ExactTarget Report Cautions Brands on Using Facebook

A social media expert says start-ups should be wary of posting too frequently on Facebook as it can prompt users to “Unlike” their brand, based on the findings of a new survey.

ExactTarget, a US-based company focused on social media and email marketing software and services, recently released the findings of The Social Break-up report.

The study is based on the responses of 1,500 US consumers and offers an insight into how users interact with brands online, particularly via social networking.

According to the survey, 44% of consumers say they unlike a Facebook page if the company posts too frequently.

The study also found that 38% of consumers would unlike a brand if the content grew repetitive or boring, while 26% only “Like” a company if it allows them to take advantage of a one-time offer.

A total of 24% unlike a brand if it doesn’t offer enough deals, yet another 24% will unlike a brand if the posts are too promotional.

When asked what action users take when they no longer want to see a brand’s posts, 38% click the ‘x’ in the newsfeed to ensure the posts are no longer displayed, while 19% simply ignore the posts.

However, 63% of respondents are likely to continue to continue purchasing from a company even after ending their Facebook “relationship” but 51% rarely visit a brand’s page after liking it.

ExactTarget says the correlation between unliking a company and continuing to do business with that company is “tenuous at best”, suggesting companies shouldn’t link the two.

Lee Hawksley, senior director of ExactTarget Australia, says even though the research is based on the responses of US consumers, it gives global insights into the way consumers deal with brands on Facebook.

“While a Facebook campaign may not abolish your sales, it can potentially do serious damage to a consumer’s opinions of a brand,” Hawksley says.

“There is an expectation from Facebook users that marketers keep their Facebook pages fresh, interesting and to keep posts and updates to a minimum. If these posts become spam, Facebook users will speak out about it and unlike the company.”

ExactTarget says while Facebook remains a viable channel for interactive marketing, companies probably shouldn’t place undue emphasis on how many times they are “liked”.

“Rather, the emphasis should be on fostering an engaged community of fans who like you enough to amplify your brand within their circle of Facebook friends,” the company says.