at times, but they are my personal friends and family, no one has un-friended me in recent memory, certainly not someone I’ve known for years in the ‘real world’.

    Remember the real world? 😉

  5. Karen huang

    It’s true that too frequent messages in facebook and twitter will turn your fan off and “unlike” your page. The best result of sending content to your fan based from other successful facebook users that generated many comments and fans are every other day. Plus, try to minimize the number of message per day as they would annoy people as well. Be creative in your content and unique style would be the key in my opinion to gain your fan and interactive comments.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com