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Study suggests consumers shun retailers that engage through social media

06 March 2014 - 11:37 by Mike Price

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A new poll conducted by YouGov, has revealed the surprising fact that people who carry out safe shopping online, are less likely to trust a retailer if it happens to have active social media accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

While many retailers embrace these platforms as a means of engaging with customers, promoting their e-commerce sites and generally keeping pace with the rest of the market, the study implies that by doing so, they could be reducing the degree to which consumers are willing to trust them.

Forty per cent of the people questioned in the study said that they like to keep a degree of separation between their e-commerce activities and their socialising through popular platforms.

Roughly the same proportion said that they believe services like Facebook should be harnessed for engaging with friends and family, rather than keeping up with what retailers have to offer.

Almost two thirds of respondents said that they were unhappy with the idea that a list of the items which they purchase online, might be stored in their social media profiles, leading to targeted ads and other promotions.

Interestingly, the report revealed that while consumers may be turned off by a retailer's social media presence, the effectiveness of traditional advertising on the TV or in print is still significant.

Report spokesperson, James McCoy, said that consumers have clearly shown their desire to differentiate between their online shopping activities and their social media usage. This can lead to a lack of trust if people find a retailer using social services to court the affections of customers.

Of course, retailers are unlikely to stop using Twitter and Facebook, because it is so ingrained in modern marketing strategies. But the results of this report could have an impact on the ways they use such sites.