Skip to main contentA logo with &quat;the muse&quat; in dark blue text.
Advice / Succeeding at Work / Break Room

Why You're Losing Followers on Social Media (and How to Stop)

This morning, you logged into your company’s Twitter account and found that you’d lost six followers overnight. When you checked your company’s Facebook page, you were down 16 likes from just yesterday. And your Tumblr follower count seems several shy of what it was last week.

You’re too afraid to check your Google+ and Pinterest accounts—or to post anything ever again.

Sound familiar? Don’t worry—we’ve all been there. But before you throw in the towel, here’s a checklist of five habits to avoid on your social media platforms if you want to keep your followers. The good news is, if you happen to fall victim to any of them, all you need to do is stop. With a little post pruning, your Facebook Weekly Insights will find their way back to the green in no time.

Don’t Overwhelm Your Community

You’re so excited to share the photos you took at yesterday’s company offsite that your followers’ Facebook News Feeds are now flooded with nothing but photos of you and your colleagues. And, strangely, your page likes are going down, down, down.

While you should certainly leverage great, original content, you shouldn’t do it all at once. You’ll have to test out what works for your community and industry, but I try to stay within the following number of posts each day:

  • Facebook: 1-2
  • Twitter: 4-7
  • Tumblr: 1-4
  • Instagram: 1-4
  • Google+: 1-5
  • Don’t Get (Too!) Salesy

    Last year, you launched your company’s Instagram with behind-the-scenes photos and inspiring quote graphics. But as you’ve spent the last several months working on your latest product, your feed is now full of photos of, well, your product.

    It’s natural to want to leverage your social media accounts to promote your latest initiatives, but if you creep out your community to the extent that they’re un-following you, it’s time to switch tactics. Instead, post compelling, relevant content—like industry how-tos, staff room inspired Vines, or fill-in-the-blank games—that makes them want to engage with your brand. When you give them stuff they love, they’ll be more inclined to stick around for the product posts, and all that engagement will organically raise your company’s profile.

    Don’t Make it a One-Way Stream

    It’s been a busy few months, and you have been a posting machine. You’ve been sharing photos, staff blog posts, and curated articles about your industry—you even launched a Facebook contest! And still, your numbers are moving in the wrong direction. What gives?

    As the old adage goes, it takes two to tango. You may be working double-time to capture and create content that people actually want to share—but are you sharing back? Great content is important, but it’s just as important to be open, approachable, and present with your community across all of your platforms. By answering the questions they ask and including yourself in the conversations they’re having, you’re building brand trust. And followers!

    Don’t Leave Them Hanging

    Last year, you went on a social media rampage and signed your company up for every platform you could get your hands on. But after several months of diligently posting to all of them, you’ve let a few fall by the wayside. Now, your followers are leaving comments asking if you ever plan to update your page again, and your +1s are dropping by the hour.

    In this case, you have two options. The first is to delete the page. You’re better off having fewer social media platforms that you’re updating regularly than having more that you haven’t updated since early 2012. Only caveat: Before you go dark, let your remaining followers know where to find you.

    The second option is to streamline your posting process. Maybe you make a point to Google+ every time you post to Facebook or Twitter—or make a note in your calendar to make sure you don’t leave work without posting two photos to Instagram. Whatever rules you make for yourself, keep those platforms updated regularly, or get rid of them.

    Don’t Get Lazy On Tagging

    This week, Facebook announced that it, too, would be introducing tagging on its platform. Why? Because it works. We often get so consumed with creating interesting content that the actual process of posting isn’t given the TLC it deserves. But if you’re not tagging your posts appropriately, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for new people to stumble across—and fall in love with—your brand.

    Just don’t overdo it. Rule of thumb? If the content gets lost in the #s, you’ve probably included too many.

    There’s no getting around it: Social media is evolving at a breakneck pace, and the things that attracted followers to your page mere months ago could now be what’s turning them away. To keep your community happy—and growing!—keep a watchful eye on how people are responding to your content on each platform, and be ready to adjust your strategy as needed. It requires a little more time and energy, but it will ensure you won’t sign in to your Twitter account one morning and find that a mass exodus occurred while you were busy doing other things.

    Photo of man at computer courtesy of Shutterstock.