When consumers and brands break up...statisticsWe all know that social media can bring consumers and brands closer together. Brands no longer just shout messages at consumers through adverts but can actually talk with them – getting real time customer feedback, dealing with queries, building on offline promotions, rewarding loyal customers and building lasting relationships…all of which ultimately fuel sales.

According to recent research, “almost half of the Active Internet Universe has already joined a brand community” (Wave 2010 – annual social media tracker survey – Universal McCann).

So what can cause these newly forged online relationships to break down and have consumers saying “it’s not me, it’s you” and moving to “unsubscribe,” “unfan,” “unlike,” or “unfollow” a brand?

Email marketing service provider ExactTarget has released a report which looks at exactly that – the motivations and actions of US consumers as they terminate their relationships with brands through Email, Facebook, and Twitter.

This survey highlights that consumers don’t want the brand to be their friend. They want relevant and useful info, discounts and special offers, customer support, to find out about the company and it’s products and to connect to like-minded people. However it seems many brands are ‘coming on too strong’ with too many posts being the top reason for people giving the brand ‘the elbow’.

Consumers are least likely to ditch a brand on Twitter according to this survey, when compared to Facebook or email users – 41% for Twitter, versus 55% for Facebook and 91% for email. That is likely to be due to the fact that it is much easier to gloss over/miss brand posts in a busy tweet stream.

Stick your Tweet…

  • Repetitive or boring tweets are the most common reason people stop following brands on Twitter (52%)
  • People don’t follow a brand to be ‘friends’ – they’re looking for something…information, deals, support….”20% of Twitter users have stopped following a company because tweets were too chit-chatty”
  • 21% of people said goodbye to a brand on Twitter because their tweets were too promotional

Male consumers are less marketing savvy…when it comes to Facebook at least!

  • Only 44% of men equate “liking” a brand with permission to send marketing messages, while 55% of women make this connection
  • Younger consumers (< 24)  the least likely to expect marketing messages via Facebook (40%)
  • Older consumers(>35) expect some promotional messaging after becoming ‘fans’ (55%)
  • 63% of consumers have “unliked” a company on Facebook due to excessive postings—either the individual brand’s postings (44%) or in an attempt to cut down on overall marketing clutter (43%)
  • The company posting too frequently is the top reason for people clicking ‘unlike’ on a brand (44%)

The same is true of email marketing – Nearly half of consumers (47%) unsubscribe from because they’re overwhelmed by the amount of email they receive in general according to this research.

Some more interesting statistics in terms of email marketing…

  • 42% of subscribers say they’re more likely to buy from a company after signing up for their emails
  • 54% of consumers say they unsubscribe when emails come too frequently from a particular brand
  • 49% of consumers say they unsubscribe because content became boring or repetitive over time
  • 17% of subscribers will continually delete or ignore email from companies with whom they no longer wish to interact, rather than making the effort to unsubscribe or hit the spam button.

Download the full ExactTarget report here.