5 Reasons Your Social Community Is Shrinking

Nate Mendenhall
Nathan Mendenhall Manager, Cendyn/ONE

Posted on December 15th 2012

5 Reasons Your Social Community Is Shrinking

Marketers often THINK they know exactly what their communities want, but soon find that their content strategy actually prompts users to click unlike or unfollow. It is not always blatantly obvious why this happens, however a recent study by eMarketer.com has shed some light on the reasons why social media users decide to disconnect from a brand. Let’s take a closer look at the top 5 reasons why users choose to cut ties with brands on social media channels.

1. Too Many Updates

Have you ever had someone in your life that you are fond of, but they just don’t know when to back off? I think it’s safe to say we all do. This study found that 33% of people surveyed decided to disconnect from a brand because the brand posted/tweeted too many updates. Brands are being “that guy” that doesn’t know when to quit. This should not be surprising, as many studies have reported that social media users do not want to be bombarded with content from the same source. As a general rule of thumb, only post/tweet when you actually have something of value to say. The “quality over quantity” is a must when planning a social media content strategy

2. Inaccurate Representation of the Brand

Nobody likes to be tricked. That’s a fact. The same applies to social media. According to this study, 22% of users disconnected with a brand because their perception of what the brand was about was different than what the brand is REALLY about. Misrepresenting your brand for the sake of community growth only sabotages things in the long run. Social media users are very smart, and as soon as they realize your brand isn’t what it seemed to be they will be gone forever. Try to keep your messaging consistent across all social channels. This will help you avoid losing hard earned fans/followers due to brand misrepresentation.

3.  No Value in Maintaining Connection

Why keep receiving communications from a brand if they provide no value? 19% of people surveyed in this study said that they disconnected from a brand because they felt that they didn’t see any value in maintaining a relationship. This makes perfect sense. There are thousands of brands competing for real estate on newsfeeds, so the brands that fail to provide consistent value will be left behind. Value doesn’t always have to be discounts or free gifts. Value can be an engaging question, thought provoking image or even a fun video. Keep providing value to keep your community growing.

4. Connected After Seeing an Ad but Then Changed Their Mind.

Ads on social sites can be a very dangerous thing, especially Facebook. While they are very valuable in growing a community, there is a natural attrition rate that seems to come with any boom in growth. Many times people will see an ad that was put together perfectly and at that time they were interested, but later on they weren’t THAT interested to keep receiving content. I am guilty of this as well. The best t thing you can do is make sure that your ads are representative of your brand and convey an accurate sense of what your brand has to offer. This should soften the blow of attrition after an ad campaign.

5. “Other”

16% of respondents listed “other” as their reason for disengaging from a brand. While this metric might not really shed light on other reasons why people click the unlike/unfollow button, I would assume that they are reasons like people closing accounts, overall newsfeed clutter, offensive content, negative reviews and boring content.

How are you avoiding losing members of your social media communities?

Nate Mendenhall

Nathan Mendenhall

Manager, Cendyn/ONE

Nathan Mendenhall is a social media manager at Cendyn/ONE in Boca Raton, Florida. He has extensive experience with creating and implementing successful social media strategies for both B2B and B2C brands. Connect with him at @NCMSocial!


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Good overall view of the landscape especially for the small business. I might add that sometimes the social media channels can be a form of branding and not necessarily produce a call to action or ROI. So your remarks here are appropos of this as well.

Branding occurs through the regular use of the social media space and is an excellent long term consistent form on soft engagement.

Thanks for your input.


We need to focus on building relationship. Everything we do, we treat them as humans, rather than machine.

At the risk of sounding cliche, this is why it's important that marketers, especially in this relatively new environment, are always testing. You can't create a content strategy and execute it without being aware of how your community is reacting to it. You need to be prepared to make adjustments and prepare others on the team and executives for the possiblity that things may change.

Leigh Pinkston

A great way to keep your followers on social media is to keep your profiles engaging.  Customers and followers like to know that they are being heard.  The more you respond to them the more likely they are to keep following your pages and tell their friends about your brand.