A report from AYTM Market Research suggests that more than 72 percent of consumers follow or Like brands on social networks.

A report from AYTM Market Research suggests that consumers now expect businesses to maintain presences on social networks, with 72.6 percent saying they follow or Like companies.

The motivations for connecting with brands on social networks range from access to exclusive discounts and offers to interacting with the company. Regardless of the reasons consumers reach out, businesses should be take this as a cue to be proactive in their use of social media in terms of engaging prospects and existing customers. They may find a little engagement goes a long way in encouraging brand recommendations. More than 61 percent of respondents to AYTM’s survey said they have reached out to a company on a social network to relay a positive experience.

On the other end, more than 35 percent said they have complained about a poor experience to a businesses on Facebook, Twitter or any other platform. This demonstrates opportunities for businesses to address issues with public social posts that counterbalance naysayers and build a brand’s reputation as a responsive company. Plus, while some think negative comments are a deterrent from using social marketing, they should be viewed as ways to collect feedback and assess areas where companies can improve.

Responses to social engagement are viewed favorably by prospects and customers, AYTM found. Seventy-two percent of respondents said they have been satisfied with social interactions with brands. But many businesses could be doing more to address social followers, as more than one-quarter of respondents said they do not typically see responses.

Several recent social developments are making it easier for businesses to share engaging content. For businesses with successful social media marketing strategies, it seems Facebook’s Timeline has resulted in increased an activity. Brafton recently reported that the highly visual profile layout has increased two-way communication by as much as 46 percent.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.