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Consumers flock daily to social media sites to keep in touch with friends and family, but they are also keen to buy from brands that they have seen on these sites, according to new research from Performics and ROI Research. Marketers who develop relevant messaging––in the consumers' language and on their own terms––can gain customers and grow sales, the study suggests.

After seeing an ad on a social media site, 34% of respondents have used a search engine to find information on a product, service, or brand; 30% say they have learned about a new product, service, or brand from a social media site.

Consumers are also responsive to special offers on social sites. Some 32% of respondents say printable coupons resonate with them. Another 28% cite messages about sales or special deals.

Many marketers have shied away from direct branding or selling on social media sites for fear of alienating consumers, Performics points out. Marketers should instead understand how consumers interact with individual social media sites––and what types of offers and messages engage consumers and motivate them to act, the new research suggests.

Among Twitter users, for example:

  • 48% have used search after seeing ad on Twitter.
  • 44% say they are receptive to promotions and offers.
  • 44% say they have recommended a product on Twitter.
  • 39% have discussed a product on Twitter.

Among Facebook users who have connected with a brand on the site:

  • 46% say they are likely to talk about or recommend a product.
  • 44% say they are likely to purchase a product.
  • 37% say they are likely to link to an ad for a product.
  • 27% say they are likely to post an ad for a product.

Among YouTube users:

  • 36% say they have visited an online retailer or ecommerce site after learning about a brand on a social site.
  • 31% say they have discussed a brand on a social network site after seeing an ad in another channel.

"One in four respondents have four or more active social network accounts and more than one quarter access their Facebook or Twitter accounts at least one a day via their mobile phone," said Scott Haiges, president of ROI Research. "We knew that these sites are extremely popular for socializing, but the level of interest for branding and promotional marketing content is surprisingly large."

About the research: Based on a survey of 3,000 US consumers, the study was conducted by Performics, the performance-marketing unit inside Publicis Groupe's VivaKi Nerve Center, and ROI Research, an analytics and technology firm.

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