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Though most active users of social networking sites say they visit those sites primarily to stay connected with friends and family, many also want to engage with brands: 65% of such frequent social networking users say they are a fan of at least one brand on Facebook and 31% follow a brand on Twitter, according to a survey from Invoke Solutions.

Active social networkers—those who have at least one active social networking account and frequently engage in social media-related behavior—say they interact with brands via social networks in various ways:

  • 47% say they have posted a comment on a company's Facebook page.
  • 41% have read blogs.
  • 32% have posted a comment about a company or product on their own Facebook page.
  • 17% have sent brand-related tweets on Twitter.

Below, other findings from the report, Hyper Social Networking, which surveyed 314 active users of social networking sites.

Facebook Dominates

Facebook continues to dominate social media: 90% of surveyed social networkers say they have a Facebook account that they use actively.

In addition, 78% of social networkers mention the site when asked what they associate most with "social networking," whereas 31% mention Twitter.

Facebook has also become a key destination for brand information, especially for Twitter users: 62% of those who follow at least one brand on Twitter and 47% of those who are a fan of at least one brand on Facebook say they use Facebook as a source of brand information. Those figures compare with 38% of all social networkers who say the same about Facebook.

Still, most social networkers seek brand or product information via search engines (86%) and company websites (81%).

Interestingly, those who follow brands via Twitter are nearly twice as likely as other social networkers to use company blogs to find information (37% vs. 19%)—and fully one-quarter of such Twitter users say they have conducted a Twitter search (25%) or have added a company of interest to those they follow (28%).

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Twitter Gaining Influence

Roughly 35% of surveyed social networkers say they have a Twitter account that they actively use.

Some 31% of social networkers follow companies via Twitter—and such consumers are more likely than other social networkers to leverage the full spectrum of social media outlets to engage brands when they have a comment or complaint: 47% post comments on their Facebook page (vs. 37% of other social networkers), 68% post comments on companies' pages (vs. 65%), and 25% tweet and blog about brands (vs. 12%).

Rewarding Consumer Interaction

Consumers want to be rewarded for interacting with brands via social networks: 60% of Facebook fans cite coupons and discounts as the top reason they follow retailers on Facebook.

Some 16% become a Facebook fan to get early or exclusive brand information and 12% do so to view unbiased feedback about the retailer.

Other findings:

  • Consumers' trust in social network content is reasonably strong, even if companies are posting it: 41% of social networkers say they trust Facebook posts from brands "completely" or "somewhat."
  • The desire to use a mobile phone to access social media varies by age: 78% of social networkers age 50+ and roughly one-half of those age 35-49 say they don't use their cell phone for social media. Only 30% of those age 18-34 say the same.

About the data: Findings are from a survey of 314 adults age 18+ who have at least one active social networking account; it was conducted by Invoke Solutions, June 15-18, 2010.

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