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Australians’ love affair with Facebook and Twitter has not translated into a love of the brands active on those sites with only 18 per cent of people rating social media as a reliable place for company information, according to The Age.

The report, citing Experian Hitwise, shows that consumers rate Wikipedia as a more reliable source of company or brand information than Facebook.

Despite the lukewarm embrace by consumers connecting with brands, 58 per cent of marketers anticipate increased spending for social media in the year ahead, the study showed.

“The reason there is a lack of trust is because Aussie marketers haven’t come to grips with how to effectively use the space to market their brands,” Experian Marketing Services general manager Matt Glasner said.

“(Instead) it has been used mostly for PR.”

Although there have been a string of social media gaffes by household name brands including Coke, Qantas and most recently Coles, Glasner predicted an even more rapid embrace by marketers trying to exploit the medium to build customer bases and drive business.

One in six page impressions in Australia are to Facebook.

“I don’t think it’s a channel that marketers can afford to ignore,” Glasner said.

Australians visited Facebook 6.2 billion times in 2011, for an average of 1.6 visits a day, lasting 26.5 minutes each visit, Experian said.

Separately, information from US-based Facebook-affiliated applications company Wildfire App showed Australians outpaced American users in using Facebook.

In Australia, there are 10,889,960 Facebook users, or 51 per cent of the Australian population, compared to 155,892,160 in the US, or 50 per cent of the US population.

Full story at The Age

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