Poor planning and a “lack of sanity” is proving to be fatal for brands’ social marketing activities, according to new research by TolunaQuick and social PR agency C&M.

The ‘What We Like and Dislike’ report, based on interviews with over 3,000 consumer internationally, found that 50% of people still see TV as their prime media source, and nearly 60% of purchasing decisions are influenced by traditional ads and products reviews.

So although 45% of people choose to interact with brands on social media, we’re yet again reminded that’s it’s important to view this in context of the wider marketing mix.

Expectations of just what can be achieved through social engagement may also require some reassessment, particularly in terms of how easy campaigns are to understand or get involved with.

TolunaQuick found that over 50% of respondents felt overwhelmed by brand messages on social media, while 40% felt that brand promotions are too complex to enter – a further 20% felt that incentives are not worth the effort.

The study suggests that poor planning is responsible for this, with too much reliance on social media as a primary marketing tool and irrelevant or overly complex offers confusing people before they have a chance to engage.

The bottom line is that there needs to be a firm understanding of why people use social media in the first place.

People don’t join Facebook to interact with brands – 75% of respondents said that one or two Facebook messages per day is too much to receive from a brand and almost 40% don’t want to share brand interactions with friends.

Of those of us who do interact with brands, almost 80% simply click the ‘like’ button and only 20% proactively post messages to brand pages.

But that’s not to say there is no value in Facebook marketing.

Nearly 50% of respondents use social and online resources to get brand news and updates and 55% of those who follow brands do so to get involved in competitions and promos.

The authors suggest that engagement must carry the right incentive to be valuable, and interactions need to help people deliver real value to a user’s friends if they are to share branded content.