Preventing Facebook Fan Attrition

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The relationship between fans and brands is just that – a relationship. As a Community Engagement Specialist, a large part of my job is knowing the fan base that I am reaching out to on behalf of a particular brand. And with thousands or millions of individual fans, it is a constant challenge to find and maintain the appropriate tone, content, and posting frequency that best provides fans with what they want.

And if fans don’t get what they want? With a single click on the “Unlike” or “Unfollow” button, your relationship with that fan is over.

Now for some terminology – When a fan unlikes your page, all communication with you and the fan is cut off and the fan no longer likes your page. When a fan unfollows your page then the fan still likes your page, but your posts will not appear in their newsfeeds. In metrics terms, we call the rate at which fans “unlike” your page as the attrition rate and the rate at which they “unfollow” as the opt-out rate.

ExactTarget put together some really interesting numbers to show why fans “unlike” a Facebook page in their “The Social Break-Up Report #8″:



Some of the major reasons that ExactTarget cited for Facebook fan attrition:

  • Excessive posting on behalf of the page, which 63% of those surveyed said they had unliked a page for this reason.
  • Fans were uninterested in the content of the page.
  • 26% of fans said at some point they had liked a page to received some type of exclusive offer and then immediately unliked the page.
  • And as you can see in the graph above, 24% of  fans haved unliked pages because posts were too promotional while 24% have unliked because there weren’t enough deals/promotions.

So, what do we take away from these finding when developing strategy for the structure, tone, and content of pages? Here are some of my suggestions:

Get to know your fans

Yes, it’s true, you cannot please everyone, but you can know the general demographic that you are reaching. Test your fans with different kinds of content and see how/when they respond with the highest number of comments and likes, which is what we call the interaction rate of posts. And don’t just look at numbers – read the comments. In my experience, I have noticed that fans are very willing to tell you exactly what they do and do not like.

Look at the metrics

ExactTarget mentions in their report that numbers of fans are not the only important factor to consider when determining the success of a branded Facebook page. For our various clients we do weekly/monthly reports in which we try to make sense of a realm of qualitative and quantitative data so that we truly know the pulse of each page. And when we see unusual numbers – like a severe increase in the attrition rate – we take notice and try to find the reason why.

Have fun

In my opinion (which is based on experience), the most successful Facebook posts and campaigns are ones that are fun and entertaining. Previous research has indicated that fans look to Facebook as a source of entertainment, so this shouldn’t be a big surprise. Try asking your fans a question that you would actually want to answer yourself!

Originally published at Ignite Social Media

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