Brits Find Big Brands On Social Networks A Turn-Off

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Two-thirds of British social network users do not wish to engage with “social” businesses, a survey says

New research has suggested that British Internet users resent big brands invading social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. This could be a wake-up call for companies like Facebook and Google+ which rely on lucrative brand pages and targeted advertising for their income.

The rise in social networks has presented an opportunity for businesses to engage with consumers quickly and cheaply, with many rushing to expand their online presence. The TNS Digital Life study, which examined the views and behaviour of 72,000 people from 60 countries, warned that unless these campaigns are carefully targeted, then businesses could be wasting their time and money creating friendless Facebook accounts or seldom-read blogs.

Leave Us Alone

According to the research, 57 percent of consumers in developed markets do not want to engage with brands via social media, a figure which rises to 61 percent among British users. However, users in developing countries were more accepting, with just 33 percent of Colombians and 37 percent of Mexicans saying they did not want to be bothered by advertising.

“The online world undoubtedly presents massive opportunities for brands, however it is only through deploying precisely tailored marketing strategies that they will be able to realise this potential. Choosing the wrong channel, or simply adding to the cacophony of online noise, risks alienating potential customers and impacting business growth,” said Matthew Froggatt, chief development officer at TNS.

“Digital waste is the accumulation of thousands of brands rushing online without thinking who they want to talk to – and why,” he added.

Positive Reinforcement

The study also attempted to discover why people engage with brands online and found that although 46 percent did it to give advice, 61 percent did so because of a promotion or a special offer. Interestingly more users engage with brands to praise them rather than complain.

“The key is to understand your target audience and what they want from your brand – social networks aren’t always the right approach,” commented Froggatt, “If consumers in one market don’t want to be talked to, can you use an alternative online method – creating owned digital media platforms, targeted sponsorship or search campaigns – to engage in an appropriate way that will achieve business results, without adding to the digital waste pile?”

Many brands already have Facebook pages, but Google’s decision to permit the creation of business pages on Google+ could net the fledgeling social network an extra 20 million users by the end of the year. Twitter has also been keen to get in on the act and could allow companies to create business pages in an attempt to monetise the business conducted on its network.

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