Social media marketing isn’t having the desired effect on a large proportion of users, according to a new report by UK business intelligence firm, YouGov SixthSense. Over a third (35%) of respondents revealed they hide company announcements if they update too often.

Close to half (45%) of social media users have liked or joined the page of a brand, but only 22% have followed a brand on Twitter.  Indeed, these followers/fans are most likely to be current customers (33%) whose primary motivation is a desire to get something in return (34%).

Nearly half (47%) of all social media users would be motivated to like or follow a brand if they received special offers. However, 40% would cease if the brand said something they disagreed with, which gives an idea of the marketing tightrope that needs to be carefully walked.

Social and Traditional Media are Worlds Apart

Advertisers may have endured success across traditional media, but it doesn’t mean they’ll be able to apply the same practices and theories to social media, advises YouGov SixthSense research director James McCoy.

“Reaching potential customers through social media is rather different from doing so through traditional media channels,” McCoy said. “The proportion of Facebook users who are tuning out of brands’ marketing efforts clearly indicates that a savvier approach is needed.”

The figures will be of little worry to social networks. Twitter gives advertisers ways to target users who aren’t following them through surveys, its new lead generation cards and an ads API. Whilst Facebook also has an array of options for marketers.

What may cause uneasiness at Zuckerberg’s headquarters is the fact that Facebook usage is down by nine percentt from this time last year, among the internet-connected UK consumers polled in this research.

Consumer Angst

Of particular concern to social networks will be the number of consumers becoming disillusioned with the sites. There’s been an 18% rise since April 2012 in those who have stopped using them after becoming irritated by social media marketing campaigns.

SixthSense’s research might be teetering on the morose, but McCoy wanted to point out there were findings that painted a brighter picture of social media marketing activities in the UK.

“While there are significant challenges, this report identifies potential opportunities for ‘marketeers’ to build on, such as the relatively high proportion of young men who respond positively to targeted ads on social media.”

McCoy was referring to how one demographic was notably more receptive to ads. Of the respondents, 21% agreed/strongly agreed with the statement that young men aged 25-39 are significantly more likely than average to state that targeted advertising is relevant to them.