By John Lavey | Hammock President and COO

Is your content strategy strictly focused on generating leads and using social channels to push out content? One new study suggests that what may be successful in the short term may actually undermine your customer relationships in the long term.

A research paper from Temple University’s Fox School of Business called, “Tempting Fate: Social Media Posts by Firms, Customer Purchases, and the Loss of Followers,” shares a fundamental problem with social media posts created by businesses. In a study of a large Chinese retailer’s posts on WeChat—a platform like Facebook—short-term gains cause firms to post more promotional content, boosting sales by 5 percent.

The issue? The posts made followers of the business more likely to unfollow it—to the tune of 300 percent.

“The fundamental problem is that even as social media draws people who are potential buyers, it runs the risk of potentially harming the long-term relationship between the organization that’s doing the post and its audience,” reports Shankar Vedantam, science desk correspondent for National Public Radio.

Even as a promotion attracts buyers, the quantity of content may annoy more people. The study found that the negative effects of social media are more pronounced in big cities and during busy times.

Bear in mind that this study was isolated to a large Chinese retailer. More research has to be done in healthcare and other B2B markets on how consumers are turned on and turned off. Still, this study points to the inherent risk in directing promotional content at your audience like a firehose.

Takeaway: Be strategic and focused on long-term customer relationships. Evaluate whether your content is too much about you and getting noticed versus genuinely valuable to your audience.


Image Credit | iStock

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