Many consumers who subscribe to a company’s social network page later stop following it or lose interest in the brand. A common complaint is overload of information and content which tends not to be really exclusive enough.
Just because a person is a member of a social network who ‘follows’ or ‘likes’ a particular brand that doesn’t mean s/he will remain loyal to the brand. In fact, according to the findings of a study carried out by Relevation Research, out of the 52% of U.S. online consumers who follow company web pages on social networks, almost a third desert the brand at a later stage. The reason users give for saying goodbye is that they don’t really see the value of continuing to follow the page. Worse still, having been disappointed with the page content, these ex-fans then tend to regard the brand in a negative light. This finding is shared by Cyril Attias, founder and CEO of Influence Digitale (‘Digital Influence’) a Paris-based agency, pointing out however that it is "common for a brand to gain and lose subscribers since users’ prime interest is the content on offer." A fan might for example follow a brand because s/he was interested in an interview to be posted on its Facebook page, but then desert the brand when the page content was no longer of interest, though it might well be attractive to other fans. At least this way the brand can attract a wider audience and increase its visibility.
Social networks are not news media
One of the criticisms stated by the U.S. consumers is that there are often too many posts and comments. This feeling is strengthened when users can’t actually see the added value of following a brand on a social network. Despite the strong demand from consumers, explains the Influence Digitale CEO, "brands don’t always use social networks to give their members a special experience through the content or services offered. Instead they still tend to see social networks as an information channel." And it seems that this is not what consumers are looking for. "On the contrary, they are interested in exclusive content and want the brand to usher them into its world and offer them real benefits, such as when Longchamp fans can access the preview of a new advertising clip," he underlines.
Following friends rather than a brand?
Another reason expressed by consumers who stop following brands on social networks is that they have simply lost interest. If this seems surprising, we should not forget that members of a social network may sometimes become brand fans because their friends have done so. So what can a brand do to keep its fans and encourage their loyalty? A brand needs to "monitor fans’ reactions, keep up with their interests, learn from their mistakes and modify its strategy accordingly if it wants to keep fans’ loyalty," stresses Cyril Attias, adding: "That’s the only way you can hope to transform a person – and we’re talking about the medium term here – from someone who just follows a brand on a social network into a potential customer."