How to Deal with Followers Detoxing on Social Media

Maia Clinch Maia Clinch, Product Specialist

While social media usage continues to rise, there’s also a kind of backlash against it from some quarters. This includes:

  • People dropping social media altogether. This is not very common but it is happening.
  • Social media “detoxing,” akin to food fasting. This might involve taking a day, week, or month off from social media.
  • Parents limiting social media access to children.
  • People dropping certain platforms in favor of others. This may not be a literal backlash but it does mean certain sites can lose members.
  • A backlash against influencer marketing.

There are all important and often murky issues. It can get confusing because some of the evidence appears contradictory. For example, many people are leaving Facebook but Instagram’s numbers are growing. Influencer marketing is thriving yet there’s a backlash against it. Finding the truth requires us to look at social media in a nuanced manner. Let’s look at how businesses can avoid suffering from trends such as social media backlash and detoxing.

Are People Really Quitting Social Media?
There’s been quite a bit of talk about social media detoxing lately. Many people, especially younger users, are trying to limit their usage and take breaks from their screens. A recent survey, for example, found that 6 percent of users deleted their social media accounts. More common are people taking short-term social media detoxes, such as for 30 days. It’s important not to overreact to these occurrences. Overall, social media usage is still increasing worldwide. There are a few points to consider when studying social media backlash and detoxes.

  • Many people express the intent to limit social media usage. This doesn’t mean they’re actually doing it.
  • Detoxes are generally short breaks and, as such, don’t mean much in terms of overall usage.
  • The numbers point more to changes in platforms rather than a decrease in general usage. One of the biggest movements is from Facebook to Instagram, a bit ironic considering they’re owned by the same company.

Why are People Detoxing?
Even though it’s easy to overreact to social media backlash, it’s still well worth paying attention to some of the concerns that underlie it. These include:

  • The perception that social media is taking up too much time.
  • Excessive negativity, as in trolling and arguments over politics and cultural issues.
  • A backlash against influencers. This is often due to influencers making mistakes or coming across as insensitive or elitist.
  • Privacy and safety concerns, especially regarding children and teens.

With these types of issues in mind, let’s look at some guidelines for social media marketing that will help you avoid becoming a casualty of the backlash.

Connect With Your Audience on Social Issues
Many younger users, millennials and Gen-Zers, respect companies that have strong values and a mission that goes beyond making a profit. Support worthy causes and discuss social issues that are relevant to your business and industry. Some companies that are doing this with good results include the shoe company Toms, Lego, Ben & Jerry’s and the Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk.

At the same time, when dealing with political or cultural issues, don’t let your pages become polarized with conflict. You don’t want to be part of the problem people are trying to detox from. Focus on solutions and make your pages inspiring to visit.

Keep Your Content Relevant
Few people are actually quitting social media completely. It’s seldom a black or white issue. More common are people getting more discerning on how often they access their accounts and who they follow. If users are logging on less frequently or unfollowing accounts, you have to make sure you’re providing great content if you want to survive these purges.

  • Engage in social monitoring to find out what topics people are paying attention to. Listen to your customers, your competition, influencers in your industry, and current news stories.
  • Don’t overwhelm your audience. Don’t overdo it with promotional messages. Avoid too much repetition. If you’re posting the same content on multiple platforms, alter it a little. You can post more frequently on Twitter because the timeline moves very fast. On other sites, however, repeated messages can quickly get tedious.
  • Avoid posting generic content. Depending on your brand voice, it can be nice to sprinkle your content with personal stories and humor. However, don’t be one of those accounts that spams sites with popular memes, quizzes, cute photos or other generic content.

Use Influencer Marketing Strategically
Influencer marketing is still an effective strategy for connecting with your audience. The backlash against this type of marketing is mainly directed at influencers who are inappropriate or not well-targeted.

  • Don’t choose influencers simply because they have large followings. Make sure they are a good match for your audience.
  • Communicate with influencers before you hand over your platform to them. Make sure you’re both on the same page regarding the kind of content they share.
  • Seek micro-influencers, who are more likely to be closely aligned to your audience’s interests and needs. Influencers who are famous in a more general way are more likely to stray off topic and alienate your followers.

Think Omnichannel
The advantage of an omnichannel approach is that you won’t lose someone if he or she drops a single platform. The more ways you can stay in touch with people, the stronger your connection. In addition to social media, you can potentially connect with people via email, phone, direct mail and text messaging. All of these may not be appropriate for every business. However, everyone can adopt an omnichannel approach that includes as many channels and platforms as possible.

You Can Thrive Even if People are “Detoxing” on Social Media
While there is a certain backlash against social media, this doesn’t have to negatively impact your business. By keeping your content relevant, choosing your partnerships carefully and staying in touch with your audience in multiple ways, you’ll do fine even if some of your followers take a step back from social media.