83 percent of consumers have had a bad social media marketing experience. Pitney Bowes survey uncovers social media marketing experiences. 
 
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, 8 May, 2013
 
Marketers are at risk of turning customers away from their brand as a result of what consumers see as irritating online behaviour. 83 percent of consumers have had a bad experience with social media marketing.  This is the key finding of new global research into the effectiveness of social media marketing commissioned by Pitney Bowes.
 
Simon Bird, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, Pitney Bowes Software said, “Worldwide social media revenue is set to reach US$34 billion by 2016, according to industry analysts, Gartner. Advertising generated a projected US$8.8 billion this in 2012 alone – over half of the total. It’s clear that social media marketers are right to try and tap into this channel.
 
“Unlike other channels, social media provides access to consumers' personal lives. It opens up an ongoing, personalised dialogue with them. However there must be a balance between fostering ongoing relationships and being seen as a nuisance.”
So do consumers’ attitudes and responsiveness to social media marketing match marketers’ sizeable investment in, and high expectations of, these channels?
Pitney Bowes asked consumers for their worst social media marketing experiences. 
  • 34 percent of Australians believe they are spammed by social media marketing
  • 23 percent of people find pop-up adverts irritating
  • 14 percent said that ads or promotions for products/services were not personally tailored to their interests
  • 6 percent were hacked while providing information
  • 6 percent of people said they were annoyed by friends sending frequent ‘recommendations’
  • 17 percent said they haven’t had a bad experience. 
Simon Bird said, “For social media marketers, annoying customers can mean lost revenue. In the survey, 65 percent of consumers said they’d stop using a brand that upset or irritated them through its social media behaviour. That’s a pretty big deal considering the survey showed social media activity is estimated to be 25 percent of marketing budgets in 2013.”
 
So how can marketers avoid the pitfalls of social media marketing, while maintaining the benefits? Pitney Bowes provides the following tips.
  1. Don’t post too often. Many brands are guilty of posting too often. Three to four posts (plus engagement) per week is all it takes for most brands to grow audiences and capture leads on Facebook.  
  2. Post original content. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for how much content should be original and how much should be third party, it’s generally accepted that at least some of your social content should be original. Think of it this way: If your brand only pulls content from other sources, why should I follow you and not the company creating the content? 
  3. Tailor your posts. LinkedIn allows marketers to leverage the power of segmentation with its targeting options, and on Google+, marketers can add targeted names or circles to each update.
  4. Reward customer loyalty. To reward followers, offer discounts, promotions or specials to not only encourage them to keep using your products, but also to inspire them to keep interacting with your business on social media sites.
  5. Take advantage of customer feedback. Whether positive or negative, it’s always important to listen to customer feedback. Take time to read consumer comments on your Facebook page. If it’s negative you can make some changes, but if it’s positive then you know you’re on the right track.
It is critical for marketers to develop an in-depth understanding of their customers’ communications preferences and what makes them tick. These will vary from individual to individual. Brands not only collect customer information but also gain insight from it. They should approach customers through the channels they like and with content that is relevant to them and their current situation.
 
About the study
In August and September 2012, Vanson Bourne conducted online interviews with 300 senior marketing decision-makers working in business-to-consumer organisations across five international markets (UK, France, Germany, Australia, US) and seven economic sectors (Retail, Insurance, Retail Banking, Utilities, Telecoms, FMCG and the Public Sector).
 
The questionnaire focused on their use of social media as a marketing channel, including aspects such as their marketing spend, channels used, social media tactics used, measurement and the challenges associated with social media marketing.
 
At the same time, 3,000 adult consumers in the same regions, who use either use or have previously used social media, were interviewed online to explore corresponding areas of interest, such as which social media channels they are using, what they are using them for, along with their response to receiving marketing messages and providing personal information.