SYDNEY: Some 82% of Australian social media users have connected with a brand via this channel, but almost half subsequently reversed this decision, new research has found.

The Always On white paper, from Latitude Insights and Social Hatch, was compiled following in-depth interviews and an online survey of 1,057 social media users, with the aim of understanding the opportunity for brands to connect, integrate, influence and engage with consumers on social media.

The main reasons given by the 44% of users that had dumped a brand included being spammed by the brand, cited by 55%, boredom with its content, referred to by 36%, while 31% were no longer interested in the product or service.

Despite this, Australians are increasingly opting for social media as their preferred channel for brand communications.

A third choose this route to give general feedback, compared to 25% doing so on the web and just 13% via email.

Social media is also a popular way of getting offers and discounts, with 30% of consumers using this mode, compared to 31% on email and just 12% on the web.

Around a quarter prefer to make complaints, look for help or general information via social media, roughly on a par with the web, while a smaller 15% or so continue to use email.

There are other motives for connecting to brands, however, as the White Paper notes that smart brands are looking for ways to sustain a longer term relationship with consumers.

The research showed that 33% connect in order to be among the first to know about new products and trends, while 26% want to have a 'voice' with the brand and 22% say they want to support a brand they admire.

Just 20% connected in order to actually buy goods and services.

"It's great to have strong evidence of Australian consumers' willingness to connect with brands on social media," said Kristen Boschma, general manager of The Social Hatch told B&T. But she noted that people can get "seriously annoyed" and quickly dump brands that behave badly on social media.

"Our report proved something that we've long suspected," she added. "Brands need to offer more than just competitions, discounts and push communications to sustain their social media relationships with consumers."

Data sourced from Latitude Insights/B&T; additional content by Warc staff