'Irritating' social media marketing slammed by consumers

'Irritating' social media marketing slammed by consumers
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Marketers are at risk of turning customers away from their brand as a result of irritating online behaviour, a new report has revealed.

According to research commissioned by software company Pitney Bowes, more than 83% of consumers have had a bad experience with social media marketing, and 65% of consumers said they’d stop using a brand that upset or irritated them through its social media behaviour.

Of those surveyed, 34% said they are regularly “spammed” by social media marketing, 23% find pop-up ads irritating, and 14% said ads of promotions for products and services were not personally tailored to them.

Furthermore, 6% said they were hacked while providing information and another 6% said they were annoyed by friends sending frequent ‘recommendations’.

Just 17% said they hadn’t had a bad experience with social media marketing.

According to industry analysts Gartner, worldwide social media revenue is set to reach US$34bn by 2016.

Pitney Bowles GM Simon Bird said: “For social media marketers, annoying customers can mean lost revenue. In the survey, 65% 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% of marketing budgets in 2013.

“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.”

According to Pitney Bowes marketers can avoid the pitfalls of social media marketing while maintaining the benefits by following the tips below:

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.

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