A survey by research organisation YouGov, has suggested that although social media remain popular, those wishing to harness their power for marketing purposes must look beyond basic principles and properly address how best to engage users.

The survey found that Facebook was the most actively used social media site, having been accessed by 65% of online respondents within the past month.

This figure rose to 95% for those respondents aged between 16 and 20; and 74% for those in the 21 to 24 year old age group.

The second-most popular site, according to the survey, was YouTube, with 50% of respondents being classed as active users; whilst Twitter, Windows Live, Linkedin, Google +, and Spotify, accounted for 23%; 14%; 13%; 12%; and 10% of respondents respectively.

However, the survey found that, despite social media playing an active part in so many people’s lives, those wishing to exploit sites such as Facebook for marketing purposes could not afford to assume their products would be looked on favourably by users simply because they were being promoted via social media.

44% of respondents said they would not feel positively towards a product simply because their friends had followed or ‘liked’ it. Likewise, 43% said they would be:

“unlikely to talk about a brand on a social media site” simply because they had heard positive information about it.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, YouGov’s Dan Brilot said that promotions via social media:

“need to have an extra raison d’etre beyond merely being “social” to make an impact in today’s crowded market.”