The study, by Vanson Bourne, compares social marketing trends with consumer attitudes and reveals that many marketers are losing potential customers from irritating online behaviour.
While only a quarter of consumers were found to actually use social media to interact with companies, brand recommendations and likes from friends were largely welcomed. 15% reported they had even made a purchase based off of a friend's recommendation.
However, unsolicited social media marketing was said to be the worst experience for a consumer while online.
Consumers were found to be accepting of messages sent from brands they already followed online but 40% said they would be annoyed to be contacted by a brand they didn't follow.
Social media is increasingly becoming a popular tool for marketing directors with nearly 70% claiming that 25% of their budgets will be dedicated to social media in 2013.
Vanson Bourne's research, however, suggests a disconnect between UK marketers' use of social media and what consumers actually want.
One example is the use of discount or money saving vouchers. While customers were found to be most responsive to upcoming sales, new products and discounts; marketers viewed incentives as the least effective social media marketing method.
Marketing decision makers instead rated newsletters and customer satisfaction surveys (70%) as the most interesting to customers.
Yet, only 10% of customers showed any interest in participating in those type of communications.
"This research is fascinating because it reveals a clear disconnect between the effort marketers are putting into social media and the desire among consumers to engage," said Kieran Kilmartin, EMEA Marketing Director, Pitney Bowes Software. "Even well-intentioned marketers that persist with old-school 'broadcast' marketing models risk inadvertently turning potential brand ambassadors off, or at worst, triggering them to disengage completely and ultimately become a 'brand blocker'."
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