It’s very easy to get carried away with social media marketing. There is so much noise online, so it’s tempting to shout louder and more often to get noticed. But could posting too often actually be harming your strategy, and how much is too much?
New research from The Fox School of Business, at the Temple University in Philadelphia, has found that some brands could be losing followers because of their over-zealous digital marketing approach.
Researchers looked at the value of social media advertising, gathering data from a number of sources including messaging app WeChat. They found that in the short term, social media posts tended to increase sales by as much as 5% on the first day – tangible, trackable conversions like this are what all brands are aiming at. However, the same post used again prompted a drop in purchases and led to a large number of subscribers choosing to unfollow the brand.
How to lose 20% of followers in 5 months
Studying a particular shoe retailer and its online marketing strategy, the Fox School of Business researchers tracked how using the same social media post can trigger ‘mass unfollowing’ by subscribers. Over the first five months, the retailer experienced a dip of 5% in its sales figures while trying this particular re-posting experiment. Over the course of a year, it lost a huge 20% of all its followers.
It’s not difficult to see why this is happening. Social media users tolerate advertising but do not always recognise the content they see in their news feeds as being adverts – simply content from the brands that they themselves have chosen to follow. They use platforms and follow brands because they offer valuable, interesting or engaging content. As soon as content becomes repetitive and unoriginal, it becomes apparent that the user is being targeted with advertising – and that the brand is not creating anything new or innovative to be interested in. Users become irritated or frustrated, and it’s very easy for them to disconnect from a brand by simply clicking ‘unfollow’ or ‘unlike’.
How to strike the right balance
A big part of social media success is experimentation, trying different types of content and posting at different times. Brands should also aim to strike the right balance between posting incessantly and dipping below their target audience’s radar due to a lack of social media presence.
However, there are also general rules of thumb for brands to follow, based on research into the art of social media marketing. Hootsuite has created a very handy guide on the best times to post on social media, while Forbes.com has some very useful advice to offer from social media professionals about how often to post on different platforms to avoid annoying your followers.
Are you confident that your brand has got its social media marketing down to a fine art? If so, please feel free to share your top tips for success.