When you're a small or medium business owner, there is both power and prestige in having a strong Social Media following. And it can hurt your bottom line if there's a mass exodus of those followers. There are any number of reasons why people stop following your business, and today we'll look at ehy people follow your business in the first place - and what keeps them engaged or drives them away.
Why People Like, Follow or Connect With Your Business
1) Immediate Need - the customer is looking for a product or service something your business offers.
2) Advocacy - The consumer could be a repeat customer looking to a) support a business they like or b) to get coupons/discounts for products or services they have enjoyed in the past and wish to get again.
3) Non-Business Loyalty - A friend owns, works for, or has some other allegiance to the business and the consumer is showing to public support.
Having gotten consumer interest in the first place, why do so few Businesses retain their interest? It's relatively easy to get someone to "Like" a page, and it is even easier to lose followers with a single misstep.
Why People Unlike, Unfollow or Disconnect With Your Business
Let's start with Non-business related Loyalty first. If a person's reason for following a business has no relation to the business itself, then their reasons for unfollowing/friending them are likely to to be the same. The friend has moved on, or gained enough traction, or they had a falling out. Supporting their business is just not a high priority anymore. This is a problem mostly for extremely local-focus businesses, which rely heavily on word of mouth.
How to Re-engage: Turn your friends into valued customers and gain real loyalty for your business by reaching out with meaningful connection related to your business.
When Advocacy lapses, it is important to recognize interests and needs change over time. The company may no longer be relevant to me. There's very little that can be done about this loss, except to be gracious and express a hope for future reconnection.
It's important to acknowledge that you company may have alienated the customer in some way with bad customer service or uncompetitive pricing, or poor product or services. Consumers may become tired of self-promotion, poor response rate or dislike the fact that no one is curating the social accounts. At this level, there are *so* many reason a person might unfollow.
How to Re-engage: An advocate is almost always going to be a customer who wants relevant, authentic contact and content. Many companies seriously drop the ball with their customers at this level. Instead of thinking about what customers can do for you, consider how your business can make a difference for customers. Talk with them, as opposed to advertising at them, invite good customers and loyal customers to special events, offer "tell a friend deals." Invest time in your relationships and in your Social Media.
If the reason a person followed you was Immediate Need, thhey no longer need to be in contact with your company. Not every unfollow is a personal insult.
How to Re-engage: If you've done your job and created truly Social interaction, they'll be back when they need you. Acknowledge the Tare and move on, working with those people who want to stay connected.
Losing followers is inevitable. The best thing to do is make the trail back to you appealing and open. Build bridges, don't burn them and you'll find your following growing naturally.