Corporate Eye

Nearly 2 out of 3 Consumers Have Unfollowed Brands on Social Media

brand unlike thumbs downConsumers follow brands on social media. However, consumers also unfollow brands on social media. In other words, getting social media followers is often the result of short-term, tactical efforts rather than long-term, sustainable, and strategic initiatives to build consumer brand loyalty.

This data comes from a recent survey by 140 Proof of U.S. mobile users between the ages of 18 and 59. Specifically, 61% of respondents reported that they had unliked or unfollowed a brand that they had previously followed on a social media site while another 29% reported that they had liked a brand but never unfollowed a brand. The final 10% of respondents had never followed a brand on social media at all.

The study also found that consumers use specific social media platforms to engage more frequently about different topics. Here is an overview of the top three social networks for the ten topic areas that were researched:

  • Food and Dining: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter
  • Celebrities and Gossip: Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Business and Industry: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter
  • Home Decor: Pinterest (by a wide margin), Facebook, and Instagram
  • Family and Parenting: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter
  • Brands and Companies: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
  • Fashion, Style, and Beauty: Pinterest (by a wide margin), Facebook, and Twitter
  • Personal Finance: LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook
  • Technology: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
  • Hobbies: Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter

Consumers were least engaged on social media about personal finance and technology. Furthermore, LinkedIn ranked last for engagement for all but three topics (business and industry, personal finance, and hobbies). On the other hand, Facebook ranked in the top two for engagement for all but one topic (personal finance) where it ranked in a close third place. Twitter ranked in the top three for engagement for all but one topic (home decor) where it ranked fourth. Instagram ranked in the bottom half in all topics while Pinterest ranked very well in some topics (food and dining, home decore, family and parenting, brands and companies, fashion, style, and beauty, and hobbies) but very low in others (celebrities and gossip, business and industry, personal finance, and technology).

For brands, the survey results show where target consumers are more likely to spend time and be willing to consume and engage with branded content, but for direct brand and company engagement, consumers are willing to interact on social media platforms in this order: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Consider these research results as you develop your social media marketing plans for the future. Location matters as much on the social web as it does in person.

Image: J. Henning Buchholz

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.