Facebook is shaping up as volatile territory for brands. Advice on how to use the space best varies wildly; should you post everyday and stay in consumers minds, or should you rarely post so you don’t annoy? Ideal strategies obviously differ by the type of brand concerned, but most brands could learn something from a new study into why Facebook users ‘un-like’ brands.

The study, released by ExactTarget and CoTweet, found brands posting content too frequently was the main reason users who had ‘liked’ a brand later chose to ‘un-like’ them. In fact, 44% of the American consumers surveyed said they would un-like a Facebook page if they thought it posted too frequently.

Results from the study also suggested pages need to keep content fresh and interesting to maintain a Facebook user’s attention, with 38% of respondents saying they would un-like a brand if content was becoming repetitive or boring.

Finally, the study also found 26% of respondents said they only ‘liked’ a company because of a promotion. Offering incentives to click that little ‘like’ button are clearly working, but this study suggests brands must keep their new fans entertained, while not smothering them.

“While a Facebook campaign may not abolish your sales, it can potentially do serious damage to a consumer’s opinions of a brand,” senior director of ExactTarget Australia Lee Hawksley warns. There is an expectation from Facebook users that marketers keep their Facebook pages fresh, interesting and to keep posts and updates to a minimum.”

“If these posts become ‘spam’, Facebook users will speak out about it and ‘un-like’ the company,” said Hawksley.

The study found the following typical fan action from Facebook users who no longer want to see a brand’s post:

  • 43 per cent make the effort to go to the company’s page and unlike them.
  • 38 per cent click the ‘x’ in the newsfeed to ensure those posts are no longer displayed, and
  • 19 per cent do nothing – they ignore the posts