The social media bandwagon is an irresistible siren to many marketers and advertisers because it's too easy and alluring of a means to communicate with consumers on a wide scale basis. But attempts to woo the customer can alienate them instead of strengthening the bond.

A recent study on social media conducted by Relevation Research found that 52 percent of US online consumers, 16 years+ have liked, followed or subscribed to a company/brand via social networking. But close to a third of these later turn around and dump the companies/brands with which they initially forged a relationship. After distancing themselves from the brand on social media, many report they then view the brand more negatively, shop/visit it less often and wind up spending less. Males are quicker to make the break than females and to regard the brand more negatively after the break.

Relevation Research, a Barrington, IL-based market research company, surveyed 1,500 nationally representative online consumers to find the single biggest reason for the break up is the brand coming on too strong. That is, the brand pushed too hard and got clingy with excessive posts, tweets or other communications. Failure to deliver on a promise of deals and failure to engage or offer value via communications are other leading brand break-up catalysts. Consumers also cite the old "it wasn't you, it was me" as a reason for dumping the brand -- meaning consumers lost interest in the topic, were never interested and only signed up at a friend's request, or pruned their circle.

"At present, marketers are too cavalier, and even abusive, with their approach to social media relationships because it's a powerful tool which can pay off but only if used thoughtfully," Nan Martin, Managing Director at Relevation Research, said. "It's that very thin line between courting and annoying. Right now some brands are effectively drawing people in, but then undermining their equity by what happens next with their social media activity."