What Marketers Can Learn From Facebook "Unfriending" Study

Post date: 2022-05-09 Category: Marketing

What Marketers Can Learn From Facebook "Unfriending" Study Named 2009 "Word of the Year" by the New Oxford American Dictionary, " Unfriend" is used as a verb and the official definition is "To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook."  What does it take to be removed as a 'friend'?   The answers are hardly surprising.  Those things that pretty much get you ostracized at a cocktail party, are considered to be poor online behaviors as well.

Recently, a University of Colorado Denver Business School student revealed the top reasons for Facebook unfriending, who is unfriended and how they react to being unfriended.

"Researchers spend a lot of time examining how people form friendships online but little is known on how those relationships end," said Christopher Sibona, a PhD student in the Computer Science and Information Systems program whose research will be published January by the Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences . "Perhaps this will help us develop a theory of the entire cycle of friending and unfriending."

1. Don't be boring. After surveying more than 1,500 Facebook users,  Sibona found the top reason for unfriending is frequent, unimportant posts.  "The 100th post about your favorite band is no longer interesting," he said.

2. Don't rant. The second reason was posting about polarizing topics like religion and politics.  Sibona added, ""They say not to talk about religion or politics at office parties and the same thing is true online."

3. Don't be rude. Inappropriate posts, such as crude or racist comments, were the third reason for being unfriended.

Hardly rocket science here, but let's think about these three reasons for unfriending might be applied towards marketing tactics and content creation.

1. Don't be boring.   Sending the 99th email about your product without the "what's in it for me?" component, is sure to be a great turn-off.  And, is incredibly boring.  Creating remarkable content that your readers look forward to is a sure way to be considered less than boring.

2. Don't rant.   As a marketer you need to be on topic and communicate information that is relevant to your prospects. Ranting is selfish. Talking off topic in your marketing materials or on your blog is a quick way to lose the attention of your prospects.

3. Don't be rude.   We all get those "Well, if you aren't going to listen to me, then you aren't important to me or my sales funnel" emails...and they are rude.  Do you know why a sales person would consider engaging in a conversation with a prospect in such a manner?  I would relish the 100th "break up" or "unfriend" email after such an engagement.

What do you think?  Do prospects "unfriend" companies because of the marketing tactics employed?