Brands warned on Facebook hard sell

22 December 2011

NEW YORK: Posting too often, using hard sell tactics and not interacting enough with followers are among the main reasons brands are un-Liked on Facebook, new research has suggested.

A study from NM Incite, a Nielsen-owned research firm, indicates that feeling a Facebook connection is "trying to sell me something" is the third most-popular reason people de-friend others on the social network, cited by 39% of respondents.

According to the report, the top two reasons were not knowing the friend sufficiently well (41%) and the friend leaving "offensive" comments (55%).

Other potential blocks on brands building a significant social media presence comes in the fact that 6% of users have de-friended connections who update their profiles too often. Still more (20%) have broken connections due to a "lack of interaction".

More generally, 66% of users said they use Facebook to read consumer feedback about products and services, while 60% read about brands on the network. Moreover, 58% said they have followed companies in order to get access to coupons and other promotions.

But Facebook is still overwhelmingly a platform for personal, rather than brand, interactions.

By far the most frequently-cited reason respondents gave for adding a Facebook friend was that they knew the person in real life (82% of users).

"Research suggests that real world interactions drive online friendships," NM Incite added. "Meanwhile, sales-oriented ... comments help drive friend removals."

The report also found that slightly more users had previously left positive, rather than negative Facebook feedback on products and services (54% to 51%). Women were found to be more likely than men to have left positive comments of this kind.

Data sourced from Nielsen; additional content by Warc staff