It's Not Me… It's You

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When two people get tired of one another, it doesn’t take long for the break-up to occur. Why should Social Media be any different?

If you’re in any kind of relationship, you’re well aware of the delicate intricacies and the dynamics that take place for everything to work smoothly. The best of relationships are the ones that can survive the rocky times and the relationships that last throughout time are the ones where both parties understand not only the emotional intelligence of one another but are willing to make concessions for the sake of the relationship (and yes, this often includes major personal sacrifices). When brands say that because of Social Media, they would like to have a relationship with a customer, you have to wonder if they’re really using the same kind of definition as the one applied to our personal relationships? If you dig a little deeper, it feels like they would just like their customers to buy more from them and be more loyal to them.

Real interactions between real human beings.

This is what makes Social Media so different from other kinds of connections, communications and marketing opportunities. Historically, there hasn’t been that many brands who have really been able to make these relationships work – in the truest sense of the definition. Yesterday, Marketing Charts, published the news item, Overposting Drives Away Facebook Fans. "Virtually tying overposting as a top reason for unliking a brand on Facebook is having an overcrowded wall (43%, more than one answer permitted). Other leading reasons include content becoming boring and/or repetitive (38%), and only liking a company to take advantage of a one-time offer (26%)." And with that information from a new Exact Target and CoTweet report, we also learn that: "Fifty-five percent of Facebook users have liked a company and then decided they no longer wanted to see its posts. In addition, 51% say they rarely or never visit a brand once they have liked it. A full 71% of fans say they have become more selective about what brands they like." 

Is this a surprise to anyone?

If another human being shows interest in you, the last thing you should do – if you’re really trying to build a long-term relationship with them – is to smother them (physically, emotionally and verbally). The best of relationships take time (slow and steady)… and that’s the major challenge: brands (and Marketers) just can’t help themselves. The moment they see something working, they see it like a stuffed sack of potatoes that they just can’t help but keep stuffing until it bursts.

The ray of sunshine…

"Report data show that a consumer’s decision to ‘unlike’ a company has surprisingly little impact on the perceived likelihood that they will buy from that company in the future. In total, 63% of consumers said they were as likely or more likely to purchase something from a company after ending their Facebook relationship. Another 18% said they only ‘unlike’ a company if they never bought anything in the first place."

The Social Break-up.

What’s the lesson? Relationships that truly mean something are tough to build and are a difficult balancing act to maintain. The real challenge for brands in overcoming this is to understand that they don’t "own" the customer anymore. It’s much more of a reciprocated relationship than ever before, so if there’s not a lot of value (equally, across both parties), we’re going to get scary results like this. The next phase? Let’s find the brands that run anathema to this report and dig in to deep to help explain to everyone else what they’re doing right and why consumers stay so connected to them.

The Social Break-up is something we have to pay close attention to.


  1. There will always be people who “break-up” with you for sending out too much information. This happens in the world of email marketing with unsubscribes and now with Facebook with unlikes.
    However, think about it. If you’re posting regularly—let’s say once or twice a day—and people unlike you, should you worry? Sure, they may be customers, but are they your devoted, die-hard customers? Probably not.
    Even though I don’t think there is data on this yet, I’m betting that the people who unlike you for posting too much signed up because of a one-time offer instead of a general interest in your company (with email marketing, I’ve noticed that people looking for one-time offers tend to get them and run much faster than people who aren’t).
    What do you think Mitch?

  2. Look inward Mitch, what are Six Pixels numbers? How do your unlike/unsubscribe numbers compare? I would bet they look pretty good. We are not friends in the traditional sense, I am not a customer, but I can’t think of one thing you could do to drive me away from this blog. I am committed.
    I will be interested to hear what big national brands people stay connected to and why because I don’t have any.

  3. Once again, Mitch. You nailed it.
    I find those statistics very interesting; they confirm what I suspected.
    I often hide or unlike a page that overdoes it. Unless it’s really big news, why do I need to read updates more than once/day?

  4. If the customer still buys from the brand that she doesn’t want updates from, that does nothing to deter the methodology of the brand.
    Very much feels like those silly efforts to get everyone to stop buying gas for one day to ruin the oil companies.
    Where does it change?

  5. It is also the medium for me, I don’t mind if you retweet your newest posts a few times in a single day (say 2-3 over a 12 hour period) on twitter, but doing the same on Facebook annoys the hell out of me.

  6. Liking, Fanning, and Following are low-risk, (potentially) high-reward actions for consumers. The news report and study suggest the case is different for brands: social media connections with customers may be high-reward but also high-risk.
    The brands which grasp the difference between the two relationships are those we’ll likely identify as anathematic. Ironically, they’ll also be the brands which haven’t forgotten that being good at sales means being good at listening.

  7. THANK…YOU. I get incredibly frustrated and actually rather LIVID by people who think relationship building has different rules online and that they can jam their way into your life without apology and smother every web space you have and ONLY tweet you (yes, there are people who only tweet me one after the next) and crawl around your entire online existence. It’s angering, suffocating and disrespectful. Thanks for pointing this out.
    The surest way to get BLOCKED or BANNED in various web pages is to behave in this way.

  8. Mitch,
    I have been reading your book and it is hard to put down! This post was great because is confirmed my philosophy of take it slow, give more than you take, and give good quality to your posts not quantity. Thanks!

  9. Agreed. Those costumers that are not devoted or shows little interest in a brand, their actions are beyond our control. That’s why we should focus thoughts for our long term costumers who easily relate with what we are offering them.

  10. This is a great article and a very vital point to be resounded across Social networks because we tend to lose sight of the people as individuals instead of bottom-line boosters.
    Thanks for the article

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