Using Social Media for Market Research

Transient

There is no question that Social Media provides your business with a means to expand the reach of your promotional messages. Commonly overlooked, however, is the opportunity to gain insight for your business from your followers. Over half of marketers surveyed collect social data, which includes customer activity and feedback, to assist their marketing efforts. Nine out of ten of these marketers say that what they uncover directly influences their decision making.

Since social networks and blogs reach 80% of active US internet users, there is certainly an abundance of resources to fuel your research. Here are few tips to get started:

  1. Observe your followers' activities - Your audience is following you because they are vested in your product or service. What they have to say is usually in your best interest, so pay attention. Are they asking questions? What items are they liking, sharing,  commenting on? Who are your most engaged followers? Record this information and you'll begin to see patterns emerge that will guide your overall marketing plan.
  2. Check out what competitors are up to - Odds are, your competition is using social media. What information are they presenting? Which platforms are they using (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest)? Which one seems to be working best for them? Answer these questions and you may find opportunities to capitalize on unoccupied channels in the social space.
  3. Ask questions - Struggling with a decision on which service or product to roll out next season? Let your community tell you. Customers appreciate it when businesses include them in this conversation and reciprocate with loyalty. In addition to posting questions on your social media profiles, take advantage of the abundance of online survey tools available.

What other market research activities can be performed with social media? We'd love to hear from you.

Geof Pelaia