More than 80% of Australian social media users have connected with a brand on social media, according to a new study, but almost half have also ditched a brand on social media, suggesting businesses should rethink their strategies.

The findings come from Latitude Insights and Social Hatch, which joined forces to produce Always On – a study that highlights key drivers of engagement in social media.

The study incorporates multiple data sources, including a series of in-depth interviews with Australians, ranging from heavy to light social media users.

The research also included an online survey with 1,057 Australian social media users and a private online community for qualitative data collection.

The study shows 82% of Australian social media users have connected with a brand on social media, with 29% of respondents saying they have connected with 10 or more brands.

Social media is also emerging as a preferred channel for brand communications – 30% of respondents choose social media for offers and discounts, compared to 12% who choose the web.

For general information, 28% choose social media, while another 28% choose the web. In contrast, only 17% choose email.

But according to the report, many social media users feel let down by the current experience brands are providing.

“Consumers are interested in getting to know brands better on social media, in many instances preferring this over other media,” the report said.

“However, our research also shows that social media users are currently underwhelmed by brands’ activity in this space. While some brands are getting it right, many are not.”

The report reveals 44% of respondents have ditched a brand on social media.

The main reasons were too many posts (55%), boring content (36%), and lost interest in the product or service (31%).

Meanwhile, 19% of respondents have ditched a brand on social media because they felt the brand behaved badly, while 12% were worried what their friends would think of them being associated with that brand.

“To succeed in the social media space, brands need to understand that it is a different kind of social space, with its own set of social norms,” the report said.

“Brands need to ensure that social media users feel like the content is specific to them. In this space, a brand’s product, service, content and tone all need to make consumers feel like it has been developed just for them.”

The benefit to consumers of connecting with brands in the social media space needs to be more than having a good product or service, the report said.

Beyond competitions, freebies and discounts, the report said consumers are compelled to connect with brands for a number of other reasons, including:

  • Social currency. This means being “first to know”, whether it’s breaking news on brands, first access to a new product, new advertisements, promotions, etc.
  • Information education, such as uses for a product.
  • Entertainment, such as interesting content.
  • Having a voice, such as co-creating, helping develop better products, etc.
  • Immediate answers to questions.

This article first appeared on StartupSmart.

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